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A few days ago, we found the bridges over the Blue Holes closed for upgrades, so today we hiked to the Hokitika River Gorge for a similar view.

Kris getting all caught up in the Supplejack vines.
Kie Kie covering a tree. The fern-like growth is all epiphyte, the trunk of the tree is buried under there somewhere!
Hokitika Gorge
The water really is that blue! The river is fed by the local glaciers and appears turquoise due to dissolved minerals

The only part of the hike that was not great was finding more &^%$# sandflies that feasted on the parts of us not covered in bug spray (ankles, elbows, eyebrows)

We enjoyed the Rowi kiwi in Franz Josef, so here in Hokitika we visited the National Kiwi Center to see their North Island Brown Kiwi.

North Island brown kiwi – a bit larger than the Rowi and more golden feathers

We also got to participate in feeding their eels. The longfin eel is endemic to NZ and is the largest eel in the world. These ones get beef heart as it’s high in protein and low in fat.

The eels like to be petted – they are soft and squishy and a little bit slimy

When the eels get the urge to migrate to Tonga to breed, they simply escape the tank and wait on the carpet to be freed into a local river. Eels can survive up to 5 days on land as they leave their lakes and make their way to rivers and on to the ocean. The males tend to migrate at 30-40 years of age; the females stay a bit longer (70-90 years) to grow as large as they can so they can hold millions of eggs.

The eggs that are laid in Tonga hatch and the larvae float back to New Zealand to find fresh water. Elvers become adult eels when they acclimatize to their new lake. It does seem they like to do things the hard way.

The Center has a great sense of humour.

We had dinner at a local pizza place. They have a house wine named Far Canal (say it fast with a kiwi accent!). It’s a Pinot noir with a fun back story.

Far Canal was the name of of one of owner Mike’s fishing boats. Rumor has it the captains of other fishing boats, seeing Mike return with his hold full of fish would ask where he caught them. Mike would reply “out on the far canal”. Another version of that story suggests that when other fishing boat captains saw Mike returning to base with a full load of fish, then they would raise their eyes to the sky and mutter Fa-kin-hell. When you come to Fat Pipi for a pizza you can ask Mike which of these versions might be true.

For the record we did ask. They lady at the counter smirked but didn’t confirm either story. Either way we enjoyed the wine and the pizza.

Tomorrow we are off to Buller Bay.

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