Hokitika, West Coast, New Zealand

Whitebait Pizza Hokitika

Who would think of putting whitebait on a pizza?  Well, in Hokitika, a cool little seaside town on the West Coast of the South Island, a local chef decided to combine the local delicacy, whitebait, with an all-time favourite, pizza.

The Hokitika River is a renowned whitebaiting mecca.  During the whitebaiting season, which runs September through to November, intrepid locals can be found at their favourite hideout along the riverbank, whitebait net at the ready for these tiny, delicate fish to come swimming along.

Most of the activity is at the river mouth, which is a short, easy stroll from the town centre, although there are prime whitebait stands all along the riverbank, discretely camouflaged amongst the foliage.  Whitebait is highly prized and most baiters are content with providing this tiny translucent fish for friends, family and freezer.  Others however have a more commercial eye, especially when it retails for NZ$100 per kilo!

Back to the pizza.  Take a fresh, soft pizza base, turned up a little at the sides, and smear it with garlic butter.  Add a handful of whitebait carefully mixed together with a beaten egg and little milk.  Season and pour over the pizza base.  Generously sprinkle with capers.  You get the idea, but leave it to the experts in Hokitika!  Picture the late afternoon sun setting on the Tasman Sea, a rustic table overlooking the rugged stoney beach, a delicious whitebait pizza and a cold New Zealand beer. Or take it back to yourmotel.  It doesn’t get better!

Hokitika is a great place to spend a night or two, with outstanding alpine and ocean scenery, excellent local walking trails, the new Treetops Walkway, glowworm dell and world renowned greenstone factory where carvers create masterpieces from local jade. Your New Zealand holiday will be better for a stay in Hoki!

If good food and wine is a priority for your New Zealand self drive vacation, plan your itinerary and stopovers so that you have time to relax and enjoy each destination’s specialities.

New Zealand Honeymoons on a Cheap & Cheerful Budget

New Zealand is a renowned honeymoon destination for the rich and famous, but simple pleasures can make them affordable & achievable. So live the dream!

New Zealand is a renowned honeymoon destination for the rich and famous.  But with some smart planning, realistic objectives and focus on enjoying the great, natural outdoors, New Zealand is a very achievable honeymoon or anniversary vacation for those on a more modest budget.  Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that make the best memories!

Enjoy cycling through the vineyards together.We would all like to be pampered at a luxury lodge or 5 star resort hotel, but when reality kicks in and choices have to be made there is a good range of affordable accommodation alternatives available.  New Zealand’s motel accommodation is generally excellent value and offers you a “home away from home” with your own living area, kitchen, ensuite and bathroom.  Instead of dining out every night, perhaps self cater some evenings.  It’s fun to explore local markets for fresh fish and meat, vegetables and fruit and create your own style of dining, with a kiwi twist.  Try our succulent lamb, farmed salmon and salad ingredients straight from the market gardens.  Many motels have free barbecue facilities in picturesque garden settings which provide the ideal setting for a relaxing, balmy summer evening.

Purchasing a cooler bag to keep in your rental car is a great way to take food items with you.  Having snacks and lunch on hand when you discover a deserted beach or quiet riverbank is very convenient and offers you the opportunity to spend more time at these special places rather than hunting out cafes and food stores to replenish the energy levels.

Unlike some countries, New Zealand’s breathtakingly beautiful National Parks are easy to visit.  They offer some of the most outstanding scenic landscapes, accessible by well maintained hiking trails that often lead to cascading waterfalls, remote lakes and majestic forests and native bush.  Take a picnic lunch in your day pack and spend entire days enjoying and sharing these spectacular natural attractions.  Find your own stretch of golden sand beach.  You won’t need your credit card.  Just leave your footprints in the sand until the next tide.

With a little planning and creative thinking it’s very possible to keep the budget under control.  Admire the landscapes, savour the fresh air and space – they don’t cost anything, but they are very valuable, simple pleasures.  Check out some helpful sampleNew Zealand itineraries to use as a starting point, make smart decisions about your travel expenses, prioritise where you want to spend your budget.  For example, after a few nights in good quality 3 star accommodation, you might like to treat yourself to some 4 or 5 star luxury for the next couple of nights.  This adds variety, helps the affordability and makes your honeymoon very special indeed.

So, if New Zealand is on your horizon as a honeymoon or romantic holiday destination, start planning now!

Dunedin Farmers Market

Located in the carpark of the spectacular Dunedin Railway Station, the Dunedin Farmers Market is a “must do” for food lovers visiting Dunedin.

Go early!  That is the best advice for any visitor heading to the Dunedin Farmers Market.  Officially called the Otago Farmers Market because the heavenly fresh produce comes from all around the district,  this event is held every Saturday morning from early until about noon.  Skip breakfast and head to the spectacular Dunedin Railway Station where the market is held in the adjacent carpark.

At 9.30am there is still room to move, wander from stall to stall, sampling this and that, chat with the growers.  By 10.30 it’s elbow to elbow – but still fun!  From whitebait patties to fried dumplings, fresh coffee to pinot noir wines, hand-made breads, muffins and cupcakes to fresh vegetables, exquisite cheeses, meats direct from the local farms and fish straight from the ocean.  It’s all here but you’ll need an exploratory circuit to absorb all the offerings first.  Then go around again and choose your favourites.  The colour and music all add to the sensory experience.

If you’re staying in motel or apartment accommodation with cooking facilities a visit to the market offers the opportunity to stock up for a couple of days with fresh and unique food that is distinctively “New Zealand”.  If you love food and wine, then take the time to chat with the growers and producers and get some handy preparation tips.  Take a knapsack with a frozen cooler pack to keep the goodies nice and fresh.

Ideally allow at least an hour, but longer is better.  Your taste buds will thank you for it.