The current growth and future potential of Hokitika’s West Coast Scenic Waterways has seen the company take out the Rising Star award at the 2018 Development West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards.
Cindy and Gavin Hopper own the ecotourism business at the beautiful Mahinapua Waterways.
They offer accommodation, cruises, bike hire, and freedom kayaking along the original routes used by pioneers, gold diggers, and early explorers, allowing guests to cruise, stay, and play in a paradise setting rich in history.
The business started close to three years ago with the waterway cruises, then the following year the couple added a home-based bed and breakfast option on their 100-acre property where the Mahinapua Creek joins the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail, to cater for a growing number of cyclists on the trail.
“We’re now shutting down our listings on booking.com and Airbnb to focus on cyclejourneys.co.nz and other cycleway operators which bring large, value added groups,” Cindy says.
“We could double or triple our accommodation and have no problem filling it.”
West Coast Scenic Waterways’ clients are currently mostly cyclists, a large proportion domestic and aged between 55 and 80.
They tend to rest from their cycle journey with Cindy and Gavin and take a cruise in the evening.
West Coast Scenic Waterway’s Eco Adventurer double decker boat, skippered by Gavin, is perfect for viewing and photography.
The Mahinapua Wetlands, a whitebait sanctuary, borders Cindy and Gavin’s property, and the couple have recently applied for a DOC grant to repair its riparian strip, revitalise its plants, and create board-walks with information plaques about the wetlands.
Other plans include a new boat house, to be called ‘The Waterman’ after the men who ferried passengers to the goldfields on canoes and paddle steamers back in the 1860’s.
The boat house will be an interactive centre, providing up to a couple of hours of activity for guests so in the case of bad weather, there will be something indoors to do.
“Not only will it give us a good, trendy base to work from, it means we’ll also be able to feed our clients here,” Cindy said.And moving forward, this is also part of the expansion plans.
“One of our projected projects after the boathouse is to start offering Paddock to Plate. Our clients are very health conscious because they’re into outdoor activity, and they’re looking for quality food.”
The Hoppers’ 100 acres includes their own herd of cattle, a large orchard with a 3m fence for protection, and the veggie garden will be expanded closer to the time.
Cindy and Gavin have been in Hokitika for 18 years and have a real passion for their stunning backyard.
Cindy is part of Heritage West Coast on the West Coast Wilderness Trail Trust and will soon be travelling to China to represent Tourism West Coast and promote the region and the waterways business.
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