What are the Unmissable Things to Do in Hokitika?
Situated on the West Coast of the South Island is the cool little town of Hokitika. There’s more to this town than meets the eye, as it’s home to one of the best sunsets in New Zealand, greenstone carving, milky blue rivers and more walks than you can shake a stick at! There are so many things to do in Hokitika, but if you have limited time here then these are the Hokitika must-dos you can’t miss!
Out of all the amazing things to do in Hokitika we have reduced it down to just five solid activities that are definitely worth doing if you have limited time and/or budget in Hokitika. You’ll find that Hokitika is more than just a pit stop on the West Coast so book yourself some accommodation, stick around and have a blast!
1. Watch the Sunset on Hokitika Beach
If there’s only one place you’re going to watch the sunset in New Zealand, it has to be on Hokitika Beach! On a clear night, sunsets are fiery and vivid – a real spectacle of nature! What’s more, the Hokitika driftwood sign makes a great photo opportunity to go along with the sunset.
Location: Hokitika Beach
2. Visit Hokitika Gorge
Another awesome spectacle of nature has to be Hokitika Gorge. The milky blue waters contrasting with the lush green forest around it just doesn’t seem real yet, somehow it totally is! After a gravel road excursion, it’s just a 15-minute walk down to the river below the iconic Hokitika Gorge swing bridge! Take insect repellent if you plan to stay there a while. For more walks in and near Hokitika, check out 23 Unforgettable Walks in Hokitika.
Location: Hokitika Gorge is 33km out of Hokitika. Take the Kaniere Road which becomes the Kaniere-Kowhitirangi Road east of Hokitika. The road will turn to a gravel road where you’ll need to turn left into Johnston Road, right into Nielson Road, and left into Whitcombe Valley Road.
3. Carve Your Own Greenstone
Hokitika is also known as a “Jade Country” because of a great deal of jade/greenstone/pounamu that is found in the area. Because of this, Hokitika has become a hub for greenstone. Not only can you watch master carvers at work in a number of greenstone stores in Hokitika, but you can also actually carve your own greenstone pendant! It makes the perfect New Zealand souvenir! Have a look for greenstone on the beach to carve yourself (otherwise, carving studios have plenty of their own), and get some inspiration for your designs with this greenstone pendant guide.
Carve with Bonz ‘N’ Stonz or Lake Mahinapua Hotel.
4. Visit Lake Kaniere
Walking, camping, mountain biking or just plain old relaxing in a remarkable landscape: Lake Kaniere is a pristine dose of wilderness that you’re going to want to check out while in Hokitika. There are a number of short walks and day walks that we list in 23 Unforgettable Walks in Hokitika where you can get some stunning reflections on the lake. One more tip: this is the other Hokitika location that looks wildly beautiful at sunset.
Location: Head east out of Hokitika on the Kaniere Road for 19km. Where the road meets the lake you can either go right to Sunny Bight for some walks or left down Dorothy Falls Road toward a waterfall walk and campsite.
5. Take the Treetop Walkway
So there are many walks in New Zealand (and many which are free) but for a truly unique perspective of the New Zealand native forest, take the West Coast Treetop Walk. A high-rise walkway loops around an ancient rainforest with opportunities to spot birdlife that spend most of their time high in the forest canopy. You’ll also get some great views of the surrounding lakes and all the way out to the Tasman Sea from atop the 40m tower!
Location: 17km from Hokitika. Take State Highway 6 south for about 15km then turn onto Woodstock-Rimu Road where the walkway is well signposted.