Saturday, 2 April 2016

Hokitika Gorge

A few weeks ago when David came down to join me in Hokitika for the weekend, one of the places we went was Hokitika Gorge - it is a must see when you come down to the West Coast. The drive out to it is wonderful and the gorge itself is pretty amazing.

The baby mountains - only foothills really - on the way there.

Some slightly bigger ones - toddler mountains perhaps

The bridge was originally built for a farmer whose farm was both sides of the river. His cows used to cross the bridge each day.

The blue of the water is something to do with ice and rock - see below for an explanation I found on-line.
The water is turquoise because finely ground rock is present. We are able to observe the blue light produced by the water’s absorption, because light is scattered by suspended matter and so returns to the surface. Such scattering can also shift the spectrum of the emerging photons toward the green, a color often seen in water laden with suspended particles.

There you go - educational or what?

A picnic down by the river. Clever David set up the camera on the timer and managed to get back and look relaxed with his sandwich. Still pretty speedy for a nearly 67 year old!

The bridge is a marvellous feat of engineering, but I didn't like being on it much, especially when the two guys behind me were coming across marching in time - the bridge swayed alarmingly then. David tells me it's the harmonics - same as what caused the Millenium Bridge in London to have to be fixed just after being opened. It seems that people in groups naturally fall into step. By the way, I am not sure what effect holding on to the sides would have had if it collapsed  but it seemed not to be optional for me.

On getting back to the old hire car, I discovered the battery was flat - I had left the lights on. The car is so old that it doesn't beep to let you know the lights are still on when the key is switched off and the door is opened. (And I am the one who complains about the appliances talking to me at home - the washing machine tells me it is going to fill with water to rinse, and then tells me when the cycle is finished, the stove tells me when it's up to temperature, the induction hob tells me when I have put something on its controls, the fridge tells me when I have had a door open too long ...)  OK, back on topic - I always drive with the lights on on the highways, esp in the South Island which has heaps of tourists most of whom come from weird places where people drive on the right hand side of the road instead of the correct side of the road, ie the left.

Anyway, it was a damn and blast moment, given how far away we were from any town and the lack of cellphone coverage in the area to phone for assistance from the trusty Automobile Association.

But to our rescue came the guy in the photo below. We had seen him down at the river - he'd jumped in off the bridge as we were making our way down and was bemoaning the fact that he'd forgotten he had his go-pro camera on him when he jumped. He lost it as he landed in the water. We were unsympathetic and and scoffed privately about his idiocy ...

However when I went around the carpark looking for someone with jumper leads - he was the one who had some. He is from Sweden and was touring NZ in an old car that he had bought and very sensibly stocked with things he might need to keep it going. So who was the idiot - me, not him!

No trouble to start the car - we gave him $20 for his help and suggested beers. He thought he might put it towards a new go-pro camera. Much more sensible than we had given him credit for.


Jenny said...

Hokitika Gorge is a place we haven't yet discovered Marilyn. It is now on our bucket list for our upcoming South Island trip.
Did you know about the (newish) high tree tops walk a little south of Hokitika? Well worth doing, we have been told.
And trust you to get the best looking young guy in the car park to help you out with the battery problem! Just seeing him topless must be a bargain at $20!
Robin and Jenny, Romany Rambler

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Jenny, Hokitika Gorge is a delight. Best done when it hasn't been raining lots, I am given to understand, so that the blue of the water is visible.
The high treetops walk was originally planned for Hokitika Gorge but the locals got up in arms about it to the extent ttaht the person who was going to fund it (and reap the benefits no doubt) had to find a different venue. Given I don't like heights, I cannot see myself doing it - although I did say to David that I would wait in the car and read while he did it if he wants.
A young topless man being worth $20 a look - nah! I can see lots of them on display in the calendars at Bruce and Gary's place anytime ... But his jumper leads were worth twice that!
Cheers, M