I had some nice glacier water views on the way
and stopped at Lake Mahinapua for a lunch of crackers & hummus. It is really beautiful there and the perfect place to chill. A little further I did the Mananui Tramline Walkway. It is supposed to be a 4 to 5 hour return walk, but I was back in 2.5 hours already.
Was not the most interesting trail ever, but nice and a good stretch for the legs. A Weka seemed to think that too!
I drove the rest to Hokitika and checked into the Beachside Motels where I had booked a cabin. I did my laundry and some administrative things, then got my camera and a water bottle and walked along the beach back into town to explore and take some pictures.
Later I met Tom who was also in town before flying home the next day. We got some beer in the supermarket and went to the beach to watch the sunset. I went back to the motel after, got my laundry from the drying line before it got too moist outside and had a productive but chilled evening. The next morning I drove to the Hokitika Gorge. The colour of the water there is amazing and it is generally beautiful. The track is only about half an hour and goes over a swing bridge.
I took my time there and enjoyed the beautiful nature before driving back to town, filling up the car, having a few snacks for lunch and waiting for Nate. He had arrived the day before in New Zealand, spent a night in Christchurch and rented a car to do the Arthur´s pass in order to get to Hokitika. After he had settled in and refreshed himself we filled up his car, returned it to the rental station at the airport and then drove to Ruatapu where I had booked a Jade carving class for us over BookMe. We were lucky to have the exact address since you couldn´t see it from the street and would have driven past otherwise. You can first select a stone, then the shape you want to do. The owner gives you instructions and tips and then you go to the grinding machine and start on your stone. If you need help, you can always ask and for trickier parts you can first practice on an old discarded stone. It was a lot easier than I expected! When you were done with the grinding, you had to use sand paper to remove any sharp edges then wash the stone. He drilled a hole in and fixed a string to it; you put Vaseline on the stone and ready was your home made greenstone necklace. I was pretty proud of mine and very happy with the choice of my stone.
The stone I used for practicing looked a bit like a Christmas tree and he allowed me to hold on to it. We went to the supermarket to do some grocery shopping for the next couple of days before we made a concrete plan for the next days and started looking into accommodation and such. Nate´s luggage got lost and it contained all his camping gear. They had promised to deliver the bag that day, but failed to do so. Since we were going to camp the next two nights we quickly drove to Greymouth to the next warehouse to get the most necessary stuff for him. We just returned in time to drop the car at our cabin, change and walk to the Hotel Aurora where we had reserved a table for the evening. It was Christmas after all and we hadn´t seen each other for a couple of months. We had a really nice dinner.
Later we strolled around the city and the beach.
Back to the cabin my sister called and we finished some bookings before going to the glow worm dell just across the street from the holiday park. Once your eyes adjust to the darkness you see millions of glow worms. It looks a bit like a sky full of stars just left and right of you instead of above. It is really beautiful! When we returned to the cabin we exchanged Christmas presents. It was basically in between the time and day we do it in Germany (afternoon/evening of the 24th) and when they do it in the USA (morning of the 25th). I got my first Christmas stocking ever! The next morning we had a beautiful breakfast and decorated the car a bit Christmas like
before taking off further up the west coast of the beautiful south island of New Zealand. We originally had planned to do the canopy walk in Hokitika and also made a reservation for it, but unfortunately they had informed us that they are closed on Christmas Day.