Te Waka a Maui #2 - The West Coast

Kiwis regard the West Coast as remote and economically disadvantaged. In truth, the population is small, farming is not rich, fishing has declined and the coal and gold are pretty much mined out. But the West Coast has an abundance of dramatic scenery and is well worth visiting. Many Europeans do visit, sometimes to the bemusement of the local tourists who have not quite got used to some some foreign ladies penchant for parading around the washrooms in the buff. (Sadly they only do it in the ladies washrooms - but then I feel fortunate that the men don't seem inclined to emulate their ladies.)

The Wekas paraded for us at Cape Foulwind (where the winds were indeed pretty foul) and the strange pancake rocks and seaweed at Punakaiki made it a worthwhile stop. In Hokitika the Wildfoods Festival was only evidenced by a wall mural, but we caught the tail end of a beach sculpture competition. Hiking to Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier was great, and the weather behaved itself in both locations, only pouring with rain when we were safely tucked up in our camper, and not ruffling the waters of Lake Matheson (famous for its mountain reflections).

Click on a photo for a larger image and a slide show.

  • 01 Weka
    01 Weka
  • 02 Weka ... Curious and very dumb
    02 Weka ... Curious and very dumb
  • 03 Cape Foulwind ... named by Cook I think...maybe he didn't like it
    03 Cape Foulwind ... named by Cook I think...maybe he didn't like it
  • 04 Cape Foulwind ... boat trip anyone
    04 Cape Foulwind ... boat trip anyone
  • 05 Cape Foulwind ... swirling patterns of kelp
    05 Cape Foulwind ... swirling patterns of kelp
  • 06 Rugged west coast near the Pancake Rocks
    06 Rugged west coast near the Pancake Rocks
  • 07 Pancake Rocks ... and associated strange formations
    07 Pancake Rocks ... and associated strange formations
  • 08 Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki
    08 Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki
  • 09 Pancake Rocks
    09 Pancake Rocks
  • 10 Pancake Rocks ... really are strange
    10 Pancake Rocks ... really are strange
  • 11 Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki
    11 Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki
  • 12 The west coast  at Punakaiki
    12 The west coast at Punakaiki
  • 13 Hokitika clock and bell tower ... it is the pushpin that keeps Hokitika in place
    13 Hokitika clock and bell tower ... it is the pushpin that keeps Hokitika in place
  • 14 The surfer dude and the sea monster
    14 The surfer dude and the sea monster
  • 15 Mr kool the camel ... a beach sculpture contest
    15 Mr kool the camel ... a beach sculpture contest
  • 16 The cool dude
    16 The cool dude
  • 17 The last moa
    17 The last moa
  • 18 Franz Josef Glacier ... the first sight
    18 Franz Josef Glacier ... the first sight
  • 19 A veiled fiddlehead
    19 A veiled fiddlehead
  • 20 Franz Josef Glacier morraine field
    20 Franz Josef Glacier morraine field
  • 21 Franz Josef Glacier ... close to the toe
    21 Franz Josef Glacier ... close to the toe
  • 22 No water shortage
    22 No water shortage
  • 23 Lush forest growth beside Lake Matheson
    23 Lush forest growth beside Lake Matheson
  • 24 A fascination with ferns
    24 A fascination with ferns
  • 25 Lush native forest at Lake Matheson
    25 Lush native forest at Lake Matheson
  • 26 Just a drop
    26 Just a drop
  • 27 Morning dew ... looking across meadows toward Mount Cook
    27 Morning dew ... looking across meadows toward Mount Cook
  • 28 Mount Cook and Mount Sefton from the meadows at Lake Matheson
    28 Mount Cook and Mount Sefton from the meadows at Lake Matheson
  • 29 Early morning at Lake Matheson
    29 Early morning at Lake Matheson
  • 30 Morning in the meadows beside Lake Matheson
    30 Morning in the meadows beside Lake Matheson
  • 31 Hiding the sun
    31 Hiding the sun
  • 32 A corner of Lake Matheson
    32 A corner of Lake Matheson
  • 33 Mount Cook the cloud piercer from Lake Matheson
    33 Mount Cook the cloud piercer from Lake Matheson
  • 34 Lake Matheson and Mount Cook
    34 Lake Matheson and Mount Cook
  • 35 Lake Matheson and Mount Cook
    35 Lake Matheson and Mount Cook
  • 36 Lake Matheson and Mount Cook
    36 Lake Matheson and Mount Cook
  • 37 Lake Matheson
    37 Lake Matheson
  • 38 Lake Matheson in the early morning
    38 Lake Matheson in the early morning
  • 39 A corner of Lake Matheson ... dominated by Mount Cook
    39 A corner of Lake Matheson ... dominated by Mount Cook
  • 40 Fox Glacier
    40 Fox Glacier
  • 41 Ranked fiddleheads
    41 Ranked fiddleheads
  • 42 Haast Beach ... wide open and lonely
    42 Haast Beach ... wide open and lonely