For the visitor it may be hard to understand why we get so excited about a tiny translucent fish but on the West Coast whitebait is a big deal.
Browse the listings below to learn more about West Coast Whitebait.
Every spring on the West Coast the spawning native trout rush from the ocean back into the West Coast river systems. They are met by throngs of people who stand ready to catch as many ‘shoals’ as possible over the two months of the whitebait season. You can walk along the river banks close to the ocean and discover for yourself what the whitebait means to the local residents. It’s a little like gold fever when the whitebait is "running". Get a taste for it yourself at the many cafes in town.
This is without a doubt a very unique food festival! Up to 11,000 people can descend on Hokitika for a weekend of fun and food. Tempt your tastebuds and challenge yourself. Each year a new range of exciting foods are up on offer including worm truffles, live huhu grubs and possum pie. But don't be frightened there are some standard fare items as well including lamb, steak and of course whitebait! Entertainment is as good as it gets with multiple stages and there’s roving entertainment all day long. www.wildfoods.co.nz
Time: 5 minutes walk from town centre.
Access: By foot, along beach, beach track, or Quayside section of Heritage Walk. By road via Sunset Point Rd.
Features: Sunsets, sunrises & starry nights. Hokitika rivermouth & beach. Views of Aoraki Mount Cook & Tasman (Horo Kawau). Tambo ‘shipwreck’. Information panels. Walks, picnicing, beach fossicking, fishing, & whitebaiting.
‘Runner-up Cafe of the Year 2012/13 West Coast Region’ by Café Magazine and ‘Highly Commended’ in the 2014 NZ Pie Awards. Open 7 days from 6.30am, on main street opposite historic Town Clock. Extensive menu, including Gluten Free & homemade fare. Whitebait available all year. Awesome coffee, reasonable prices & great service. No surcharge on Public Holidays.
You haven't experienced Hokitika until you've tried the original whitebait pizza at Fat Pipi Pizzas. In the heart of the township, enjoy gourmet treats that extend beyond pizza and discover why this unique West Coast eating house has featured in the Lonely Planet travel guide for the past four years.
Our Oceanview Restaurant and Bar with its sleek design and comfort is elevated above the beach, overlooking the Tasman see, allowing you to enjoy a top quality dining whilst watching waves break on the shore. Open daily for breakfast from 7am-10am, Lunch at noon & dinner from 5pm. Located at the Beachfront Hotel.
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