Lake Kaniere via Hokitika: A Wet West Coast Trip

The West Coast was the only area with a good weather forecast over a recent weekend, so I decided to head over to Lake Kaniere, a lake that’s tucked away inland from Hokitika. It was raining in Christchurch, and I’d had enough of it!

Leaving Christchurch for Lake Kaniere

Driving out of Christchurch and going through Arthurs Pass is great, even in bad weather. The small town of Arthurs Pass is super cool. The public toilets there are some of the best I’ve ever seen! So good in fact that there’s a sign warning travellers not to camp in there!

If you are looking to stay in Arthurs Pass there’s a nice YHA just across the road. Or, if you want to move on a little to Otira, there’s a nice hostel there, too. Check your CamperMate app for the locations. The maps work offline, so it will be easy!

Otira Gorge on the way to Lake Kaniere from Christchurch

It doesn’t matter how many times I pass the Otira Viaduct, I am always amazed by its beauty, and find myself saying “wow!”  It’s like the gateway to the West Coast when you travel this way.

The West Coast

The West Coast of the South Island is a special place in New Zealand. It’s an area with a lot of space (23,000 km² to be exact) and some of the most amazing scenery you’ll ever lay your eyes on.


Hokitika Laundromat on the way to Lake Kaniere

We arrived in Hokitika around 2 pm, sadly to bad weather. Was the forecast wrong? Either way, I didn’t let it dampen my spirits. We had plenty of time to drive to Lake Kaniere, so I spent the time adding some new stuff to the CamperMate app, like this laundromat!

Over the next three hours, I added 9 rubbish bins around Hokitika, 3 toilets, a dairy, and 5 interesting tips. It’s stuff like this that makes CamperMate so useful on a road trip. Even better, anyone can add stuff via the app. If it’s approved, it will be there for other travellers to use.

Lake Kaniere

Leaving Hokitika, we headed inland to the destination Lake Kaniere. I had never been here before and to be honest hadn’t even heard about it! It was a lucky find after spending a bit of time looking around the CamperMate map.

Lake Kaniere

Sometimes it’s best to have no expectations get a nice surprise, as I did on this occasion. 

Finding a layer of mist settling over the lake, there was also a light spatter of rain. Out on Lake Kaniere, there barely a ripple.

Trout Fishing

To me, this is perfect trout fishing weather! Luckily, I had packed my rod and purchased a 24-hour fishing licence online. So, with hope in my heart, I started casting with some lures purchased from the Hokitika Sports Shop. 

I was unlucky enough to immediately catch onto a piece of nylon from a previous fisherperson. The feeling of pulling in someone else’s line is similar to opening presents on Christmas day as a kid! As it turned out someone had snagged their whole line, so I ended up with a rusty old lure too. In hindsight, the best I could hope for was an old (dead) fish still stuck on the end!

Unfortunately, after an hour or so of fishing, this was to be my only catch. Heading back to the campervan I decided to cook some pasta for dinner. I would then try and find a country pub to watch the All Blacks play France.

The next day the weather really started to come down so there wasn’t much scope for adventure. This is to be expected on the West Coast. No matter what the forecast is, it’s probably going to rain! Just remember to pack the right clothing options, and try to enjoy the natural beauty. It’s pretty easy here.

Old Swimming Complex, Kumara, NZ

On the way back to Christchurch from Lake Kaniere, I got a small respite in the weather at Kumara. So, I checked out what was New Zealand’s biggest swimming complex in the 1930s. It was quite an odd sight since this is a fairly remote place!

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