New Zealand: Punakaiki & Hokitika

18 March 2018: Sunday.

We took it easy Sunday morning and only after lunch did we decide to tackle the Punakaiki-Pororari Loop. We wanted to take a walk through the rainforest towards the Pororari River Track junction, then carry on along the Inland Pack Track before following the Pororari River Track down river.


However, owing to cyclones that had caused landslides and such, the route along the Pororari River was closed and rather than loop round, we had to do a return trek instead.





It started off quite cool but as we went further along, our bodies warmed up nicely.



And of course, with the sun shining through the trees, we had to capture some shots of my shiny rock catching the light.



Once we reached Pororari River Junction, we stopped for a banana and a sit down, only to realise that this was yet another place where sand flies gathered. Aside from the insects, this was also a place where stone stacks were created. I wonder how long some of them have been standing there for!


I decided to create a stack of my own!


Granted, my stack may not be all that high but notice the shapes of the rocks I used and how they balance?


I wonder if my stack is still there…

It took us about 3 hours to reach the junction and return back to our parked camper van where we cooled down before going on our way.



We drove to Iveagh Bay in Moana which featured a lovely lake and a well-maintained parking area for camper vans at the end of a modern, new looking estate. Our neighbours were these top-of-the-line camper vans that looked luxurious and spacious.


It was actually full when we got there because most of them left ample space between the camper vans next to them but we managed to just about squeeze ourselves in.

19 March 2018: Monday.

From Iveagh Bay, we drove back to Greymouth where we dumped our grey water, topped up on clean water, fed the camper van, bought more groceries, and visited a cafe for some coffee and phone-charging.


We found that most cafes, at least all the ones we visited, were very happy to let us use their sockets to charge our phones.


Also, some fun facts:

  1. In New Zealand, skimmed milk is known as trim milk. 
  2. Supermarket trolleys are known as trundlers (I remember this because its like a cross between trolley and Chandler (from Friends)).
  3. Maori influence is very strong so a lot of the places have Maori names, many beginning with ‘W’. 

With our errands done, we drove over to Hokitika. The sky was a bit overcast when we got there and it was drizzling a fair bit. It was after 5pm when we reached and so, the town looked rather dead.



Hokitika is one of the main areas in New Zealand known for their glass blowing and jade carvings. The jade workshops were still open so we managed to have a wander around a couple of them.


They had a lot of beautiful jade sculptures, many catered towards the Chinese tourists no doubt. They also carved a lot of jade in the shape of Maori symbols for protection, fertility, eternal bonds etc to be worn as necklaces or earrings. They were really quite pretty but pricey as well.

With the weather gloomy, we decided to drive to Lake Kaniere where we planned to spend the night.


The site was quiet when we reached and the weather was no better. So rather than stay put, Flo suggested we drive back to the town centre, make some dinner and visit the glow worm dell since our first attempt when we reached Hokitika failed because it was still too bright out.


It was still wet when we reached the dell and as we walked further in, it was pitch black. It was actually quite disorientating for me as I struggled to see the track. Flo helped guide me with a bit of light form his phone to assist us. Then, we got to the end of the small space and as my eyes adjusted, I started to make out these tiny dots of light all around us on the damp walls.


It wasn’t just one or two dots. They were in clusters. The photo above is the only one I took and far from the magic that we witnessed in real life, but it shows just how bright the little things were. Unlike the fireflies we saw in the Philippines, the light of the glow worms is more stagnant and tends not to pulsate. Still, it was quite dream-like. We only stayed about 5min before the drizzle got heavier. I’m glad we made the trip back though. It was definitely worth it!

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