Seeing Westport Through The Eyes Of A Local
What better way to see any area than through the eyes of a local. While in Westport, we are visiting with the Best man from our wedding. With John (or Jet as he was christened in the Navy) as our chauffeur and guide, we’ve already seen a side of Westport not normally visible to tourists.
First a drive around Westport township before heading north through all the little villages up Highway 67. Jet gave us a glance into the past as he shared stories of his childhood, the coal industry and gold mining in these areas. And we spent a short visit with his mother, who did not realise Jet had played a major role in our wedding.
Tomorrow we’ll take a walk along the much touted Charming Creek Walkway, Jet showed us its start point and assured us it is THE must-do walk while in this area.
We visited a privately owned power station – I hadn’t realised there was such a thing. The layout including software control and monitoring from water input to power output was explained to us. We appreciated the time taken to show/explain the mechanics of such an operation.
I’m a sucker for picking up stones and Birchfield beach is far too interesting. I ended up with a huge heap of fascinating stones I couldn’t take with me. Cutting the number down to an acceptable quantity was very difficult. I still needed a 2 litre ice cream container to carry them. Thank heavens we’re not flying anywhere.
Four wheel driving up the Mohikinui track was an amazing treat. Over the years Jet has spent many hours and days working on this track and he was so obviously at home here. He has a saying which he repeated more than once – “welcome to my world” – which was so appropriate here. As we crept through thick bush I couldn’t help but wonder if I could come up with an idea to write another “Wilderness Liaison” type story with such a beautiful setting. What an amazing place this would be to set a story.
Eager to repay Jet for his time, we inquired about a favourite restaurant to take him for dinner. He assured us he did have a favourite and we would head there forthwith. It was only when we turned off the road toward his home near the beach that we clicked. He had forestalled our intention. Instead his daughter and her family had arrived at his home in our absence and prepared a feast fit for a king. Sea food dip, followed by seafood chowder, then whitebait fritters and finally an amazing salad with the hugest crayfish I’ve ever seen. We were in heaven.