Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Hokitika markets itself as "a cool little town". Personally, I couldn't quite see it. Sure there were some quirky second hand stores and a few bright painted buildings but the overwhelming impression for me was crass commercialism in the guise of multiple jade/pounamu galleries and other crafty stores. Painted rocks anyone?
The beach, however, was pretty cool, with lots of driftwood washed up. My second evening there I took the opportunity to take some sunset pictures, then tweak them in Lightroom to get some oh so nice colours.
South of town is Hokitika Gorge, which has awesome turquoise water, white limestone rocks, and obligatory suspension bridge over it.
There's also a couple of pretty lakes with walks in the forest around them, the option to go kayaking, and a nice waterfall.
My favourite walk was a walk down to a beach a bit south of Hokitika, through remnant coastal rainforest. I'm loving the lush greenery everywhere, sometimes it even looks like topiary!
Two nights was enough time in the "cool little town" before heading further north. I headed inland a little to check out some old mining tunnels near Goldsworthy, then met up with the Arthur's Pass Highway to see a remnant glacial boulder called Londonderry Rock. I mean it's just a rock folks, not exactly a tourist attraction…
Back down on the coast road I headed straight through Greymouth, stopping for lunch at a small estuary at the northern end of the Point Elizabeth walk. I decided against taking the walk, but instead headed on to Punakaiki, where I plan to stay a few days.
The Coastal Road from Greymouth to Westport is spectacular, with numerous rockstacks emerging from the churning Tasman Sea. There's some pretty mean surf coming in, and on the other side of the road is rainforest covered karst country. And you know how much I love karst!
Later in the afternoon I walked the Truman Track, another short walk through coastal rainforest to the beach, in this case a sandstone cove in which you can see blue penguins. The tide was coming in so we couldn't walk along the beach, and we didn't see any penguins. Nevermind, I shall return.
I've decided to stay at Punakaiki a few more days, as the hostel I'm staying at is right on the beach and reminds me of home. It's quiet but for the crashing waves, and the vibe is relaxed. There's lots of walks into Paparoa National Park, as well as the Pancake Rocks, plus some nice beach walks, so I doubt I'm going to be bored.
There's even more sunny days forecast.