Hokitika Gorge & Lake Kaniere

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June 22nd 2011
Published: June 23rd 2011
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Ivy and Suzy were rousted early to join me on a beach walk for a blue penguin hunt. They have just started nesting but they are very hard to see on the beach. Apparently, they come in at night and head back to sea at dawn. We had a nice walk but didn't have any luck with the penguins. They sure look to be cute little buggers.

After the boys rolled out of bed, we hit the road. Our first destination was the Hokitika Gorge. After the spectacular Buller Gorge, I had hoped that this wouldn't be anticlimactic. After about a half an hour drive, we arrived in the parking lot which was under renovation with some loading equipment milling about. We have seen a lot of street & highway work in New Zealand. It is humorously similar to the US, where we have seen several people standing around while a smaller contingent actually works.

Not surprisingly, under a drizzly sky, we were once again the only people visiting the attraction. The short jaunt had three destinations on the signage: 5 minutes to an overlook, 10 minutes to the swing bridge and 15 minutes to the trails end. Upon reaching the first overlook, the scene was downright stunning. Through the light fog, we saw a surreal looking river. The mixture of greywacke rock that has been ground into fine powder, melted ice and minerals from ancient glaciers and runoff from smaller tributaries creates an incredible milky, turquoise-colored water. The gorge was expanded by a swing bridge that led to a short path that descended to the river bank and revealed a small waterfall upstream. We thoroughly enjoyed the views and hike.

Another rain set in as we decided our next move. We decided to stay on plan and head to Lake Kaniere. Our first stop at the lake was a one minute walk off of the road to Dorothy Falls. This was a falls that cascaded down several tiers of moss-covered rock to a small pool that oddly took on a brownish tint, probably due to iron in the rocks. The falls were pretty and we let Theo follow Geddy (as he usually does) across the rocks to the other side of the river. Only one foot got submerged on his return. A fifty percent improvement over par.

We then set off to find a picnic spot. We ended up driving off the graveled road on to a less maintained single-laned tunnel through the forest canopy. We made it through the forest with a combined total of ten feet to of clearance, counting the sides and roof. We parked on the bank of the lake where we ate and skipped rocks.

Our final stop along the lake was the Canoe Cove Rimu Forest Walk. This was a half an hour walk through an amazing forest. The tree trunks and forest floor were almost completely covered with mosses of every shade of green. The rimu trees were tall with bark peeling off in chunks that hung in 2-3 foot strips.

We made it back in time to explore the town of Hokitika (all three blocks of it!) and headed back to our cabin for a mellow evening in. Suzy and I took a short walk on the beach while the kids had some downtime.

A big drive ahead of us tomorrow. Off to see some glaciers and make our way toward Queenstown. On a side note, Suzy, Geddy & Ivy felt an earthquake last night around 10:30PM local time. It was a sizable quake, measuring 5.4 on the Richter Scale near Christchurch. If we end up staying anywhere near Christchurch, we will certainly feel more as they still are having several aftershocks every day.

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Exploring the town of HokitikaExploring the town of Hokitika
Exploring the town of Hokitika

A small town, but it had the essentials - Indian Food & Pizza!

24th June 2011

Just beautiful! What a wonderful family adventure! The reflection of the trees on the lake is stunning.
24th June 2011

The water is amazing. What a gorgeous place. And the moss covered trees! That swing bridge is so cool. What a hidden treasure you've found!

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