The South Island of New Zealand -winter 2015/16 travel blog

A great little town on the Tasman Sea

Fun stop at the Possum People shop

Well done path to the scenes at the Gorge Bridge

Seth and Terry crossing the swing bridge - maximum load 6 people

Nice area with numerous walks within a 25 km area

Put the little town of Hokitika on your list of places to go on the West Coast. There are about 15 varied walks around lakes, gorges, ocean coasts, and forests in this area -- so many you'd need a week to do them all (or more). It is located about 40 minutes south of Greymouth. We walked through the shops in town and stopped at the Possum People shop. Possums were introduced into New Zealand from Australia in 1860 to start a New Zealand fur trade. They thrived ((no predators) and are now considered serious pest and there are numerous ways that their population control is attempted(poison, trapping, open season hunting). When you walk in the woods you will see notices posted cautioning you about POTASSIUM CYNAIDE being in traps and that it is deadly for human consumption or for animals!! This shop sells many clothing items that blend 50% NZ merino wool with 30% possum and 20% silk -- resulting in a very soft and warm item. (I bought gloves at 26.00NZ around 18.00 US). The possum fur makes the garrment 30% warmer than just wool. After shopping in the city we headed 25km into the countryside to the Hokitika Gorge Swing Bridge. Maximum 2,000 lbs (6 people limit at a time) - it was a one person wide suspension bridge across a gorge. It rocked a bit but was not scary and the scenery was beautiful! Nice pathway through the woods as well. Then we drove back to Greymouth -- total driving 4.5 hours for the day.

We had a "first" today - a roundabout sign with a railroad track in the middle (couldn't stop to get the picture) and a sign that says the train gets the right of way always!! Another driving first was the one way bridge over a river bed that was a train track as well -- again, the train gets the right of way. In rural NZ in the South Island there are numerous one car bridges over roads. Some of them are very challenging because you can't see the end of the one way path when you start out. The road shows you a sign with two arrows -- the arrows tell you if you "GIVE WAY" or if the on-coming traffic does. The size and color of the arrow is what tells you to stop or go and then there is a line in the road where you stop and let the other car come across. Some Kiwi's go really fast as they approach these and might even fail to GIVE WAY even if the arrow told them to-- bridges and round-abouts are where we have 'group think' in our car - actually it is Roxa being a back seat driver saying out loud things like OUR TURN TO GIVE WAY AND STOP COMING UP. Or. STAY TO THE LEFT ON THE ROUND ABOUT. Terry and Seth are very tired of me giving this free advice after 3 weeks of their very good driving on these unusual roads. I somehow feel it is my contribution to our safety (I'm smiling). Steps today 16, 420. Driving 4.5 hrs.

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