Thursday, 23 June 2016

Quirky Kwitchatown - South Westland

This is Kwitchatown and as the sign says it was established in 1966. 

This tiny settlement of no more than a fifteen or so baches (also known as cribs in the south of the South Island) looks much like any other fishing village found near the mouth of the many rivers along the West Coast. Classic kiwi baches in various states of luxury...

...and stages of ramshackle. 

Baches that have been owned by families for generations, the place they come to during the whitebait season or to fish over summer. A place to get away from it all where generators, solar power, tank water, long drops and pot belly stoves provide the basics and satellite dishes are the only nod towards luxury.

There is one thing that makes this village stand out from the crowd though...

All the holiday homes are named in keeping with the town's name, Kwitchatown. Go on, say them out loud, they'll make you smile. 

The sense of humour extends to the surroundings too. A gravel track separates two clusters of baches...

...with a couple of  cottages tucked into the bush along the way. 

We drove through to the end of the road which finished on the bank of the river...  

...and then backed the ute up into an open area to have a cup of tea- there's no one about, even though it's the long weekend. While David pours the tea...

...I wander around taking photos...

...making sure I capture as many names as I can. There's some good ones in this lot too.

I know some RV owners who would like to have this name on there vans...

My favourite (click to enlarge)-

Everyone's favourite-

I wonder if you can guess the name on this bach? The answer is at the end of the post. Think about it.

Our peace and quiet is interrupted when we hear a bike roaring down the track. It's a local checking out who is visiting, and taking their time in leaving. His bach is set back in the scrub at the beginning of the track. I left David having a yarn and continued on taking photos. 

Actually I can hear them shouting to each other above the rumble of the bike; he tells us he can't turn it off otherwise he won't get it started again. It's a bit like many things in Kwitchatown, they've kwitchamaintenance too.

 At the end of the road a rickety 'boardwalk' disappears into the overgrown bush, we carefully follow the slippery and odd angled boardwalk up the side of the river testing the various planks and construction as we go. There's a new section with a handrail over a narrow, dark tannin stained tidal creek. All I'm thinking about are the water rats running about, I call to David to wait up for me.

After a hundred metres or so we find one last kwitchabach in a clearing right on the river bank. A little closer to the river than I'm sure they would like be too. There's been a major washout sometime during recent storms and the river has claimed a good few meters of the bank. A letterbox proclaiming this is No.1 Kwitchatown Road stands near the bach waiting for the non-existent postie to cycle by.

There's a horse float, an old tractor, a trailer and other junk nearby but there's no road access, not even a beaten track through the bush, just the boardwalk we've walked up. So either the track has been washed away or the gear has been carted and driven in when the river was low. Whatever, some of it has been sitting here for years. It's a shame to see stuff dumped like this- it would seem the owner has taken his bach name literally.

We head back to the ute, a number of friendly Fantail/Piwakawaka flitting along beside us, darting in and out nabbing the pesky sandflies we're disturbing along the way.

And that name? A deer hunter of course, the antlers above the shed were the clue. There's also a long row of antlers lined up on a beam in the shed.

We head off, back to the highway, past the sand dunes and a small dune swamp, along the non-descript dirt track, back to the main road. Along a track that many would pass and not give a second glance to. Little do they know that there's a little slice of paradise at the end of that track. 

If we had a bach here at Kwitchatown, I know what we'd name it... Kwitcharoamin!

Then again, maybe it could KwitchaClickin. Actually, maybe it should be KwitchaRain'n.  Enough!

And a footnote- I know many of you will be wondering where Kwitchatown is on the Coast. There's very little about it on the 'net. I actually heard about it a number of years ago and had marked it on my travel map to follow up when we got to the area- a map that I actually don't refer to anymore, I just happened to come across it at the right time. Anyway, in keeping with the uniqueness of Kwitchatown I'm not going to advertise its location either. Nothing would spoil this little patch of kiwiana more than a whole hoard of cars and RVs trundling down the track. But if you would like to know where it is, send me a note on the blog contact form (bottom of the right hand column) and I'll let you know, it'll be our little secret! 


  1. Super funny! Don't read this post while eating or drinking, I nearly choked myself when I saw 'Kiwitchawife". So hard to hold back laughter!

    1. Glad you enjoyed that one Offston. Now all that needs to be done is a woman to build a bach beside it called Kwitchahusband! :) Actually she could call it KwitchaMotherInLaw :)

  2. " Don,t" Kwitchwriting,(or photography)we need it. Mr and Mrs Brown.

    1. Very good Mr & Mrs Brown, no worries, I still have plenty of stories up my sleeve.


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