Where to Walk and Hike in Hokitika
Hokitika is a budget traveller’s dream; 23 free walks! You don’t have to pay for any skydives or bungy jumps to enjoy the surrounds of this West Coast town. Make the most of your stay by exploring the walking and mountain bike trails. One evening you could be watching the sunset across the ocean from the driftwood scattered Hokitika Beach. The next day you could be standing on top of Mt Brown or Mt Tuhua looking over to Aoraki Mt Cook and the rest of the Southern Alps. You even have a choice of two forested scenic reserves surrounding reflective lakes. Trust us, you won’t get bored. There’s a choice of short walks to points of interest like Dorothy Falls and the Hokitika Gorge, half-day walks around Lake Kaniere and Lake Mahinapua, and full-day mountainous hikes. We have them all listed here!
For more information on Hokitika, head to 6 Reasons Why Hokitika is Such a “Cool Little Town” and 10 Awesome Things to Do in Hokitika.
1. Hokitika Gorge Swingbridge
Arguably the most scenic swingbridge in New Zealand! Below is the milky blue pools of Hokitika Gorge. This is an easy 15-minute return to the swingbridge. There is also a wheelchair-accessible route 5 minutes from the car park.
Location: 25km (15.5 miles) east of Hokitika at the end of Kowhitirangi Road and Whitcombe Road.
2. Mananui Bush and Beach Walk
Take an easy stroll through a sand dune forest and driftwood beach in the Lake Mahinapua Scenic Reserve. The walk is a 20-minute return.
Location: 9km (5.6 miles) south of Hokitika just off State Highway 6.
3. Hokitika Beach
Strictly speaking, this isn’t a signposted walk, but it is well worth a stroll on the beach to see the driftwood art, mountain views and black sand. The best time to visit is at sunset or at night to stargaze! Keep an eye out for greenstone too by following the tips in 10 Tips to Find Greenstone in Hokitika.
Location: Access Beach Street from Weld Lane and Sunset Point Road.
4. Canoe Cove Rimu Forest Walk
A 15-minute walk through rimu forest leads to a swimming hole and picnic spot amongst the trees.
Location: Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve opposite Milltown Road.
5. Dorothy Falls
This 2-minute walk is to the best waterfall in the area… That might be because it’s the only one.
Location: Car park by the bridge at Dorothy Falls Road on the eastern side of the lake. Find out more on the Department of Conservation (DOC) website.
6. Londonderry Rock
Walk in the footsteps of the gold miners of the Kumara area. This easy 15-minute return track takes you to the huge Londonderry Rock: a glacier-deposited boulder too big for the miners to move.
Location: 1km (0.6 miles) east of Kumara off State Highway 73.
7. Goldsborough (Shamrock) Track
A lengthier track in the Hokitika area, this 4-hour one-way hike through a historic gold mining region is complete with tunnels. You’ll also get your fix of the forest, don’t you worry!
Location: Starts from the Goldsborough Campsite and the end of Callaghans Road.
8. The Glow-worm Dell
Want to see some glowworms? This is an easily accessible free viewing of the glowworms. Bring a torch and visit at night!
Location: On the roadside at the northern town entrance.
9. Sunset Point
An especially epic sunset vantage point is at the aptly named Sunset Point. Not only will you see the sunset over the ocean, but there are also views over to the Southern Alps and New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook.
Location: Access by walking along the beach or by Sunset Point Road.
10. German Gully Pack Track and Goff Track
This 1h30min loop is a combination of historic mining remnants and regrowing native bush.
Location: Start at Goldsborough campsite and follow the German Gully Track. At Scandinavian Hill Road, turn north and return on the Goffs Track and part of the Goldsborough Track.
11. Lake Kaniere Walkway
Lush forest, lush lake, lush mountain views, lush bays: just lush! This walk is 4 hours one way and is suitable for mountain bikes.
Location: Start from the car park south of the southern end of Lake Kaniere. Ends at Sunny Bight at the northern end of the lake.
12. Prossers Bush Walk
It may just be a 10-minute return walk but this walk amongst the kahikatea forest is an insight into what the whole Hokitika township used to look like.
Location: From the car park at Town Belt East.
13. Tunnel Terrace Loop Walk
Just like the name suggests, this walk involves delving into gold mining tunnels on a 20-minute loop walk.
Location: Just off the Stafford-Goldsborough roadside.
14. Kahikatea Forest Walk
This is a 10-minute walk from the pretty Sunny Bight picnic area through the forest. The track is wheelchair accessible.
Location: Sunny Bight, Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve.
15. Mt Tuhua Track
Now we’re on to the hardcore hikes! This 7-hour return trip takes you to the mountain tops for awesome views of the Southern Alps, Lake Kaniere, the coast and Hokitika.
Location: Access from Dorothy Falls Road, south of Hans Bay.
16. Kaniere Water Race Walkway
Follow the Kaniere Forks power station water-race through the forest on this 3-4-hour one-way track. However, there is a 1-hour option by taking The Landing to Wards Road. This track is also open to mountain bikes.
Location: Start from the car park at The Landing on the northern end of Lake Kaniere. End at Kennedy Creek near the Kaniere Forks Power Station.
17. Mt Brown Track
This is a harder track than the Mt Tuhua track (see above). The 4-hour climb up to the Mt Brown Hut is a rewarding hike with stunning views.
Location: Off Dorothy Falls Road, south of Dorothy Falls on the south bank of Geologist Creek.
18. Rimu Lookout
This easy 1-hour loop track has pleasing scenery of the Hokitika Valley. Plus, you can learn about the gold mining history of the area on the displays.
Location: 4km (2.5 miles) over the Kaniere Bridge at the car park at Rimu Hill.
19. Blue Spur Bush Walk
This is a 1h30min loop following the road of the old Chinese gold mining days while native forest continues to regenerate around it.
Location: Start from the car park off Blue Spur Road.
20. Bellbird Walk
A 10-minute loop walk giving a snippet of sand dune forest and a dredge pond.
Location: Southern end of the Lake Mahinapua Scenic Reserve campsite.
21. Jum Michel Track
Forest and old sandy dunes can be enjoyed on this 20-minute one-way walk.
Location: Take the lake access road and end near the campsite, Lake Mahinapua Scenic Reserve.
22. Mananui Tramline (Mahinapua Walkway)
This 2-hour one-way track follows an old logging tramway through native forest. It’s worth taking the 40-minute detour to the lakeside. This track is also open for cyclists.
Location: 8km (5 miles) south of Hokitika on State Highway 6.
23. Ross Water-race Walkway
More gold mining relics; more ways to stretch your legs. This is a 1-hour loop following the Mt Greenland Road to Jones Creek and back following the water-race and through old Ross Cemetery.
Location: Ross Visitor Centre, Ross Historic Goldfields.