Danielle, Regional Manager based in London, shares her favourite ‘undiscovered location’.
Regional Manager UK/Europe Operations Offshore
What is your favourite ‘undiscovered location’ in New Zealand?
Curly Tree Whitebait Company in Haast.
Why is Curly Tree special?
Tony and Moana the owners offer what we refer to as “Manaakitanga” – they are such beautiful, genuine people who are enthusiastic about sharing their story, educating about not just whitebait but the region, New Zealand, Kiwi and Maori culture etc. They are “tucked away” about 5-10 minutes’ drive North of Haast (where you can get a really good cup of coffee at the main café there!), on the left hand side.
Whitebait patties are a ‘real kiwi’ experience that we love and if you are lucky enough to be there during whitebait season, they may even offer to show you how they catch them! And who knew there was more than one variety?? (not me - until Moana and Tony educated me!)
Who did you travel with?
Tourism New Zealand colleagues - Joy (Bangkok), Adam (Australia), Tania (Wellington)
Do you have any advice for people visiting Curly Tree?
Look carefully for their little roadside sign – they don’t have a big one but it’s on the right hand side (driveway on the left). Try and go during white bait season (in case they have the time to actually take you white baiting (something I have never tried) and definitely have a whitebait pattie in white bread with a dash of salt and lemon juice – YUMMY!
The whitebait season on the West Coast runs between 01 September and 14 November (inclusive).
How do you get there?
Haast is best accessed by rental vehicle. It is 1 hour 30 minutes’ drive from Fox Glacier, 3 hours 45 minutes’ drive from Queenstown and 7 hours 15 minutes’ drive from Christchurch. Alternatively buses travel between Queenstown and Franz Josef and vice versa, stopping in Haast.
About Curly Tree Whitebait Company
Based in the heart of West Coast whitebait country 10km north of Haast and 120km south of the Glaciers at the Waita river. Their whitebait is sourced from some of the best whitebait producing rivers along South Westland’s rugged coast. Their focus is simple - to provide the best West Coast white gold - Curly Tree Whitebait is New Zealand Food Safety Authority approved and is proud to cater to the requirements of supermarkets, major distributors, restaurants, hotels and individuals alike.
Haast is located in the heart of Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Area and boasts an impressive array of activities, including walks, guided nature tours, helicopter flights, jet boat rides, river safaris and fishing. The area’s landscapes are simply stunning, with empty shingle beaches, dunes, lakes and wetlands set amongst the backdrop of the impressive Southern Alps.