Sunset over the beach at Hokitika
When we we arrived in the town in the late afternoon, and went for a short walk in the town centre, it was to find ourselves right on the beach within 2 minutes, just behind the last row of shops.
The beach even in daytime was amazing - very rough, crashing waves, and the only beach I've ever seen that was completely littered with old and often gnarled driftwood.
We decided there and then to come back at sunset and see what it was like. This is my most wonderful memory of Hokitika, and indeed one of the top 5 memories of the whole New Zealand trip.
It was especially special because so many days had been wet, so our chances of even seeing ANY sunset, especially at the beach, seemed extremely low. But this night, we were so very lucky, along with many other people who also had the same idea, though we were all spaced out quite some distance with our cameras, and could still feel like we had the beach to ourselves, or at least a big piece of it.
Dont Miss The Gorge
We stumbled upon Hokitika Gorge while net surfing pictures of the South Island. There are lots of photos on the net but not a lot of information. From the photos we saw we knew it was something we had to see and were not disappointed. We got a local map once we were in town and made our way to the gorge. Aprrox 33km south of the township and about a 45min drive. We wandered around for a while and took in the awesome scenery and wished we had more time to go canoeing. But we had to get back to Franz Josef.
Ross is a small town which is a 30 mins drive South of Hokitika. It has a colourful history and is orignally built on gold.
Ross proved to be gold-rich and the town thrived with about 2500 inhabitants. A vast amount of gold was extracted from the area, but the major Ross gold rush ended in the early 1870s, with most large mining operations turning their attention to new areas.
The Ross Goldfields Visitor Information & Heritage Centre is located at Aylmer St.
"Greenstone and Glassblowing"
I've only been to Hokitika once, a long time ago.
I remember going to greenstone shops and places where hand blown glass is made.
The town was pretty and we even saw fireflies in the caves nearby.
Wildfood festival and dance - Hog Heaven
"Goat's Eye and Bull Testicles, well done..."
Sandwiched between the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps, everything about the West Coast and Franz Josef is dramatic. Advancing glaciers, dense rain forests, fiords and boulder strewn beaches. First explored in 1865, the Franz Josef Glacier moving forward at a rate of about 1 meter a day since 1985. Previously it was in retreat.
After a short hop over winding, sealed roads, we delivered our luggage to our wonderful "home away from home". Check-in - Mill Cottage B&B – Ross, Westland, NZ - 20 minutes from Hokitika… Mom had cup of tea before we proceeded to the Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika.
Well, a little excitement; about 5 minutes from the festival I was awaked from my daydreaming by the sight of a flashing blue light first coming towards me, then u-turn behind. A quick glance at the speedometer showed it was going to cost me. So much for anticipation.
From humble beginnings in 1990 to celebrate Hokitika’s 125th Anniversary, the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is now regarded as one of the premier festivals in New Zealand’s Events Calendar. It will test the taste buds as you experience a celebration of the wild West Coast’s unique lifestyle, food and hospitality. An extravaganza of gourmet bush-tucker, with the emphasis on novel, tasty and healthy wild food was available for tasting. Enjoying innovative food (if you dare!) such as pigs ears, grass hoppers, and earthworms washed down with rhubarb champagne, gorse flower wine and the sweet aroma and taste of the sponsor’s product ‘Monteiths Family of Fine Beers’. For the more conventional, there was emu, ostrich, venison, home-cured bacon, goat, whitebait, salmon and much more – 100+ stalls in all! There was an absolute wealth of musical talent with a variety of continuous music on two stages and roving entertainment throughout the afternoon. Mom and I watched our diets and left early to visit the town center.
Hokitika was first settled in 1860, after discovery of gold on the west coast. It still has the feel of a ‘frontier town’, and there are some lovely old buildings to admire. Greenstone (NZ jade) is the town’s treasure these days – watch it being carved. The farmland is trying to turn back into forest, and the beauty of the rivers is raw and primeval.
Oh, by the way, I've unblocked the outside e-mail account to this site, so try again , if you read this! Now it appears that you need to be a member, but what do I know...
We spent most of the afternoon before returning to Ross. At Ross there’s a goldfield walkway to explore, and enjoy athe view by the shores of Lake Ianthe. I'll be catching a bus later for the evening dance held in the main marquee from 8.00 p.m. to 1.00 a.m. so the drinking light will be on...More about the night, later!