HO HO HO Hokitika
Hoooow I wish I’d taken a photo of the roundabout that was decorated for Christmas saying ‘Ho Ho Ho Hokitika’ but alas, I was concentrating on driving and getting fish n’ chips for dinner instead.
Midway down New Zealand’s West Coast of the South Island you’re treated to plenty of scenic delights. Each day seemed to just get better and better with the scenery!
Punakaiki > Lake Brunner > Greymouth > Hokitika > Lake Mahinapua > Hokitika Gorge
I stopped off at Lake Brunner (minor detour on the way to Hokitika) on the way and did a bit of a bush walk to break up all the driving. Kinda wish I’d planned for a few days there because there was a beautiful lake and quiet town with lots nice walks available.
The Rakaitane track was a short 45 minute bush walk over a swing bridge and through a regenerating forest. Sunshine, fresh air and nature all around. Just what I needed to break up a long day driving!
Onwards to Hokitika via Greymouth, which I was surprised how big it was! Greymouth is probably the biggest town on the West Coast before you reach Wanaka and Queenstown, worth a stop if you have time to enjoy a bit of the history and need to do shopping. However, my destination was Hokitika, just a wee bit south!
Hokitika is like a sleep beauty tourist town, minus the people. I actually really liked it! I tiki-toured around the town and took the obligatory Hokitika beach photo, before finding the nearest fish n’ chip shop open.
The water was pretty chilly, but with how hot the weather was, it was much needed. Though I did nearly loose my camera when the waves came in…
Lake Mahinapua Scenic Campsite
After relaxing and refuelling, I was onwards to my destination for the evening – a scenic campsite, just 10km south of Hokitika… and what a treat it was!
Driving off the main highway I am delighted with all the nature around me. Trees and bushes create a tunnel for the road to the campsite. It’s one of my happy places when I come across glades like this.
Please excuse the rough video – it was spare of the moment, but hopefully it gives you a feel for what it was like! And yes I definitely pronounced the lake incorrectly!
Onwards it just gets better.
Pristine campsite, flushing toilets, cubicles for solar showers to hang from hooks and nice flat land next to a beautiful lake reserve.
And NO SANDFLIES! Yay! I celebrated by having a solar shower in private and then treating myself to wine in a mug and freeze dried butter chicken, freshly heated! Delightful!
As the sun went down, I enjoyed the odd weka visit and listening to the birds. Then the campsite got choka… I’d arrived by about 5-6pm, but others were arriving and setting up camp at 9-10pm, not ideal when you’re exhausted and wanting sleep. My neighbours were still setting up at 11pm!
I was pretty sad to leave this campsite though, it was one of the best unserviced Doc campsites I visited on my trip. I didn’t have time to do any hikes around the area, but I was awake early the next day and off to locate Hokitika Gorge.
This is a MUST SEE area of New Zealand’s West Coast. It’s around now that I start saying how I can’t believe how beautiful my country is and that each day it just gets more and more beautiful.
There’s not too many words that can express this type of beauty in nature, but I hope the photos show you how stunning this location is.
Sitting down here staring out alone at this stunning scene (I’d arrived pre-9am to dodge tourists) I was taken aback, it was just so lovely.
There was a little fantail bird bouncing chirping around (I think it must have had a nest near the rocks), but otherwise it was pure and natural silence.
This area was definitely a highlight of my road trip so far. Beautiful scenery from campsite to road and deep into the bush.