This morning we took a tour of the White Heron (Kotuku) Sanctuary which is run under a Department of Conservation (DOC) concession on the Waitangiroto river near Whataroa. We travelled with White Heron Sanctuary Tours, who also run the motel we stayed in a couple of hundred meters down the road.
We found the trip to see the Heron to be unexpectedly exhilarating and quite fascinating. We met our mini-bus at the White Heron Tours office on the main street of Whataroa whereupon we took the short drive to our jetboat. The jetboat took us down the river towards the colony. The jetboat, with its muffled engines, cut to idle as we entered the sancturary and we made our way to the boardwalk for the last stretch to the hide. Our tour operator issued us with binoculars (well, we brought our own Meades but those that didn't did.) A telescope at the hide had already been setup and was trained on a nest with a heron and her chicks.
While at the nesting colony I learnt that:
Once that was complete, we headed onto Greymouth, whereupon we almost immediately stumbled across the Monteiths Brewery. We were informed that the tour of the Monteiths Brewery required booking in advance - but we quickly found availability on the 4 o'clock tour. During the tour we learnt the Monteiths Black for the whole country of New Zealand is brewed at Greymouth but brewing of other beers occurs at Timaru and Auckland as well as Greymouth. Our 90-minute tour of the brewery culminated in a tasting of the range of Monteiths beer.
During our stay in Greymouth I took the unusual step of reviewing our accomodation at the Breeze Motel before we had checked out as I felt it was sufficiently substandard as to warrant Strict Liability under my rules of accomodation provision.
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Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook