We discovered Hokitika almost by pure chance. Our next destination in New Zealand after Wharariki Beach – Franz Joseph Glacier – was simply too far to drive to in one go. Instead, we decided to play it safe and find a place somewhere in between to have some rest before heading to the glacier the following morning. That’s when Hokitika caught our eye. Located two hours away from Franz Josef and described online as a cool little town with a beautiful emerald water gorge nearby, it appeared to be a perfect spot to spend the night and capture some nice photos. But did it live up to the expectations?
Wharariki Beach is undeniably one of the most inspiring, captivating and amazingly beautiful places I have visited in New Zealand. For some strange reason those gigantic jagged rocks protruding from the ocean, the vast empty dunes and the ever-present wind driving the waves relentlessly against the shore are inexplicably alluring to me. Ever since I first saw images of it on the internet, I knew right away that Wharariki Beach has to be on my itinerary. I waited eagerly with excitement and anticipation for the moment when I finally see its beauty with my own eyes. Often such high expectations can easily turn into disappointment. But not this time.
I never really thought of Kaikoura as a big landscape photography location. Sure, it came up while we were preparing for the trip to New Zealand, but for entirely different reasons. At some point we even considered removing it from our itinerary completely and if we hadn’t decided to head north, that’s probably what we would’ve done. And really, that would have been a great shame. Kaikoura turned out to be so much more than I ever expected and an incredible place for landscape photography where I took probably one of the most memorably shots of our trip.