Our first full day in Hokitika was spent exploring the town and all of the little shops. We wandered down to the Jade Factory which was located right next to our hostel. Apparently Hokitika has a lot of Jade and so they manufacture lots of jewelry out of it.
We also wandered a few doors down over to a glass blowing studio. This was amazing to see, as the workshop was open so we could watch as the man make penguins out of hot glass. Basically one guy has a long metal pole that he dips in molten glass and he rolls it out to get it to the shape he wants. Then he uses tools and dyes to cut pieces of the glass. He used some pairs of scissors to cut little arms into the hot glass and it was amazing to see the whole process happen. We stayed to watch him make about 3 penguins. The store had a lot of cool merchandise like glass kiwis, dolphins, whales and even huge chess sets all made out of coloured glass.
We also checked out the beach in Hokitika. The sand was a grey-ish colour and the waves were pretty big. No one was swimming because they have bad riptides here and the temperature is pretty low (hovering around 18-20 degrees)… a pretty big difference from the 40 degree weather we were experiencing in Melbourne just the day before.