Hokitika, gateway to the South Westland World Heritage Area, is on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island.
Driving to Hokitika
Far from being isolated, road access to Hokitika is spectacular from all directions. Highways run through National Parks, Scenic Reserves and World Heritage mountains, coastlines and gorges.
Here is some good information about driving in NZ in winter.
The drive from Christchurch via Arthur's Pass is only a 3 1/2 hour drive.
Take the Lewis Pass then the Great Coast Road from Westport to Hokitika - deemed one of the Top 10 Coastal Drives in the World by Lonely Planet.
Relax and enjoy the scenery with coach and shuttle services that operate daily to Hokitika from Christchurch, Nelson, Picton and Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier.
Flying to Hokitika
There are up to five flights a day with AirNZ from Christchurch to Hokitika, picking up international and national connections.
TranzAlpine Rail Journey
The TranzAlpine Rail Journey from Christchurch, with a bus connection at Greymouth for the last leg to Hokitika, has been named as one of the 6 top train rides in the world. It is an experience in itself.
Hokitika has a small, walkable town centre. It is also located right next to the beach and river so you don't need a car to enjoy the many retail experiences and some beautiful scenery. There is a local taxi service.
There are many amazing places to visit within easy driving distance of Hokitika. Lake Mahinapua is only 10 minutes drive south of Hokitika and a little further on is the West Coast Treetop Walkway. Lake Kaniere is a 20 minutes drive inland. Hokitika Gorge is a 45 minute drive inland and well worth it to see the surreal turquoise waters. There are shuttle and tour services available. See the local iSite for information.
If you want to access any of the West Coast Wilderness Trail, an easy cycle trail, there is a shuttle service available for you and your bikes.
There are several scenic attractions in Hokitika and its surrounds.
- Hokitika Driftwood Sign - this iconic sign located near the town centre on the beach is a must do photo stop.
- Sunset Point - a picture perfect spot to watch the sunset over the Tasman Sea
- Lake Kaniere - a scenic reserve 20 east of Hokitika surrounded by mountains and offering boating, kayaking, swimming, picnicking and walks.
- Hokitika Gorge - the turquoise colour of the water has to be seen to be believed. A 45 minute drive from Hokitika on the Hokitika River. Great views of the Gorge from two lookouts and a swingbridge. You can walk to the edge of the water too.
- Lake Mahinapua - a scenic reserve 10 minutes south of Hokitika, offering picturesque views of the mountains. Swimming, picnicking and walks.
- Walk the Points of Interest Loop - this is a self-guided walk around the town centre that features public art, unique Take-a-Seat artseats and historical monuments and buildings.
- Wildfoods Festival, . Annual food festival displaying foods that range from the begnin, to the absolute wildest (paua titties (roe), bull, lamb and goat testicles) you could consider. Held the second Saturday in March.
- Visit the Glowworm Cave, Located just at the northern entrance to town. best viewed at night, it is an easy, very short walk. Bring a flashlight.
- Search for Some Jade, Hokitika is the birthplace of Pounamu/NZ Jade. You can watch the carvers at work at one of the many local pounamu galleries, you can search for it along the beach or even try carving some yourself.
- Hokitika Gorge, . Visit the surreal Hokitika Gorge. You have to see the turquoise colour of it to believe it. A 45 minute drive from Hokitika. edit
- Lake Kaniere, . 19kms inland from Hokitika. It is a popular spot for swimming, picnicking, water skiing, kayaking, fishing, walking and mountain biking. Arguably one of the countries most beautiful lakes, it is located in a scenic reserve surrounded on three sides by mountains that are capped in snow during winter. edit
- Lake Mahinapua, . A tranquil lake 10kms south of Hokitika. Once a coastal lagoon it is a lovely place for a swim, the water is surprisingly warm. Families love it as there is a suitable wading area for young children and bigger kids love jumping off the jetty or launching a canoe to explore. Fishing is best done from a boat, with perch and brown trout plentiful. edit
- Try West Coast Whitebait, . Try your hand at netting some whitebait. Or relax and taste this local delicacy at one of the many cafes in town. edit
- Experience the Local History, . Hokitika has a rich history based around gold and timber. There is an easy local heritage walk along with a museum, guided tour and many of the nature walks feature historic relics. edit
- Hokitika Glass Studio, Town Centre: 9 Weld Street, ☎ 0064-3-7557775. 9am-5pm - 7 days a week. A wonderful and unique opportunity to purchase some skillfully created glass art whilst watching the glassblowers. Visit www.hokitikaglass.co.nz edit
- Wilderness Gallery, 29 Tancred Street, ☎ 0064-3-7557575, . 9am-5pm. A fresh, contemporary gallery located in the heart of Hokitika. the perfect place to discover the Colours of the West Coast. Stunning Photography, unique giftware by handpicked NZ artists. Highly recommended on www.tripadvisor.com edit
- Sweet Alice's Fudge Kitchen, 27 Tancred Street. Handmade fudge, real fruit ice creams served in handmade waffle cones, hardboiled sweets, homemade fruit jams and sumptuous soaps. edit
- Kaniere Empire Hotel, 289 Kaniere Road, ☎ 037558443. Located just 5 minutes drive from the mai Then centre of Hokitika on the road to The beautiful Lake Kaniere and Scenic Hokitika Gorge . From $35pp. edit
- Riverview Cabins, 154 Kaniere Road, 64 3 755 7440.
- Teichelmann's Bed & Breakfast, 20 Hamilton St, NZ Free phone 0800 743 742, 64 3 755 8232, 64 3 755 8239, . From NZ$115-180, including continental breakfast.
- Stumpers Bar & Cafe, Accommodation, 2 Weld Street (Corner of Revell Street), ☎ 0800 STUMPERS (788 673) NZ only, . Accommodation and dining. Room options range from Shared Bunk Rooms for the budget conscious to Premium Rooms. On site bar and cafe. edit
- Fox Glacier. 2.5 hours drive south on State Highway 6. Fox Glacier is the biggest and less crowded West Coast glacier.
- Franz Josef Glacier. Two hours drive
- Punakaiki Blowholes. An hour and a half drive
- Shantytown. 20 minutes drive