Sometimes when you’re visiting a small town, you’ll see a sign advertising something and you’ll think “nahhh, that can’t be what it sounds like”. A good example of that is the sign in Hokitika advertising ‘Sockworld’ – could this be a tourist attraction entirely devoted to socks? Yes. Yes it could.
They’ve resisted the temptation to put a giant sock in the middle of Hokitika, although we notice there is a giant clock. Do you think the builder misheard the instructions? Coulda been worse, we suppose – at least he heard an ‘L’ in there.
Ignore us, we’re just being immature. Hokitika is actually one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. The West Coast sunsets are legendary, you have those massive Southern Alps behind you, and then there are all these pretty little surprises, like the turquoise blue water in the Hokitika Gorge, native gemstone ‘ruby rock’, and the Glow Worm Dell at the north end of town.
Hokitika is the closest airport to Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Both are worth a visit, but it can get pretty cold up there so make sure you buy a warm pair of socks – we know just the place.
It’s also the home of New Zealand’s Pounamu/greenstone industry. The stone is retrieved from the rivers nearby and carved by local artists. Maori tradition says that it’s bad luck to buy pounamu for yourself, by the way, so make sure you do the right thing and come away from Hokitika with just the nice necklace, not the 600 year curse on your family.
There’s a saying in Hokitika: ‘everyone who lives here is a lifestyle millionaire’. Then, a few years ago, someone in the town won $11.5 million on Lotto Powerball, which sort of took the shine off that particular motto. “Everyone who lives here is a lifestyle millionaire, except for that lucky prick who’s an actual millionaire” doesn’t sound quite as good as a tourism slogan, does it? Maybe “Hokitika: Sock it to them” is the way forward.