The untamed West Coast is where I'd rather be this week - stunning driving routes, easy-to-access nature, and wild weather that only adds to the beauty.
What to do in Reefton
If you're passing through Reefton, stop into the Reefton Distilling Co to try their vodka, whisky and gin, which is created using local botanicals such as toatoa, horopito and rimu. For $35 you can take a tour of the distillery, learn about how each of their products is made, before settling in at the bar to taste from the range.
Perhaps line your stomach first at the Future Dough Co - a popular cafe and bakery serving homemade food since 1874. Everything is made onsite - from whitebait fritters to giant toasted sandwiches to shortbread.
What to do in Blackball
In Blackball, a 40-minute drive north, the best spot for a drink is
, which changed its name after some pressure from an international hotel chain that won't be mentioned. The hotel was built in 1910, and its old-school pub at ground level is a gathering spot for locals and visitors. The walls are covered in history, plus it's a great place for a hearty meal - and where else can you still get shrimp cocktails and crepes Suzette?
What to do in Kumara
Kumara's Theatre Royal Hotel is a great place to stay - the hotel opened in 1876 - but the restaurant should also not be missed. Homegrown and local is the focus, and there's a log fire to relax by when the night draws in.
You can also stay in a slice of history - the town's old BNZ building has been converted into two character-packed suites - the Seddon, which includes a "gentleman's lounge" and claw-foot bath, and the Queen Victoria, with a romantic four-poster bed, and second bedroom.
If it's a casual seafood feast you're after, go a few doors down to Prospector's Fish & Chips - they offer a lush-looking seafood platter for two, stacked with fresh local crayfish, Bluff oysters, paua and blue cod, plus chips and sauces.
What to do in Hokitika
Hokitika also offers some lovely boutique digs, at the historic Fire Station . Here you'll find five self-contained and recently refurbished apartments - all very stylish and modern, that will accommodation couples or families.
Just around the corner, the Hokitika Sandwich Company is a favourite with the locals. Try the New Yorker, which is inspired by America's famous grilled Reuben sandwiches.