The Luminaries shines a light on New Zealand's wild West Coast
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New Zealand is a pretty inspirational place, just ask Eleanor Catton, the 28-year-old Man Booker Prize recipient who has been awarded the prestigious prize for her sophomore novel The Luminaries. Set in the coastal town of Hokitika, and its surround goldfields on the rugged West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, during the 1860’s Gold Rush – the book paints a beautiful picture of the spectacular setting. "It feels like a victory for New Zealand and I feel so proud and pleased that so many readers will now be going to Hokitika…..metaphorically speaking," Catton told Television New Zealand. But ‘going to’ Hokitika and its surrounding area is worth doing in reality as well. The West Coast region is a spectacular destination, including a world heritage site and five of New Zealand’s 14 national parks. Native wildlife and vegetation flourishes along the coastline, in rain forests and up onto the icy slopes of the Southern Alps, where renowned Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are among the region’s biggest attractions. Within easy reach of Hokitika is a wealth of the best of the ‘great outdoors’. In 15 minutes find yourself walking a native New Zealand forest to the turquoise waters of the Hokitika Gorge and rugged green Kowhitirangi farmland. In contrast, the Arahura and Styx valley is a 2-4 day hike on winding tracks that were constructed in the late 1860s in an attempt to connect the West Coast Goldfields with Canterbury. The West Coast Wilderness Trail is another outdoor adventure that incorporates gold rush fever. This ride is part of Nga Haerenga - The New Zealand Cycle Trail - with trails of varying length and terrain across the North and South Islands.
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