With the thundering Tasman Sea lapping its driftwood-littered beaches, two great rivers, beautiful lakes, tranquil wetlands and the Southern Alps in sight, the Hokitika and adjacent Kumara region is packed with stunning tracks and trails.
Explore the ‘cool little town’ and its arty side then head off out of town to discover the natural wonders of Hokitika Gorge, the Arahura and Hokitika rivers, Lakes Mahinapua and Kaniere, and the storied places where gold miners made (and lost) their fortunes.
Brilliant turquoise waters, swingbridge over limestone gorge, easy forest trail
Unmissable, the Hokitika Gorge is a visual feast of colour — turquoise blue water, white rocks, and forest greens. The easy undulating walk passes several spectacular viewpoints and swing bridges over the river and the gorge carved through brilliant white limestone walls. Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve is 33 kms (30 mins) inland from Hokitika.
Lovely lakeside forest trail, boardwalk across wetlands, historic logging tramline
This flat, easy walk or mountain bike ride, suitable for children, follows an old logging tramline passing beautiful Lake Mahināpua and includes a stunning wetlands crossing on elevated boardwalks. The track forms part of the West Coast Wilderness Trail cycle trail, and there are shorter walks and side trips at either end.
Dense forest, gold mining relics, family-friendly
Short walks from the Lake Mahināpua camping area:
Verdant lakeside forest, pretty bays & swimming beaches, lake views
Walk (or mountain bike) along the western shores of beautiful Lake Kaniere — from Sunny Bight to Dorothy Falls Road — via lush forest, picturesque bays and forest streams. Hans Bay is a popular local swimming spot. For mountain bikers, this is a technical ride on a narrow track with some stairs.
Dense rainforest, crystal blue waters, old-style wire swing bridge
Curiously named, the Cesspool Gorge — on the Arahura River — rivals the Hokitika Gorge in beauty and spectacle. Be prepared for adventure thrills on a rustic track that includes river crossings and boulder hopping, waterfalls and a spectacular gorge filled with exquisite blue water and a safe swimming hole. The Cesspools Walk starts 5 kms from Lake Kaniere, off the West Coast Wilderness Trail cycle route.
Old gold mine workings, a boulder of extraordinary dimensions
A short walking track passing through tailings and old gold mining workings from days gone past to view Londonderry Rock – an impressively massive boulder that survived the mining works because it was too large for miners to move or break. Off SH73, 1 km east of Kumara.
Family friendly, tunnels, old gold mining works
Fun for all the family meandering through old gold workings and via tail-race tunnels following in the footsteps of the old-time gold miners. Walk starts off Stafford Loop Road, about 2 km northwest of the Goldsborough Campsite.
Old gold workings
Climb out of the valley, passing several old gold workings and emerging on the Scandinavian Hill Road. The track starts at the Goldsborough Campsite on Stafford Loop Road and emerges on the Scandinavian Hill Road. Combine this walk with Goff's Track for a 90-min loop walk.