I meant to keep writing about my South Island trip back in March, complete with photos, but you know how it is, you get busy, things happen, and before long it's August and not many days left before Christmas!! Suddenly you realise that you have to keep plodding otherwise the photos start stacking up and just sit on your hard disk drive doing nothing!
Firstly - an update - remember the blog about the Pancake rocks here. In that post, I shared that I had put in a photo for a competition and the photo is shown at the end of the post. Well - I won the competition and gained $3000 to spend on a bartercard. Quite hard to spend though as not many places take bartercard but I'm slowly getting through it! Was very exciting to win!
The last post I wrote about our West Coast trip was of Shantytown, a 'live' museum of an old mining town and I showed the images of the steam train still running there. After we left there we drove to Hokitika where we had lunch and explored some of the shops.
First stop was the glass blowing shop which made really nice giftware, and not as expensive as some other glassware around New Zealand!
They had people demonstrating as well, and you were allowed to take photographs. Something that a few other places will not allow.
The major industries of greenstone (pounamu), gold, coal, and forestry have all dwindled over the last century, but a growing ecotourism industry has grown up and the town is starting to show signs of recovery. It has become a major tourist stop on the West Coast's main highway route, with carving of greenstone an important local industry.
These following images are some of the beautifully carved greenstone made from the Greenstone from the local rivers. These are carved by a master carver and are pricey, but beautiful.
Beautiful bone carvings were also on display...
After lunch we popped down to the beach. A wild west coast beach with typical bad weather closing in!!
We fossicked for ages hoping to find a piece of Greenstone, but reluctantly went on our way as we were heading to the Glaciers and wanted to see them while it was still fine..
Hokitika is a township on the West Coast (Wet Coast), and has a population of 3000. On a clear day Mt Cook (Aoraki) can be seen from the main street. That was where we were heading.