... or so I think, in my rather limited experience.
The Global Village Backpackers hostel in Greymouth makes me want to start my own hostel somewhere, modeled after it. It's just amazing that a hostel can be this clean and welcoming. I would rather stay here than a hotel because of the kitchen that's clean and stocked, the free kayaks that you can take out, and the free bikes that you can use around town. Throw in the musical instruments, sauna, and spa, and it's kinda like a dream house. Why I'm not still there, I'm not sure (ride was moving on), because at about US$10 per night, its one of the cheapest places I've stayed so far!
Besides this hostel, Greymouth is just your ordinary west coast of NZ town, with a bit of industry in Jade shaping (I somehow missed picking any up...), gold mining, fishing, and forestry. "Its population of 13,221 accounts for 42% of the West Coast's inhabitants" (wikipedia)
The opening pic of your blog with the tree in the water is sick! I got a job offer to finally get to San Francisco, but having some weird trepidation. It all makes me want to run away and loose myself in NZ like yourself. I forgot how cool it was to just be hanging while everyone else was working. Keep trucking dude and keep up the cool posts.