township in the West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island

Hokitika's iconic driftwood sculpture

Hokitika, gateway to the South Westland World Heritage National Park, is on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island.

Get inEdit

  • Hokitika is about three hours' drive from Christchurch via State Highway 73 over scenic Arthur's Pass; it's worth stopping at Arthur's Pass National Park HQ, enjoying the views, and keeping an eye out for kea.
  • 1 Hokitika Airport (HKK IATA). Air New Zealand flies from Christchurch every day.    

Get aroundEdit

Hokitika is small enough that you can see most things on foot. The majority are around the old main street, Revell Street, which was laid out by an amateur town planner during Gold Rush days to follow the sand dunes, and is notably kinked (it's known as the "Crooked Mile").

Map of Hokitika

SeeEdit

 
Hokitika Gorge
  • 1 Glowworm Dell. Located just off the main highway north of Hokitika, visit this dell at night to be surrounded by sparkling glowworms. They're about a minute walk in from the road, and while the path is dark, using a bright torch will make some of the glowworms turn off. The light of a phone screen is totally enough to see by.
  • 2 Hokitika Gorge (33 km east of Hokitika). Some thirty minutes away from the town by car. Cross a swingbridge over stunning blue waters, on the 15 minute walk through forest to a viewing platform.
  • 3 The National Kiwi Centre, 64 Tancred St, Hokitika, +64 3 755 5251. summer 9AM–5PM; winter 9:30AM–4:30PM. An aquarium and kiwi house. Given that kiwis are so elusive, a kiwi house such as this is likely to be your only chance to see one in real life. You can also take part in feeding the giant eels which are approximately 85 to 100 years old, and learn a lot about them in the process. adult $26.
  • 4 Hokitika Museum, 47 Revell St, +64 3 755 6898, . Housed in a striking former Carnegie public library, the Museum closed for seismic strengthening in September 2019, and is expected to reopen in late 2020–early 2021. Until the strengthing work starts, a small display on the history of the building is sometimes open.  
  • 5 Westland Industrial Heritage Park, Industrial Road. Volunteer run museum, with large machines in working order including sawmill engines, fire engines and tractors.

DoEdit

  • Wildfoods Festival. Annual food festival serving foods that range from the benign to the absolute wildest (paua titties (roe), bull, lamb and goat testicles) you could consider. Usually held in March.
  • Carve some greenstone (jade).
  • 1 West Coast Treetop Walkway, 1128 Woodstock-Rimu Road, toll-free: 0508 8733 8677 (TREETOPS). Oct–Apr 9AM – 4:15PM; May–Sep 9AM – 3:15PM. Walk along a 450m long steel platform at tree-top height (20m off the ground). Adult $32.
  • 2 West Coast Scenic Waterways (4 km south of Hokitika on SH6, turn left at the sign "Scenic Waterways" before the bridge), +64 274 301 777, . Bike and kayak hire beside the West Coast Wilderness Trail, and a scenic riverboat cruise on the Mahinapua Creek. Also offers cottage B&B accommodation.

BuyEdit

  • Hand blown glass. Watch them make beautiful pieces of glass and then make a few purchases at the Hokitika Glass Works.
  • Pounamu. This nephrite jade is found only on the West Coast, and its harvest and sale is governed by Ngai Tahu. There are a variety of pounamu stores, mainly along Weld and Tancred Streets. Beware some shops selling Canadian jade carved in China - if the price looks too good to be true, it's probably not pounamu. You can see Ngati Waewae carvers in action and buy verified pounamu carvings at Te Waipounamu Maori Heritage Centre, on the corner of Weld & Sewell.
  • 1 Sock World, 93 Revell Street. Buy socks, woollen yard and sock knitting machines. There is also a free museum of sock knitting machines.
 
The white heron or kōtuku (Ardea alba modesta) can be seen in waterways around Hokitika and Lake Mahinapua

EatEdit

  • 1 Hokitika New World, 116 Revell Street. daily 8AM - 9PM. supermarket
  • 2 Four Square, 140 Stafford St. M-F 7AM - 9PM; Sa-Su 8AM - 9PM. small supermarket
  • Fat Pipi Pizza, 89 Revell St, +64 3 755 6373.

DrinkEdit

SleepEdit


Go nextEdit

North:

South:

Routes through Hokitika
Greymouth  N   S  RossFranz Josef Glacier


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