The first major town north of “Glacier Country” is Hokitika (hoe-ka-tick-a). We passed through the town on a famous Westland (aka S. Island west coast) ‘grey drizzly day’ and thought our time would be best spent perusing the booths at the local market. Hokitika is known for its greenstone (jade) jewelry, often handcrafted in traditional Maori symbols, and there was no shortage; booths full of gorgeous greenstone filled the streets! In the end, we purchased a beautiful Marsden (flower jade) piece before catching the subtle sunset on Hokitika’s waterfront.
The following day we drove north to find the seldom-visited Motukiekie (moe-too key-key; motu = island, kiekie=shrub) Beach! This beach walk was one of the most exciting, and isolated, beach adventures we had on the South Island. Walking along the coast we discovered some of Westland’s most dramatic scenery, including sea cliffs, sea caves, tidal shelving, and vast colonies of starfish! [Note: going at low-tide ONLY is imperative both for safety and for scenery]
After a few hours on the windy and wet Motukiekie Beach we ventured further north still to the famous, overcrowded Punakaiki (poona-kai-key) Rocks. The Pancake Rocks, as they are more commonly referred, are cliffs of layered limestone strewn with sea caves and blowholes. We arrived around mid-high-tide; however, high-tide is the true attraction, providing “booming explosions” and even ground shaking as the surf surges into the layers of rock!
Next stop: Westport and Karamea
Song lyrics: Adele “Make You Feel My Love”
– Go. Change your state of mind.