Top 10 Things To Do in Hokitika

The West Coast town of Hokitika in the South Island is one of New Zealand's hidden gems, it's a cool little town on the edge of the Tasman Sea with a temperate rainforest climate, unique to the rest of the South Island. Founded as a gold mining town back in the gold-rush days, Hokitika is famous for its pounamu (greenstone), whitebait, it's mining history, and it's sparsely populated wild scenery. Here is a list of Hokitika attractions voted amongst the best things to do in Hokitika.

1 Hokitika Gorge Walk
Hokitika Gorge Walk

Image credit: shaunjeffers / Adobe Stock

For an easy short walk with stunning scenery, the Hokitika Gorge walk is a perfect mini adventure. About a 40-minute scenic drive from Hokitika, the walk itself, only takes about 15 minutes. The walking track takes you through classic West Coast native bush and over a suspension bridge where you'll see the incredible turquoise waters of the Hokitika river as it winds its way through the rocks of the Hokitika Gorge. The remarkable colour of the water is what makes this walk so popular.
  • Prices: Free
  • Duration: 15 minutes walking time
  • Times: Daytime
  • Best time: Any time as long as the weather is good
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions
2 The National Kiwi Centre
In the heart of Hokitika, The National Kiwi Centre offers the opportunity to see the endangered and very special national icon, the Kiwi, along will lots of other native creatures, including the tuatara, which has been around since the dinosaur age - so they're pretty special too!  There is a large aquarium with lots to see, you can also feed and pat giant eels, many of which are 85 to 100 years old. The centre is lots of fun for kids and very informative, with lots of information about New Zealand's native species and conservation projects.
  • Prices: Adults - $24; Children - $14; Seniors - $21 (60+ years); Students - $21; Family - $58 (2 adults and their children).
  • Times: Summer season - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Winter season 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eel feeding times: 10 a.m., 12 noon and 3 p.m. daily (except Mondays).
  • Best time: All year
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions
3 Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve
Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve

Image credit: Eric Middelkoop / Adobe Stock

Lake Kaniere is famed as one of the most beautiful and serene lakes in the country. In the warmer months, it's a great place for a refreshing swim and is a popular spot for kayaking and fishing.  There are lots of excellent picnic spots and various walkways around the Lake Kaniere, including some fantastic short walks. A great way to explore Lake Kaniere and the beautiful west coast forest, the walk to Dorothy Falls is only about two minutes one way through the native bush to the very pretty Dorothy Falls (a good swimming spot). Continue a few minutes further around the walking track to the reach the shores of the Lake.
  • Prices: Free
  • Duration: 15 minutes - 7 hours
  • Times: Always open
  • Best time: Any time as long as the weather is good.
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions
4 West Coast Treetop Walk & Cafe
West Coast Treetop Walk & Cafe

Image credit: Iain / Adobe Stock

Located 15 minutes south of Hokitika next to Lake Mahinapua, the West Coast Treetop Walk is a stunning treetop adventure amongst the native forest canopy of ancient Rimu and Kamahi trees. Look down on the spectacular giant ferns from above as you stroll through the suspended forest canopy walkway. The Hokitika tower allows you to climb 40 metres above the forest floor and take in the panoramic views of the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. There is an excellent cafe on site where you'll find great coffee and food on offer. The cafe is open from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (2 p.m. in winter)
  • Prices: Treetop walk prices: Adults - $32; Students - $29; Seniors (60+ years) - $29; Children (5-15) - $16; Family (2 x 2) - $77
  • Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Times: Summer - 9 a.m. –4:15 p.m. (last Sunday in September to first Saturday in May); Winter - 9 a.m.– 3:15 p.m. (first Sunday in May to last Saturday in September).
  • Best time: Any time as long as the weather is good
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions. Supervision required.
5 Glow Worm Dell
Glow Worm Dell

Image credit: Guy / Adobe Stock

A visit to the Glow Worm Dell is a short adventure that must be done after dark. Take a torch (facing the ground) with you and discover one of the best and easiest ways to see glowworms in New Zealand. At the northern edge of the town, this famous glowworm grotto is very easy to access. It's a short, but charming adventure into this leafy grotto inhabited my tons of glowworms emitting their surreal blue/white light into the darkness - a must-do if you're in the area.
  • Prices: Free
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Times: Always open
  • Best time: After dark, any time as long as the weather is good.
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions. Supervision required.
6 Scenic Air Tour with Wilderness Wings
Discover New Zealand's most dramatic alpine scenery on a scenic air tour with Wilderness Wings. Enjoy epic mountain views including the famous Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and Mt Cook/Aoraki the highest mountain in New Zealand. Flights depart daily from Hokitika and include in-flight commentary by highly experienced pilots.
  • Prices: Adults - $385 (minimum 2 per flight); Children - $250
  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Times: Online booking
  • Best time: After dark, any time as long as the weather is good.
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions. Supervision required.
7 Hokitika Museum
Hokitika Museum

Image credit: Schwede66 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

The Hokitika Museum is the place to discover local history, with exhibitions that tell the stories of the gold-rush, whitebaiting, the tangata whenua, pounamu (greenstone) and lots of interesting information about the Westland area. Located in the historic Carnegie Building, the Hokitika Museum is renowned for its excellent staff who are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge of their town, and its rich history. The Museum is free and open 7 days.
  • Prices: $2.50 - $5
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Times: Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week. Winter hours (from 1st May to 31st October) are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 7 days a week. The Archives & Research Centre is open by appointment.
  • Best time: All year
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions
8 The Hokitika Wild Foods Festival
The Hokitika Wild Foods Festival

Photo and information by Wild Foods

An annual event, the Hokitika Wild Foods Festival is held on the second Saturday of March and is perhaps one of the most famous Hokitika attractions. The Hokitika Wild Foods Festival is an adventurous foodie’s playground. The event is all about sampling wacky and weird ingredients, expect to try anything from seagull eggs to huhu beetle grubs and beyond.  On the subject of food in Hokitika, Fat Pipi Pizza comes highly recommended for its delicious handmade pizza (any time of the year) - especially the waitbait pizza which is a pizza version of the famous whitebait patty, a kiwi delicacy.
  • Prices: Tickets available September 2019. Check website for more information.
  • Times: Festival will be held on 7th of March 2020
  • Best time: March
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions
9 Hokitika Beach
Hokitika Beach

Image credit: Patrik Stedrak / Adobe Stock

Explore this wild west coast beach famous for its driftwood sculptures, an excellent place for some beach combing.  Look out to the Tasman sea and watch the rugged surf as you stroll along, check out the shipwreck and fossick for unusually shaped driftwood and perhaps you'll chance upon some greenstone. You'll find coffee vans and eateries and don't forget to take a selfie with the famous driftwood Hokitika sign.
  • Prices: Free
  • Duration: All day
  • Times: Always open
  • Best time: January
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions
10 Go Shopping for Mementos of Your Trip
Go Shopping for Mementos of Your Trip

Photo and information by Wilderness Gallery

Hokitika is the home of some excellent arts and crafts stores, featuring unique New Zealand treasures to take home to family and friends or as a memento of your trip to Aotearoa. As Hokitika is known as the Greenstone capital of New Zealand, it's the perfect place to stock up on pounamu (greenstone). Bonz "N Stonz is a great place to pick up authentic greenstone carved pendants, and you can even carve your own. The Wilderness gallery is a highly-rated gallery that features stunning photography by local artist Juergen Schacke along with other arts and crafts. It's considered one of the best places to find souvenirs that capture the spirit of Hokitika.
  • Prices: Free
  • Duration: During business hours
  • Times: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Best time: All year
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions

Share

Top 10 Things To Do in Hokitika
+