The Turquoise Gorge

Day 2: Hokitika Beach > Hokitika Gorge > Franz Josef

Hokitika Beach

Our second morning was spent wondering Hokitika Beach. We took some photos with the famous Hokitika branch sign before walking along the shore. The shore was narrow and lined with bulky jagged rocks that you could hop along. The sand was dark and scattered with marble pebbles. Engrossed in collecting these pebbles, a wave caught me and I ended up drenched from toe to waist. So we weren't there for too long…

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Hokitika > Hokitika Gorge (35 mins)

We went back to the car so I could change and then we headed off for Hokitika Gorge. The drive was pleasant with vast open farmland. It was sprinkling as we approached the site. There were small mountains in the distance with fog rolling over and a rainbow appearing out of the mist.

On arrival, it began pouring so we spent a good 30 minutes in the car waiting for it to pass. As it began to clear, we  ventured out onto the trail. It was a fast and easy track, approximately 30-40 minutes return, excluding stopping at the bridge and gorge.

At the end of the track, there is a viewing platform where you can see the bridge and down stream. There are also stairs leading down to a tiny bit of shore and large rocks you can walk about on - plenty of photo opps here. You could also just sit on the rocks and relax. Overall, it’s a small space and when we went, there were several people around so I wouldn't say it is a place you would spend very long at.

You can see in my photos the water is not as turquoise as some you may have seen online or posted by other people. The colour in my photos is very similar to the colour we saw with our naked eye that day, perhaps a little lighter as I do brighten my images when I edit them. The lack of bright blue turquoise is mostly due to the weather. When it is overcast and has rained in the area the river is more of a faded, murky turquoise. There were brief moments where the sun broke through and there was a very apparent change in the colour of the river, you can see this in the second last photo. Either way, it was a beautiful place to see if you are passing through Hokitika.

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Hokitika Gorge > Franz Josef (2 hrs)

After our walk, we drove roughly 2 hours to our next destination - Franz Josef. We stayed at the Franz Josef Montrose in a double room and shared bathroom. Quite a small room but it was comfortable and clean. They also had a shared common room and kitchen, where we made spaghetti that night. Stay tuned for more on Franz Josef in my next post…