Dawn arrived cool and calm – Jack Frost was nipping at our fingers and toes so a heated car seat was welcomed by driver Jim and the front seat passenger of the day – Rosemary. We decided not to return to the lake as we knew there are many more along the way and we had plenty of exploring to do around Hokitika.
The men were keen to have a quick look at an old mining site just before Greymouth but we drove through the town without stopping. The previous year Jim & I had been there during a stormy weekend (see previous blog – “A Wet & Wild Weekend”) and we were all keen to get on down to Hokitika.
Our initial goals were Lake Kaniere and the Hokitika Gorge. We were in need of a coffee break so, as Lake Kaniere was closest, we chose to call there first. What a beautiful slice of water – well, as much as water can be a “slice”… A few holiday homes stood quietly on the bank, a picnic area beside the lake beckoned us and there was just one other vehicle parked within eye-sight. Mist hovered over the water at the dark end of lake and beyond the far shores snow-capped mountains towered in the distance. A small jetty which jutted into the water was reflected perfectly in the mirror-calm water.
Stomachs replenished, photos shot, short walk accomplished and we headed back to town. Unfortunately, a call was made and agreed to that we didn’t need to continue on the road to the gorge as we still wanted to explore Hokitika. We do regret that now but the gorge will still be there next visit.
After checking into our motel we drove to the beach with our lunch and sat in the replica ship Tambo [Info spot: The schooner went ashore when crossing the Hokitika bar on 12th November 1866] to enjoy our sandwiches. A boulder seawall has been erected since Jim & I were there in the stormy weather last year so we are were not able to walk along the beach. Instead we drive to the iconic driftwood sign now seen in all West Coast brochures [Info spot: sign created in 2014 as entry in driftwood art competition].
As Rosemary & Steve wandered around “the cool little town”, Jim and I headed just out of town to do one of Jim’s “must do”s of this trip – search the beach for greenstone (jade) for which the town is also famous..
The fact that it was elusive didn’t matter at all – the fun was in the seeking! And we did spot a seal pup on the beach which happily took off into the waves at our approach.
We know west coast sunsets are worth waiting for so Rosemary and I checked the predicted time and headed back down to the shore… but our “sunset” was also elusive tonight – hidden behind a long, thick layer of cloud.