Hokitika - The Cool Little Town



Hokitika Gorge, Hokitika

Outline of New Zealand with the west coast highlighted.

The best of Hokitika - Cool Little Town

Hokitika - Cool Little Town Events

Jan. 27, 2018

Westland A&P Show

The Westland A&P Association is a committee of dedicated volunteers who organise and run the ...
Oct. 21, 2017

Ross Goldtown Fun Run

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The birthplace of Pounamu

Made in the heart of the earth, shaped by countless rivers, carved by master craftsman, Pounamu - also known as New Zealand jade or greenstone - is at the heart of Jade Country. The area teems with galleries due to the large artisan community and also boasts some unique attractions including the "must do" West Coast Treetop Walkway and the Hokitika Gorge. Hokitika is a cool beachside town with two nearby lakes and if you fancy an easy cycle, the new West Coast Wilderness Trail traverses historic trails through the interesting townships of Kumara and Ross via Hokitika. 

Jade Country includes Kumara and takes in Hokitika, Pukekura and HariHari.

Best places to visit in Jade Country


Conveniently located half way between Greymouth and Hokitika you will find the historic town of Kumara. As an entry or exit point to the new West Coast Wilderness Trail, Kumara has enjoyed a recent revitalisation. The local community has spent much time and effort in creating historic attractions which bring the rich history of the area to life for visitors. The area is known for its West Coast hospitality and has a history of sawmilling and gold mining, with a large gold dredge once working the nearby Taramakau River. There is a gas station, dairy and a lovingly refurbished hotel which offers dining and accommodation in Kumara.

Kumara History

Back in 1876 Kumara was the site of New Zealand’s last great gold rush and boasted 50 public bars. It was also home to the Coast's most famous resident Richard Seddon - still New Zealand’s longest serving Prime Minister. This history is displayed on a series of large pictorial panels in the centre of town and you can also walk the Heritage Walkway where the panels are placed on the site of the actual stories.

There are several short walks to historical sites in Kumara to do. Londonderry Rock is worth a visit. This walk passes over tailings and old gold workings, ending with a view of Londonderry Rock - a huge boulder too large for miners to move or break. Visit the old Swimming Pool where groups used to gather to swim and play in the 1930s.

Gold mining history is evident in areas just south of Kumara including Goldsborough and Stafford.

Kumara Activities 

Being near the Taramakau River and the ocean, Kumara offers many activities for such a small town.

Fishing is popular on the river and at the river mouth and hunting is available in the nearby mountains, kayaking on the nearby Kapitea Dam is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon and a gloworm dell is situated in the town centre.

Visit the town as an overnight stop or start/end point of your cycle on the four day, easy West Coast Wilderness Trail – a good place to rest that saddle sore butt!

Kumara hosts some of the West Coast's largest and most popular events. including the annual Kumara Horse Races. Thousands don fancy hats and flock to town for a bet and a bit of family fun. Kumara Beach is the starting point for world premier multi-sport race Speight’s Coast to Coast. It is a real buzz to watch the race start at dawn on such a picturesque beach.


Hokitika is a cool little town. It's easily walkable and has the West Coast's only beachside town centre. And there is plenty to do with a large artisan community, interesting history and mountains, the river, two lakes and the beach nearby. 

Hokitika is a Beach Town

Hokitika has really embraced its beach - to be honest it is hard to ignore, it practically laps the main street. By day, enjoy views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and see the iconic Hokitika driftwood sign. As evening comes, have a bonfire and get a picture perfect sunset shot. 

Hokitika Arts, Culture & Heritage

In Hokitika, there are probably more galleries and studios per capita than anywhere in NZ. You can wander around town and what the artists at work. Talk to pounamu and bone carvers, photographers, painters, glass blowers, sculptors, wood turners, potters, jewellers, craftspeople and metal, stone and textile artists. Rest a while on the Take-a-Seat art installations around town. 

At the height of the gold rush, Hokitika was New Zealand's second largest port. These days you can do a self-guided heritage tour, view old images with a mobile app or visit the Hokitika Museum and an industrial heritage park. Many of the local bush walks also feature historical information and relics. 

Hokitika Activities

With two lakes, a major river, the mountains and the beach nearby, Hokitika offers easy access to nature experiences. 

Lake Kaniere is surrounded by mountains and bush and offers swimming and water skiing. There are lots of easy walks around the lake and a visit to the impressive Dorothy falls is a must for the family. For those wanting more adventure, hike up Mounts Tahua or Brown for awesome views. 

Lake Mahinapua has numerous family-friendly walks, sailing and is a great place to swim. 

The easy West Coast Wilderness Trail and more challenging Blue Spur single tracks near town mean Hokitika is a great place to bring your bike.  

Spin or fly fish for sea-run and river trout all year round and salmon can be hooked in season. Surf casting for Kahawai and whitebaiting are popular. 


Just south of Hokitika is Ross, famous for being the spot where New Zealand’s largest ever gold nugget was unearthed - the “Roddy Nugget”, weighing a massive 3.1kg.

Learn about the town's heritage and hire a gold pan to try your hand at the Ross Goldfields Information Centre – you might just find your own “Roddy”. Alternatively, head to the river where there is also a public gold fossicking area.

The Ross Historic Goldfields walks offer a range of fun with mine tunnel entrances, mining relics and an historic cemetery on show. They are great fun for the family. There is even a curio room available for free viewing.

Near Ross is the Totara Valley, a good place for an easy half day mountain bike.

Between Pukekura and Harihari

Pukekura - population of 2! This small town is world famous for its Possum Pies and the Bushman Centre, where a you can see a film about ‘How the West Coast was Tamed’.

Like many lakes in this part of the Coast Lake Ianthe was hollowed out during the dying stages of the last great ice age 14,000 years ago. There are two beautiful picnic spots and a Department of Conservation camping ground here.

Hari Hari has the widest main street in the South Island and is a great money earner for police with their speed detectors! It is a little known fact that Hari Hari is the landing site of the first solo Trans-Tasman flight. Australian Guy Menzies went off course during his 1931 flight and 11 hours 45 minutes after leaving Sydney crash landed upside down in the La Fontaine swamp. There is a replica of his biplane on the main road. The 2.5 hours Hari Hari Coastal walk here is well worth the effort.