In short yes. New Zealand definitely gets its fair share of rain.
The most rain falls in New Zealand’s West Coast with around 2000-3000 millimetres of rain per year. In these areas some mountains (over 1200m) can get around 10,000 millimetres of rainfall a year! To put this into perspective Glasgow’s annual rainfall is 1200 millimetres, so the West Coast of New Zealand can get very wet! Christchurch on the East Coast of the South Island however only averages about 600 millimetres of rain, a significant difference!
For those travelling around the West Coast of New Zealand in a tent it can be a little down heartening and sometimes impossible to pitch during bad spells of weather! During our time in this area we were met with severe weather warnings of high winds and heavy rain, not ideal for two campers!
A savour for those who are unable to camp in such conditions comes from New Zealand’s holiday parks. Most holiday parks in New Zealand have various types of accommodation. Grass to pitch a tent or park a camper van, backpacker dorms, standard cabins, motel units and luxury cabins. Luckily for us when stuck in stormy weathers we were able to check into a standard cabin at the Greymouth’s Kiwi holiday park. The cabin cost $55 for two people and with unlimited wifi and no way to go outside without getting blown into the sea we were very grateful that this type of accommodation exists!
Tips for Westport and Greymouth
After visiting both of these towns I would suggest Westport and Greymouth are pretty much stop over towns on the way to Franz Josef glacier. However saying that, both towns have their own little pieces of magic making them worth a visit:
- Westport Seal Colony: At Cape Fouldwind the seal colony are only a 10 minute walk along a well maintained track.
- Denniston Dog (Westport): If you stay at Bazil’s Backpackers you get get a voucher for a dinner at Denniston Dog. For the price of $17 you can get a steak (which you can cook to your liking on a stone hotplate) and either a pint of beer or a glass of wine. It was delicious!
- Monteith’s Brewery (Greymouth): A well decorated brewery with a number of tours through out the day or the option of a beer tasting paddle for those who want to sit and relax by the fire.