VOL. 3 :: SOUTH TO OKARITO
this morning we have time for another soak in the hot tub before we say farewell to our lovely woodpecker hut hideaway.
i think both of us could happily have stayed there for the remainder of our holiday, but we have more places to visit, so we pack the car and head south through greymouth and down into unfamiliar territory. it’s another superb day weather-wise with loads of beautiful coastal views one way and mountains the other.
today we’re headed towards a little township called ōkārito, though we make a short detour inland to do the hokitika gorge walk. 10 years ago this place would have been quiet, but today the narrow country roads are swarming with cars and campervans and the carpark is full. this walk is short and easy and there’s a steady stream of people in either direction. we’d normally see blue-green waters of the Hokitika River here, but it’s been raining in the mountains and the water is a chalky grey colour instead of the vibrant blue it would normally be.
we arrive at ōkārito just before sunset and take a short walk to familiarise ourselves with this tiny place before calling it a day. its a little coastal settlement bounded by ocean, estuary, sea cliffs and forest. only around 30 people live here, but some information down at the wharf tells us it was once a gold mining town. we also discover that a blue whale washed up on these shores in the early 1900s. it took around four weeks to extract the whale skeleton and it was transferred to the canterbury museum where it still remains today. its still the largest blue whale skeleton held in a museum collection.
- haerenga (maōri)
(noun) journey, trip, parting