Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hokitika & Okarito Lagoon

After my short appointment with the pet sheep by the road side, we continued our drive to Hokitika town centre.

Hokitika is not a new place for Mich as she had spent a couple of months in this town during her rural GP run late last year. It is a small town in the West Coast region in the South Island, located close to the river mouth of the Hokitika River. The population is less than 4,000; I believe the number of sheep in the area is more than ten times that number haha!


This is one of the many supermarkets found at almost every town in New Zealand. I prefer to call it "Four Four Square" haha!


It was just a small supermarket. We stopped here to get some beverages.

The town was a centre of the West Coast goldrush, founded on gold mining in 1864, By late 1866, it was one of the country's most populous centres. It became the capital of the short-lived Westland Province from 1873 until the abolition of provinces in 1876. The population has declined greatly since that time but the population of the Westland District is now on the rise thanks to "lifestyle inhabitants". Almost 30% of the district's ratepayers live outside of Westland (taken from Wikipedia).

The first thing we did upon arriving at the town centre was to look for something for lunch. Mich wanted to take me to the fish and chips shop near Sunset Point, but too bad it was closed. So, we went to another fish and chips shop near the clock tower.


An interesting signboard of the shop. The chef fish looks sleepy lol!


The interior of the shop. Besides the normal menu, they also have ice creams and snacks.


While Mich did the ordering, I used the time to learn about the common fishes found in New Zealand.


Hoki (a kind of fish) and mussels, which was really good! The tartare sauce made it even tastier.

After the satisfying lunch, we took a short stroll around the town. There was just one main street in the small town, with the famous clock tower right in the middle of the town. We stopped at the jade factory to have a look at the production of souvenirs from jade. Pounamu is a form of green nephrite jade, which was used to be one of the major industries in this town over the last century. However, it has dwindled greatly over the recent years.

We also stopped at the glass blowing studio, also along that main street. No photography or video recording were allowed in the studio. Nevertheless, it was really intriguing to see the two workers in action. It was my first time seeing how they do the blowjob (pun unintended) on the glass and man, and I gotta say they were really skillful!


One of the well-known landmarks in Hokitika, the Hokitika Clock Tower.


Some drawings on souvenir stones in the jade shop.


Even the toilet makes you feel like staying inside there longer haha!

Shortly afterwards, we took a short drive towards Sunset Point and the Hokitika beach. It was still noon, so obviously we didn't manage to watch the sunset. But something funny, or I should rather say, stupid, happened at the beach.

We were busy camwhoring at the beach and we came out with the idea to do jumping shots there. I was the first to jump and pheww, it took me more than ten attempts to get a decent shot. The girlfriend was a totally failed photographer when it comes to such shots. All my jumps turned to other weird things. There was one, where I appeared like a jumping frog haha wtf!


Sunset Point, along the Hokitika River.


Western direction of the beach.


Another direction of the beach, which overlooked the Tasman Sea.


This was a proper photo, before we started to jump like crazy people haha!

I jumped so many times but she still couldn't get a nice shot, that it made me so damn tired. She tend to press the shutter at the wrong time, mostly way too early. So, most of the pictures appeared as if I was a kangaroo who tried to hop but failed haha! We took a short break and continued jumping after that. When it was her turn to jump, I only need three attempts for her jumping shot and all three turned out nicely. So, I gave her a homework for that night - shutter pressing practice haha!

Nevertheless, we had great fun jumping like kangaroos at the beach. We just couldn't be bothered by the stares from the ang moh there haha!


Obviously I'm not gonna post those failed shots, but I guess this was the best one.


And one of the most failed shot, which we called it "lompat katak" lol! I have no idea why am I putting up such a sia sui (embarrassing) photo here =.=


A church in the town.


This is the clinic where Mich did her posting. Too bad I we didn't drop by to see Amala, the cute pet puppy of one of the GPs =\


Stopped by one of the supermarkets in town to get some supplies, before heading to Franz Josef.


I know I'm not suppose to take photo of the police patrol car, but it seems that the policeman was posing for my camera when I took this shot lol!


Breathtaking scenery along the way.


I don't mind seeing such nice views even though the journey takes hours.


The water in almost all rivers in New Zealand is so clean that they look blue in colour.


It was emo boy's turn to drive.

Haha, that stupid Mich simply covered my head while I was driving, and said I looked like an emo driver after that =.=

Our initial plan was to drive all the way to Franz Josef from Hokitika. However, Mich found out an interesting place from the traveler's magazine. We decided to take a detour and turn off the highway to take a look at Okarito Lagoon, the largest unmodified wetland in New Zealand. To be honest, I don't think the thirty-minute drive one way was really worth it, but since we had some time to spare, it was not that bad after all. 

The place has only about 35 permanent resident, which describe what an isolated area it is. We stopped at the old wooden weatherboard building that was actually an information centre for some photos.


Okarito Lagoon. Love the reflection on the water.


The clear blue sky made the photo looked even better.


That's the wooden house I mentioned.


We decided to walk there and take a closer look at the house.


One of my favourite shot.

We continued our journey and arrived at Franz Josef at around five in the evening, just before the sun set.

Mich made the booking for our two-night stay at 10 Cottages Motel in the town but I guess lady luck was smiling at us; we were upgraded to a better motel, Terrace Motel as there were several unoccupied rooms on that day. That's one of the plus point to travel during the winter season; relatively less tourists and promotions available for accommodations. 

We had quite a long chat with the friendly lady at the reception when we were checking into the motel. She introduced us to her black fat cat. The cat was a little grumpy and even tried to jump on us at one time!


One of the advantages to travel during winter time - special rates for accommodation are aplenty.


Terrace Motel at Franz Josef.


There were about ten units of such here.


They also have parking lots in front of every units.


Warm and nice bed for our stay in Fraz Josef.


See through shower room. Love it a lot!


Fully equipped kitchen, which we didn't really make full use of it because we just had instant noodle for dinner that night haha!

We went to bed early that night, after a long drive from Punakaiki earlier that day. We also had to recharge ourselves for an exciting adventure on the next day. It is some physical activity, which only can be done in a few countries. Anyone wanna give a guess?

This picture below should give you a hint on what's in store in the next entry.


Does this photo tell you anything?

A little hint for all - the place is in the background of the photo.


bloggingupiseasyd said...

Skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding? Making snowmen??!!

calvin said...

@ bloggingupiseasyd:
hehe, thanks for all the guesses but i'm afraid to say that it was something else. i will reveal the correct answer in the next entry, as not to spoil the suspense :)

Kae Vin said...

lompat katak. Learn from me next time. hahah

D-Tourist said...

Any reward for guessing right? ....
should be this activity "g*****r **i*b***"

btw.. i think the 2nd jumping photo look more decent than the 1st photo.

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
this one i gotta admit that you are way better than me.
that's why we gotta jump kao kao in tokyo next year! xD

calvin said...

@ d-tourist:
wow, you have gotten that correctly *hehe*
rewards? hmmm, a happy meal from mcdonalds? lol!

looking back at the jumping photos, i feel both of them also look cacat haha!

D-Tourist said...

Hehehe!!! happy meal is fine :) so when can i redeem? but i wan Ebi/McPork Burger woh...can FEDex it over? :P hahahha!!!

calvin said...

@ d-tourist:
wow! how do you even know the existence of those burgers? but i'm afraid they are not in the happy meals menu xD

D-Tourist said...

cheh... no choice lor, then i take the kamen rider OOO one lor :P

calvin said...

@ d-tourist:
haha! does that meal even exist? @.@

CLF said...

the fish poster can be placed in sushi shop as well, I see familiar names like maguro, unagi, and katsuo hah.
to the Japanese chef it'll be blasphemous to deep fry those fish like the Fish n Chips~

calvin said...

@ cliff clf:
yeah! i bet the japanese chefs will go "no! no! no!" along with their dramatic body language haha!

D-Tourist said...

dude, Kamen Rider is not the meal lar...its the ガンバライド in here http://www.mcdonalds.co.jp/menu/happyset/index.html :P

calvin said...

@ d-tourist:
wow! you are so much informed than me, it made me feel so clueless lol!