Upcoming Dates of Westland Anniversary Day
2022: Monday 28th November
2023: Monday 4th December
2024: Monday 2nd December
The Province of Westland
From Hokitika and Arthurs Pass National Park in the north to Haast in the south. Mount Aspiring National Park includes the boundary here with the Otago Province to the east.
Being situated on the untamed, rocky coast of the South Island, Westland is one of the least populous of all the regions of New Zealand.
The Anniversary Date
The Westland anniversary date does not celebrate the region’s founding, like other regions, but rather the separation of Westland Province from Canterbury Province on 1 December 1873.
The day is therefore celebrated on the Monday nearest to 1 December. It is not simply the first Monday of December as many people believe.
The region’s largest town, Hokitika, has various celebratory activities during Westland Anniversary Day.
However, many merely take advantage of the long weekend to unwind and venture out and take in the breathtaking natural beauty of their own country.
Many travel to Westland to take in tranquility and marvel at strange natural structures.
What to see in Westland’s Untamed Natural Wilderness
From the mountains, glaciers, rainforests, rugged coastline, and everything in between, Westland is the place to see the real, pristine, New Zealand.
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are 13 and 12 kilometres in length respectively. They both descend from the Southern Alps to a height of fewer than 300 metres above sea level. The Fox Glacier is located 20 kilometres south of the Franz Josef.
Close by Fox Glacier is the beautiful glacial Lake Matheson, one of the world’s most photographed lakes.
Lake Matheson is famous for its mirror-like reflections of the Southern Alps, including Mount Cook.
There are many walks in this area, taking in the wildlife, including eels in the lake, to glow worms in the canopies.
On the way to Gillespies Beach, you will see the glorious view of Fox Glacier.
To take advantage of the long anniversary weekend at the beginning of summer, it is a lovely place to visit and take a dip, especially after walking one of the Gillespies Beach coastal walks.
Hang out in Hokitika
If the early summer weather isn’t playing ball, and just hanging out in a ‘cool little town’ seems appealing, then Hokitika is the place to be.
Hokitika was initially populated following the discovery of gold on the West Coast in 1860. It was a significant river port and numerous ships perished on the infamous Hokitika Bar, a sandbar that moves with the tide.
The town has some beautiful old buildings and plenty of galleries focusing on pounamu (greenstone) jewellery and artwork. The source of pounamu is the Arahura River, just north of the town.