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Previous Day: Day 29 – Hokitika (well, more Ross)

Day 30 – Hokitika to Murchison

Our B&B was in a very nice private house, just outside Hokitika. It turns out that the family were sleeping in the garage, and letting out their bedrooms for the money! I’m glad they told us that in the morning, or we’d have felt guilty.

The night in the B&B was the most expensive we’ve spent, at $150 NZD, but it did include breakfast. However, in New Zealand B&B’s expect a continental-style breakfast of cereal, fruit salad and toast. It’s rare to get a full-cooked bacon-and-eggs.

Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2010

The Wild Foods Festival was the reason for us staying an extra night, and as the whole show is all about food it’s just as well we had a nice healthy breakfast!!

At 9:50 am, the queue was beginninbg to form ready for 10:00 am, when the gates opened. Some of the queue were already getting into the swing of it, and gave us a taste of what was to come. There were four twenty-somethings in front of us dressed as beer cans!

Then in through the gates, and we took our first slow walk round. At this stage there were people, but no crowds, so we could take some pictures and get close up to the stalls. Although the majority of food at the show is reasonably ‘normal’ (pork spare ribs, blackberry waffles, etc) there are others with wild boar,

venison, ostrich pies, pukeko burgers, then the really off-the-wall ones (which normally required an amount of alcohol before trying) of Huhu Bugs, live grasshoppers, worms, and other revolting things.

Hokitika is also the Whitebait capital of NZ, and this is the season for it. Whitebait is really expensive usually, but here you get Whitebait patties, Whitebait sarnies, Whitebait Omelet, in fact any Whitebait combination you can imagine. Plus oysters – Bluff oysters are probably cheaper here than in Bluff!

But it’s not the food stalls that make the day – it’s the people and the entertainment.

Now, just to put this in context, Hokitika is on a road that is 450 km long with no major turn-offs. The junction at Greymouth is 50 km away, and in the other direction it’s 400 km to the junction in Wanaka. It’s pretty isolated (apart from tourist vans for 3 months of the year). So the Wild Food Festival is the local’s opportunity to party. There’s normally 4,000 inhabitants, but the ticket number for the festival are limited to 15,000. This happened after 2003, when 28,000 people turned up!!! So the Wild Food Festival is the party of the year, for most of the towns in the surrounding area….

More people come in fancy dress than go to the NZI Sevens Rugby Tournament. You can’t take alcohol in, but you can buy it aplenty (if you can prove you’re 18) once you’re through the gate. The bars started filling up at 11:00. You could get a large glass of wine for $5 NZD. You can imagine thaty by mid-afternoon there were some very happy people who would try any peculair food that was sold to them.

The entertainment in the main marquee started at 10, and the artists were very good. The first duo we saw were the Gypsy Mountain Pickers, a Bluegrass sound that started with a very good rendition of ‘Duelling Banjos’. The next group – the Kokatahi Band – were celebrating their centenery – and I think some of the performers had been in the first performance!!

After the official opening (which we purposefully missed) came the ‘Vague As Brothers’ (a play on ‘Vegas’). Two middle-aged-running towards old-aged swingers in orange and yellow polyester suits came out on stage – and boy! Did they rock! This was obviously what the crowd were after. From the first number to the last the dance floor was full!

Now bear in mind, this is 1:00 pm in the afternoon. Art even had me up dancing (although I used the excuse of his dicky ticker to sit down reasonably quickly!!

We were really boring on our food choice – spare ribs, and barbecued chicken – and we couldn’t drink too much as we had todrive on to our next stop. So we left about 2:00 pm, and set off.

Definitely a day not to miss if you’re in the Hokitika area, and if you can stay for the Saturday night somewhere so you can make the most of the alcoholic bevarages….

Hokitika to Murchison

Not much to say here – we just got going and set off for the 200 km journey. Except we did do just a bit of the road that we’d already done at the beginning of the holiday, including visiting the New World at Greymouth. Our route this time took us from Greymouth to Murchison via Reefton, an old coal and gold mining town. We didn’t stop. Then into Murchison, where we’d stopped for a coffee on our way to Karamea. And here we found a holiday park for the night.

I’m having left-over curry for dinner – Yum! And Art is having pate and tomatoes on toast….

Insects, down to a few moths

Next Day: Day 31 – Murchison to Golden Bay

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terris_travelogue/south_island/day_30.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/10 20:10 by art
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