This week we will go back to the topic of roads.
The road for this week is on Atarau Road and is an alternative route on the way to Greymouth in the West Coast.
The road itself between these two places is a lovely road that has a bit of everything in the mix.
To get to this alternate route, there is a turnoff at Ikamatua. It goes through Atarau as oppose to Ahuara. It pretty much is just the road on the other side of the Grey River. The length is actually shorter at 50.9km as oppose to 51.1km of the main SH7 and it is most likely quicker in time too.
It starts off as being Atarau Road, then turns in to Taylorville-Blackball Road then finally is Taylorville Road. From here, you are in Greymouth!
While driving this road, you get glimpses of the Grey River. It is very big and wide and is always changing its route through the riverbed after a flood. People often fish for whitebait here too. The reason it is called the ‘Grey’ river is because it is always murky in colour.
Fun fact. Greymouth is called what it is because it is literally the mouth of the Grey river.
Travelling south, you will find the turnoff onto Logburn which leads up to the to the Pike River Mine. At the turn off, there is a little memorial for the 29 miners who lost their lives in the disaster in 2010.
Carrying on further south, you will find the turn off to Blackball which goes up a little hill. It can be an interesting to have a drive through. Bit of a hippie town. In Blackball, there is the butchery where they make nice sausages and salamis that you can find in the supermarket.
Just before you reach Taylorville, you come to a tourist area of an old mine. This is the Brunner Mine. This can also be reached from the other side of the river and you can walk across the bridge you see in the picture below.
There is a lot of information on the mining that use to be here and is very interesting. Was quite a little settlement. You can walk around here and look at old ruin buildings, coke ovens, and the entrances to some mines.
This place is also known as NZ’s worst mining disaster.
As you drive all along this road, you pass many cow and sheep farms and in the Spring at least with the calving season, you are almost guaranteed to see a milk tanker which takes the milk to the Westland Milk Products factory in Hokitika.
Recently, the road has been all done up so is in pretty good condition in most places. It is wide and there are big long fast straights. The curves in places are very fun and makes this a great drive for the car enthusiast.
There is little traffic on the road as people mainly drive the main route which makes it even more pleasant.
For the tourists, they will enjoy the scenery and the view of Paparoa mountain range. In the winter, there can be dumps of snow on them and they look very pretty.
If you have driven this road or have any other information, please leave a comment below and we will see you next time!