Arrived in Hokitika on Friday and spent almost two days there. It’s a small township on New Zealand’s West Coast near the mouth of the Hokitika River about 25 miles south of Greymouth. Founded on gold mining in the early 1860s Hokitika was the center of the New Zealand’s West Coast Gold Rush. Today Hokitika is becoming an arts and crafts center with many quality artists and galleries. There are fantastic sculpting around town and along the beach and a large glass blowing studio with amazing work on display. Many of the artist work with pounamu (New Zealand jade).
Hokitika township is sandwiched between the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps. There are two lakes in the area – Mahinapua and Kaniere – and five rivers – Taramakau, Arahura, Kaniere, Kokatahi, and Hokitika. The names are Maori. There are many beautiful things to see in the area and a number of local hikes of varying difficulty. One day I hiked the beaches and the Goldborough (Shamrock) Track which features historic gold mining relics and good examples of hill-country terrain (rimu and miro forest). The other hike was the Mt. Tuhua Track which has fantastic panoramic views of the Southern Alps, Lake Kaniere, and the coastal plains – this was a tough all-day hike but worth the effort! Didn’t take many photos.
November (spring) is whitebait season in New Zealand. Whitebait are tiny transparent fish (.5 – 1 inch long and 1/8th inch wide). They were abundant at one time but are scarce today and very expensive in restaurants. They are a delicacy that the locals rave about and can’t seem to get enough of… I haven’t tried them. Right now you can get whitebait fritters, fried with fresh herbs, or as a sandwich in just about any café – but whitebait season doesn’t last long.
Can’t decide what is most spectacular here – the beach, mountains, lakes, or rivers… Headed south now for Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and Mt. Cook.
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