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Interest



West Coast Whitebait

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.

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image of whitebait patty being cooked

whitebait patty: ©juergenschacke.com

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What is 'Whitebait'?

Whitebait is the juvenile forms of five species of the fish family Galaxiidae. They are about 4-5 centimeters long and are caught by fisherman as they swim upriver from the sea.

Whitebaiter's can be seen lining the Hokitika River in season (1 Sept to 14 Nov). They set nets and wait on the river bank, hoping to harvest this popular food delicacy.

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Cool ideas | Whitebait

See what all the fuss is about and try these fun activities featuring whitebait.

  • Catch some yourself! Nets and information are available in outdoor stores in town.
  • It's worth heading down to the river-mouth to watch others fishing with scoop nets.
  • Have someone else do all the hard work. Head to one of the many cafes and restaurants that feature whitebait on the menu.

image of Hokitika town centre with link to retail and services webpagepeople fishing surfcasting on Hokitika Beach with link to fishing pageimage of coffee and newspaper with link to restaurant and cafe webpage

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Browse businesses featuring West Coast Whitebait

Browse the listings below for things to see and do featuring whitebait.

 

See & Do

West Coast Whitebait Season

1 Sept to 14 Nov 2018 inclusive

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

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Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

9 March 2019

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

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Sunset Point - Walk

LOCATION : Hokitika Beach

EASY 
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.

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Eat

ClockTower Cafe

‘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.

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Phone
PHONE
(03) 755 7737
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Fat Pipi Pizza

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 given the Lonely Planet travel guide tick for many years.

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Phone
PHONE
(03) 755 6373
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Ocean View Restaurant & Bar

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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Email Phone
PHONE
03 755 8344
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Website
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