We woke up at 6:30am, and drove the 10mins to Lake Mahinapua for sunrise. This is only the second time we have had to drive anywhere to shoot sunrise on this trip, as every other location we have stayed has had stunning scenery right on the campervan's doorstep.
We hung around at the lake until just after sunrise, then back to Hokitika for some breakfast at the same café we had lunch at yesterday.
After breakfast we wandered around the shops some more, got more groceries then headed in to the Kokatahi Valley (the scene of the famous Stanley Graham murders) and in to the Hokitika Gorge at 11:30. Parked the van then walked down into the stunning gorge, with pale blue water running between the rugged rocks. Took a few photos (well maybe more than a few) then walked back up to the van
We headed back towards Hokitika then turned east at Kokatahi and headed in towards Lake Kaniere, initially along a nice straight road, but then turning narrow, gravel and a bit windy in places. We stopped at Dorothy Falls, parked the van at about 12:45, and walked the 2 minutes to the falls themselves. The falls are set in a lovely little area in the bush, and we spent about 1/2 hour here shooting.
Back on the road and through to Lake Kaniere (we came in the back way), found the Hans Bay camp (Doc camp on the hill overlooking the lake) and parked up.
We walked along the side of the lake and down a side track to Canoe Cove, a lovely little beach bathed in sunshine. Again the lake levels were quite high so only a little piece of beach was visible. We sat in the sun for a while (is this winter?) then walked back up to the road and back to the camp, about 1 1/2 hour round trip.
We wandered back down to the lake for sunset, and chatted to a man (and his dog) who had just bought a property nearby and was planning to build a house (and was originally from Hawke's Bay), and a couple in a campervan who were touring the West Coast looking for a place to live. The peace was shattered somewhat by a couple of carloads of teenagers who arrived and started to set up their tents, at full volume!
We wandered back up to the van and had some dinner and relaxed. The skies were clear so the plan was to get up early and shoot the Milky Way over the lake...