Hokitika Gorge 1
Short breaks

Four ways to enjoy a short Hokitika holiday

Hokitika Gorge

Brilliant winter breaks and staycations

Famous for wild foods and sand sculptures, Hokitika is a cool little town with literary and movie star style that helped inspire ‘The Luminaries’.

Locals love it here, and visitors are quick to pick up the vibe – they voted it one of New Zealand’s most welcoming towns in booking.com’s annual Traveller Review Awards 2022 edition.

Never been there yet? Well it’s time, so why not make it now – winter is a brilliant time to sample some of Hokitika’s best. Here are four ways to make a break in Hokitika.

Wilderness Trail Family Bike Ride Wilderness Trail Family Bike Ride
West Coast Wilderness Trail

A great place for memorable cycle adventures with the whole family.

Hokitika family break

Between a rocky, driftwood-laden sea shore, a deep flowing river and snow-capped mountains — you may spot Aoraki/Mt. Cook popping out into a clear blue sky — nature goes wild at Hokitika.

Your kids (all ages) will have mighty adventures in this wild landscape where there’s room to let their imaginations run riot. Go beachcombing for pounamu and build a bonfire on the beach. Ride the Mud Fish model railway at Westland Industrial Heritage Park or take the bikes out for a spin on the Wilderness Trail towards the historic Mahinapua Tramline over the wetlands and across a heritage bridge. Stop off at the West Coast Treetops Walkway for some fun on the tandem zipline.   

For a fascinating wet day activity, visit the National Kiwi Centre for a close-up (no glass) on a couple of national icons, regular eel feeding sessions and the chance to catch (and release) a freshwater koura. He’s not an exhibit but, if you meet ex-gold miner and Kiwi Centre owner Terry during your visit, he’ll entertain you with passionate tales about wildlife, gold mining and local history.  

By night, the lights are always bright at Hokitika’s famous Glowworm Dell. For the very little ones, there are a couple of good children’s playgrounds in town, too.

STAY: Hokitika Kiwi Holiday Park & Hokitika Holiday Park are both family-run, family-friendly holiday parks with plenty of accommodation choices.

EAT: Hokitika Sandwich Co. (where sandwich is king), & Fat Pipi Pizzas (try the famous whitebait pizza). 

SHOP: The kids will love Red Streetwear, or visit William Steyn’s workshop for clever, hand-painted stone art (fun for all ages).

Hokitika Beach Couple Hokitika Beach Couple
Sunset Beach - Hokitika

The iconic drift wood sculpture is a great spot to catch a West Coast sunset.

Hokitika couple’s break

Who needs a cruise to put the romance back into your life when you can wake up to the roar of the ocean, marvel at stupendous sunsets and go to bed under exceptional night skies on the beachfront at Hokitika? 

Check into the Beachfront Hotel Hokitika for a cosy, romantic séjour. You’ll have all the comforts of a contemporary hotel, dining included, with stunning seaside views and your feet just a few steps away from the sand. Relax, refresh and re-energise with a walk on the rugged, wild beachscape or dip into town for a little retail therapy in the many art galleries and boutiques. The Gold Room, specialising in jewellery crafted from locally-found gold nuggets, is the place for an extra special gift. 

Dine in at the Oceanview restaurant, eat out around town or take in a film at the Regent – the local arthouse cinema. Discover the sparkling blue turquoise waters of the Hokitika Gorge with a short drive and a lovely rainforest walk. Close to the gorge, from Precision Helicopters base, take off with Matt (pilot to the stars) on a spectacular scenic flight experience featuring six different glaciers.  

STAY: Beachfront Hotel Hokitika, or luxe it up in 5-star country style at Rimu Lodge.

EAT: Oceanview Restaurant (eat in), or dine out at Station’s Inn (5 mins from town).

SHOP: The Gold Room, Hokitika Craft Gallery for something special.

Hokitika Glass.jpg Hokitika Glass.jpg
Hokitika Glass Studio

Meet the makers and experience quirky and authentic crafts.

Hokitika arts and retail therapy break

Small but perfectly formed of extra wide streets and heritage buildings recalling a golden past, Hokitika is bursting with creative energy. Artists are drawn to this raw, natural palette and, with around 35 to 40 professional artists and crafts people either living in town or nearby, you’ll find many open workshops and arty shops to explore.

To get a feel for this place, follow the signs along the self-guided Town Centre Loop history and culture walk (easy, 1-2 hours, starts at the isite visitor centre) or take a guided Hokitika History Walk with Ann (1.5 hr walk, book at the isite) who brings the historic gold rush era townscape to life with her stories. Leave yourself plenty of time to wander the streets and visit the little boutiques and artist studios to meet some friendly locals. 

The Arahura River, just north of town, is one of the major sources of pounamu / New Zealand jade. Visit one of several shops selling beautiful greenstone, such as hapu-operated Waewae Pounamu, and watch carving in progress at Westland Greenstone or second-generation, family-owned Traditional Jade. Create you own pounamu treasure at Bonz n Stonz carving studio. Around town look out for the in-house glassblowers working at Hokitika Glass Studio, and a trail of quirky little maker boutiques selling everything from socks (Sock World) to luxuriously soft possum merino goods from The Possum People.

STAY:  Experience local hospitality at adults-only Awatuna Sunset Lodge, or heritage style at Teichelmanns B&B.

EAT: Regent Theatre Cafe (best counter food in town), breakfast, lunch or dinner at new-in-town Thatcher & Small.

SHOP: Photographic art at Wilderness Gallery, arty gifts at Hokitika Craft Gallery and giftware at Sunshinz, or drop in on the stone weavers at Stonemats.

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail
West Coast Wilderness Trail

From ocean to native bush, water ways and mountains.

Hokitika active break

Perfectly placed for an active break, Hokitika comes with a whole range of action choices. It’s a major stopping off centre on the popular West Coast Wilderness Trail – 133 km of mostly off-road, easy level cycling between Greymouth and Ross. BYO or hire a bike (Kiwi Journeys, Cycle Journeys) and try the beautiful trails; back into town starting from luscious Lake Kaniere, or 33 km down the coast to Ross Beach.  

On the Wilderness Trail, just south of town at Mahinapua Creek, the sublime West Coast Scenic Waterways offer a tranquil location for watery adventures. Take a slow guided cruise or freedom or guided paddle (single or tandem kayaks) down through the tree-lined old waterways to Lake Mahinapua. Just around the other side of the lake, you stroll or zipline through the treetops at the West Coast Treetop Walkway. 

The rivers around Hokitika have stories to tell as well. At Goldsborough, just north of town and inland from Awatuna, you can try your luck in an historic gold mining spot where public fossicking is still allowed. Hire or buy a gold pan in town. Fossick for pounamu on the beaches or go on a guided cultural tour exploring the Arahura River with local Māori guides Te Rua & Sons Pounamu Trails

STAY: Hokitika Firestation (boutique apartments with bike storage facilities)

EAT:  Great pub grub at Woodstock Hotel, and Stumpers (7 am until late)

SHOP: Box of Delights for little treats (post-activity); historic Addison's Clothing has been trading since 1886.

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