A true photogenic gem — brilliant turquoise water fringed with stark white limestone cliffs and lush green rainforest — Hokitika Gorge is one of the West Coast’s most instantly recognisable scenes.
It’s also one of the easiest to access. An easy, well-formed forest trail leads to this visual feast representing nature’s most glorious colour palette.
Hokitika Gorge is a photogenic gem of turquoise waters, white granite cliffs and lush green forest.
Ice, water, rock and age-old natural forces helped create the visual beauty of the Hokitika Gorge.
Glaciers ground the fine rock sediment that adds the essential element for highlighting the super blue-green water and helped work its way through the white granite bedrock. A clear blue West Coast sky helps enhance those colours but any day is a beautiful day at Hokitika Gorge.
These same glacial waters also carry precious pounamu (New Zealand jade/greenstone) from the mountains down to the sea. It’s one of several river sources around Hokitika making this cool little town the pounamu capital of the world.
A gentle walkway through rainforest leads to several viewpoints over the stunning Hokitika Gorge.
Everybody’s highlight destination, the Hokitika Gorge Walk offers the West Coast’s easiest, most scenically satisfying experience, accessible right through the seasons, rain and shine.
It’s an easy stroll following the trail (2 km / 1 hr loop) through mature forest along the banks of the Hokitika River and to the sheer rocky gorge flowing with extraordinarily turquoise blue water. Other highlights include an impressive 90 m swing bridge across the river, several viewpoints with spectacular views, curving boardwalks and access down to a small beach.
The beautifully-formed walkway (2 km / 1 hr loop) is pushchair and child-friendly, and the first section (50 m / 4 min walk) is smooth enough for wheelchair-access to great views from the first viewing platform.
Beautiful carved pounamu — New Zealand jade — from Hokitika ‘the pounamu capital’ and home to many accomplished artists.
Hokitika Gorge is just one reason to visit Hokitika. This quirky little town, sitting pretty on the banks of the river and beside the mighty Tasman Sea, is a hub of creativity, where larger-than-life driftwood sculptures populate the wild beach and glorious sunsets complete the day.
Visit the workshops of pounamu, bone and glass artists or fossick for precious pounamu pebbles on the beach. A friendly little town with impressively wide streets harking back to gold rush days, Hokitika boasts a full range of accommodation and hospitality.
Out of town scenic highlights include luscious lakes — Kaniere and Mahinapua, the historic West Coast waterways and a tree top walkway experience. Hokitika is an important hub for cyclists on the West Coast Wilderness Trail.
Photo stop while crossing the 90 metre suspension bridge over the Hokitika Gorge.
Hokitika is on SH6, an easy 30-minute drive south of Greymouth and 1 hr 45 min north of Franz Josef. Tours to the gorge operate from Hokitika.
The Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve is a 33 km (30 min) drive east from Hokitika.
Tranquil Lake Brunner, largest lake on the West Coast, is a popular family holiday spot and a world-class trout fishing destination.
Haast is the gateway to the remote and untouched conservation jewel, Te Wāhipounamu UNESCO World Heritage Area.
Experience extraordinary limestone arches and caves, whisky coloured wilderness rivers and lush rainforest in Kahurangi National Park.
Discover New Zealand’s twin glaciers and most diverse alpine to coastal landscape.
Follow the stunning Great Coast Road, one of the world’s Top 10 Coastal Drives, to the incredible Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.