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Our Top 10 Hokitika/West Coast Recommendations

Here are our favourite things to see and do in Hokitika & the surrounding area.
Some are well know, some not so well known. Have a look around as we have included photos, videos, information and links.
They are in no particular order.

1. Explore The Beach

Stones Hokitika Beach

West Coast beaches are wild and interesting places. On a calm day it is postcard perfect and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the Mediterranean. However on a stormy day the sea pounds the coastline throwing up sea spray and foam and dumping huge driftwood logs onto the sand. 

Hokitika beach is a beachcombers dream. So many different types of rocks and pebbles can be found. Tourists love to collect the flat round schist stones and stack them in to towers. They also make excellent stone place mats and table runners. . These are hand made here in Hokitika and you buy direct from their shop on SH6. 

2. Retail Therapy

Our cool little town is definitely an artistic place. There are many galleries showcasing incredible photography, pounamu/jade carvings, paintings, jewelry, weaving and New Zealand made clothing for adults and children/babies. 

You can also find plenty of places to taste local delicasies such as whitebait and locally made fudge, ice-cream and honey. 

The shop directly across the road from Crooked Mile Cottage, is Ianz Art. Ian and Jan run the business and are the people to go to if you want to know about local geology, gold panning and of course copper art. 

3. Shantytown

Shantytown is a 35min drive north of Hokitika. If you are travelling with children it is a definite must do.

Step back in time and discover legendary stories of pioneer West Coasters through a fascinating mix of exhibits & interactive activities in a recreated 1900’s gold-rush village.

Ride the steam train through native rainforest, experience the sights and sounds of a working sawmill, watch the sluice gun blast gold bearing rock and soil from the earth, then follow the races to the gold claim and pan for your own gold, a strike is guaranteed! Old time photographs and a holographic theatre show are just some of the other activities available.

With over 30 shops and buildings to explore whatever the weather you’re guaranteed a great time at Shantytown Heritage Park.

Licensed onsite café and bar.

Only 10 kms south of Greymouth – well sign posted off SH6

A true New Zealand “must do” attraction.

4. Cycling On The Coast

West Coast Wilderness Trail

The West Coast Wilderness Trail – An Easy “Great Ride” 

  • This easy, Grade 2 cycleway is part of the NZ Great Rides network.
  • Do a short ride or the full 132km over 4 days.

The trail winds its way between Greymouth and Ross via Kumara and Hokitika on historic logging and gold mining trails and rewards you with views of coastline, lakes, mountains, rainforest and wetlands.

Mountain Biking Around Hokitika

  • There are plenty of options for families on easy, well graded trails.
  • Single tracks are available on the Blue Spur MTB trail network.
  • Hokitika can also be part of a larger exploration of mountain bike trails on the West Coast. The Heaphy Track, Old Ghost Road and the new West Coast Wilderness Trail are all worth a look.


5. Hokitika Gorge & Lake Kaniere

A drive out to the Hokitika Gorge and Lake Kaniere really is a “Must Do”.

Hokitika Gorge

You can self drive or you have the option of taking a tour with Hokitika Scenic Tours. Tours can be personalized to suit your interests and schedule.  I highly recommend this excellent service. Click on the button above for more information.

Lake Kaniere

6. Day Trip To The Glaciers

Franz Joseph Glacier

Franz Josef and Fox Glacier are a easy day trip from Hokitika and a great addition to your holiday.

Just a short drive from Hokitika is the start of Glacier Country. Go here on a day trip or add it as a stop on your West Coast touring route.

1.5 hours south to Franz Josef Glacier.

2 hours south to Fox Glacier

  • The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are at the heart of the broader UNESCO World Heritage Area, Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand. 
  • The West Coast is one of only two places in the world where you can view glaciers descending into temperate rainforest and they are the most accessible glaciers in the world.
  • Do a guided glacier walk!
  • 1.5 hours south to Okarito
  • The picturesque village on the sea is home to a large lagoon with an abundance of birdlife.
  • Hike the Trig Walk for magnificant view, magnificent birdlife.
  • see it by kayaking on the large lagoon here) and unique examples of local history. 

7. Feed The Giant Eels

Guaranteed viewing of kiwi in their nocturnal house and New Zealand’s living dinosaur, the tuatara.

Discover West Coast creatures like whitebait, crayfish and many more.

Participate in the giant eel feedings at 10am, 12 noon & 3pm. Kiwi feed after eels at noon. Catch & release a freshwater crayfish in the  indoor lake area! 

Open 7 days, 9am to 5pm in summer & 9.30am to 4.30pm in winter.


8. Punakaiki/Coast Road

This is one of my favourite things to do here. I love the drive from Hokitika up to Punakaiki. It doesn’t matter if the weather is amazing or terrible the Coast Road is incredible and the blow holes are always stunning.

We like to stop in at the Monteiths Brewery for a bite to eat and of course a taste of the product. 

Punakaiki blow holes

The drive from Hokitika to Punakaiki takes about an hour but we recommend you slow down and enjoy the journey. There are so many beaches, nooks and crannys you may want to take the whole day – and make sure you have your camera. You could stop at Rapahoe Beach for a swim. 

The main highway called The Great Coast Road between Westport and Greymouth has been named one of the Top 10 Coastal Drives in the world according to Lonely Planet. Your drive to Punakaiki takes you on the very best part of this road.

Punakaiki is an amazing place to visit in any weather. Of course it is beautiful when it is warm and sunny but the blow holes are at their most impressive when the sea is up and the wind is blowing.


9. Hokitika Scenic Tours

I highly recommend this activity here in Hokitika. It’s a really great activity for all ages. The operators are warm and enthusiastic people that are passionate about delivering a fantastic experience for visitors and locals alike.

Hokitika Scenic Tours welcomes you to the West Coast – South Island, of New Zealand. We invite you to discover our local scenic treasures where time stands still in all its natural glory. Giving you the opportunity to view the magnificent scenery & attractions that lie between the Tasman Sea and Southern Alps. We specialise in – personal small group and private, half day or full day tours and transfers to accommodate your travel plans. Hokitika Scenic Tours is a safe, friendly & informative transport service with a local Kiwi to make your stay and visit here memorable.
If you would like to book a Scenic Tour or create your very own Personal Tour please Rachel via the website link below. All tours depart daily on request . Pick up and drop off within Hokitika included at a time to suit you.

10. Hokitika Glow Worm Dell

Hokitika has the cutest little glow worm dell only a minutes walk from the highway. See the fairy-like lights at night. It is free and children just love it!

The Hokitika Glow Worm Dell is located right on the highway at the northern entrance to the town. There is a small parking area at the entrance with some interpretation boards for you to read. The dell is up a short bush walk that is suitable for strollers. This activity is a real favourite of all our guests, especially the children and best of all, it is FREE!

                   You can learn all about the glow worms of New Zealand here:

Take a torch/headlamp or use the light on your phone. 
Go after dark.

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