Monday, February 11, 2013

A trip to the beautiful Westcoast of New Zealand, Monday 11 Feb

Monday, February 11, 2013
oldbearnews editor

Morning dawned – cloudy again. Made tracks down past Hokitika to the newest attraction a walk amongst the tree tops. You walk about 25-40 meters above ground on a steel platform and see the ancient Rimu / Kakitea / Miro Trees from equal height. Then there is this Central tower with 107 steps – round and round you go. If you suffer from Vertigo -- well you either out of luck or grit your teeth and hope for the best. You can also see and walk on the one cantilevered bit and enjoy scenery looking over the lake. It sways a bit so motion sickness folks might find it a bit daunting. In fact the whole structure has some flex in it and no doubt will rock and roll in a decent storm. Guess this is to allow for expansion / contraction during the heat/cold AND any earthquakes that may rumble by. The views itself are fantastic . Even on a cloudy day. It may pay to go and do this particular touristy thing on a clear winters day – then you can see the snow topped mountains in the background making for good images – a photographers dream. Check out their website and images along with the video!!  --->

On our visit they mountains where shrouded in cloud – so missed out there. The whole thing is a bit pricey – and you will need to allow 45-60 minutes on the walk itself. I am sure the attached cafe and shop are supporting this new investment.

From there we drove around the Lake, back via the state highway to another campsite and did the bellbird walk – a very short 10 min loop – minus any Bellbirds!! The sun came out and made for a hot gaze over the lake – a popular boating / swimming and camping spot.

Feeling a bit peckish we decided to head back to Hokitika and have lunch in one of Brush's MOST Favorite Cafe on the strip – The Cafe de La Paris. Decided to tease the lad and txt'ed the following – “You be so jealous” which immediately resulted in a phone call!!   ---->

The 'light lunch' was followed by a walk to the beach where we hoped to see the annual beach craft. Every year the folks are invited to get creative with the drift wood and build something with nothing more then a bit of string – if that. The price winning entry for this year was a grand Steinway piano. Sadly the Spring tide had come up and washed away some of the entries already – it never lasts more then a week or so – weather and storms depending. Still what we saw was creative and very artistic / live-like. We took lots of pictures from the stuff that was left for display before the weather claimed the rest! Here can bee seen a Kiwi nesting in what would be a  cabbage tree!
In-between there was a Petrel chasing some seagulls – had difficulty keeping up with him in-flight and snap a good picture. You don't often see the Petrel onshore – they are the smaller cousins of the Albatross and usually sea bound. Mamabear enjoying the sun and waves from the sea crashing onshore (lots of rumbling noises).
 After this we strolled through the Metropolitan town of Hokitika (which turns out by our visits to the coast it must be our favorite town there) and went for a stroll up and down the short main-drag. One Greenstone shop very kindly donated a replacement string form my Greenstone teardrop pendant (which eventually had worn out the string after 10 years of continuous wear) so that was nice – only to find out that the other major (and some may say snobby) greenstone gallery offered a replacement for NZ $ 10. A quick stop at the local supermarket for apples and urm yeah that "liquid grape-juice" – was followed by incursion of a local nick-knack shop selling all sorts of stuff. It had a “alternate” flavor to it with second hand books and far east spiritual influence. Well folks – it was the ONLY yes only shop that sold any Hokitika badges. Turns out the where locally made and yes I got the last two ones. Due to the fact that they were local made (I guess by a mum on her singer) they were a tad more expensive then the others- but hey I am not complaining rather counting myself very lucky indeed. By this stage we had seen everything we wanted to see and do in Hokitika and it was time to head into Greymouth for more exploring – high on the list the newly opened Monteiths Brewery which offers guided tours and tasting sessions and – shall we say – some very unique men's urinals!! Had initial trouble finding the place – being at the wrong end of Herbert street – and once we got there we just missed one tour – so had a drink and waited for our turn! Guide trying very hard cracking many jokes selling the story. Tour very informative and you get the gist that local pride can still trump Auckland arrogance!! At the end of the tour everyone gets to 'pour' a small pint – which is not as easy as it looks.
 Mamabear doing very well as you can see.  I had a "Radler" beer - which is really a  light beer with a lemon flavour.  I am sure the European Radler is a half and half - beer / lemonade drink.  Please do correct me if my memory is proving to be wrong!! Vaguely remember also something about court-case and about naming rights - and this is still happening.   This was followed by dinner at the Bonzai Pizzeria were a large meal arrived and a fantastic garlic 'bread'. Got chatting to the only other eating customer- a local identity: Mick Collins. He certainly had a colourful life – Army / fishing / and is a renowned greenstone carver. Nothing like meeting the locals. Tanked up on petrol and found out that we have had 25 degrees C despite the many overcast periods and headed back to Barrytown cottage for a rest before heading down to the beach for the usual sunset – no luck - too many clouds – so strolled along the beach in search of greenstone instead– which we keep repeatedly being told, are there. Not sure about that. Sadly we also saw the mess the freedom campers are leaving behind. Wonder how they feel if I visit their country and leave my toilet stuff openly lying on the ground in their backyard???

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