Founded on gold mining in 1864, Hokitika was a centre of the West Coast Gold Rush and grew very quickly. By late 1866, it was one of New Zealand's most populous centres. On 16 September 1867, there were 41 vessels alongside the wharf, as the port of Hokitika ranked first in New Zealand in both the number of vessels entered inwards and in the total value of exports, principally gold.
The population has declined greatly since the Gold Rush, but the population of the Westland District is now on the rise, thanks to "lifestyle inhabitants". Almost 30% of the district's rate-payers live outside of Hokitika.
- Hokitika is about three hours' drive from Christchurch via State Highway 73 over scenic Arthur's Pass; it's worth stopping at Arthur's Pass National Park HQ, enjoying the views, and keeping an eye out for kea.
- Intercity Coachlines travel to Greymouth from Christchurch or Nelson, and there are regular coaches from Greymouth, 40 minutes away. It's approximately 2 hours drive from Fox Glacier.
Hokitika is small enough that you can see most things on foot. The majority are around the old main street, Revell Street, which was laid out by an amateur town planner during Gold Rush days to follow the sand dunes, and is notably kinked (it's known as the "Crooked Mile").
- 1 Hokitika Beach Sign. The famous driftwood sign.
- 2 The National Kiwi Centre, 64 Tancred St, ☏ . summer 9AM–5PM; winter 9:30AM–4:30PM. Visit this kiwi centre and aquarium to see kiwi, tuatara, giant eels, many native and exotic fish, along with turtles and frogs.. There are also activities to participate in - feeding the giant eels, catch and release of 'crawlies,' a children's room with lots of books and toys, & displays and video about the kiwi and other creatures. At 10:00am, 12:00 noon, and 3:00pm it's feeding time for the 100 year old eels, sport fish, and kiwi, with an informative talk about these amazing creatures. Adult $27.50, child $15, senior $24, family $75.
- 3 Westland Industrial Heritage Park, Industrial Road. Volunteer run museum, with large machines in working order including sawmill engines, fire engines and tractors.
- 4 Glowworm Dell (just off the main highway north of Hokitika). This dell is best visited at night; you'll be surrounded by sparkling glowworms. They're about a minute walk in from the road, and while the path is dark, using a bright torch will make some of the glowworms turn off. The light of a phone screen is totally enough to see by.
- 5 Hokitika Gorge (33 km east of Hokitika). Some thirty minutes away from the town by car. Cross a swingbridge over stunning blue waters, on the 15 minute walk through forest to a viewing platform.
- 6 Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve. Beautiful lakes that offers opportunity for a number of water sports, several picnic spots, a camping area, and numerous short walks.
- 7 Dorothy Falls. A multi-step waterfall.
- 8 Lake Mahinapua. A good place for camping, picnicking, walking and water based activities.
- 9 Hokitika Museum, 47 Revell St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Housed in a striking former Carnegie public library, the Museum closed for seismic strengthening in September 2019, and is expected to reopen in late 2020–early 2021. Until the strengthing work starts, a small display on the history of the building is sometimes open.
- 10 Government Buildings (Seddon House), 14 Sewell Street.
- 11 St Mary's Catholic Church, Sewell Street and Stafford Street. An imposing neoclassical Roman Catholic church built between 1914 and 1928. The building has been closed since 2012 due to earthquake risk.
- 12 Custom House, Gibson Quay.
- 13 Hokitika Clock Tower, Weld St - Sewell St Roundabout.
- Wildfoods Festival. Annual food festival, serving foods that range from the benign to the absolute wildest: paua titties (roe), bull, lamb and goat testicles, that you could consider. Usually held in March.
- 1 West Coast Treetop Walkway, 1128 Woodstock-Rimu Road, toll-free: 0508 8733 8677 (TREETOPS). Oct–Apr 9AM – 4:15PM; May–Sep 9AM – 3:15PM. Walk along a 450 m-long steel platform at tree-top height (20 m off the ground). Adult $32.
- 2 West Coast Scenic Waterways (4 km south of Hokitika on SH6; turn left at the sign "Scenic Waterways" before the bridge), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Bike and kayak hire beside the West Coast Wilderness Trail, and a scenic riverboat cruise on the Mahinapua Creek. Also offers cottage B&B accommodation.
- 3 Bonz 'N' Stonz Carving Studio, 16 Hamilton Street, ☏ . You can design and carve your own piece in jade, bone or paua.
- 4 Mount Tuhua Track. A steep track to the open tussock peak of Mt. Tuhua; 7 hrs to hike there and back.
- 5 Mount Brown Hut track. Hut has magnificent views overlooking Lake Kaniere. There are 4 bunk beds available.
Pounamu is a nephrite jade found only on the West Coast, and its harvest and sale is governed by Ngai Tahu. There are a variety of pounamu stores, mainly along Weld and Tancred Streets. Beware some shops selling Canadian jade carved in China - if the price looks too good to be true, it's probably not pounamu. You can see Ngati Waewae carvers in action and buy verified pounamu carvings at Te Waipounamu Maori Heritage Centre, on the corner of Weld & Sewell.
- 1 Sock World, 93 Revell Street. Buy socks, woollen yard and sock knitting machines. There is also a free museum of sock knitting machines.
- 2 Hokitika Craft Gallery, 25 Tancred Street, ☏ .
- 3 Wilderness Gallery, 29 Tancred Street, ☏ .
- 4 Westland Greenstone, 34 Tancred Street, ☏ .
- 5 Hokitika Glass Studio, 9 Weld Street, ☏ . Watch them make beautiful pieces of glass and then make a few purchases at the Hokitika Glass Works.
- 6 Waewae Pounamu, 39 Weld Street, ☏ .
- 7 Tectonic Jade, 67 Revell Street, ☏ .
- 8 Heritage Jade, 86 Revell Street.
- 9 Hokitika New World, 116 Revell Street. daily 8AM - 9PM. Supermarket.
- 10 Four Square, 140 Stafford St. M-F 7AM - 9PM; Sa-Su 8AM - 9PM. Small supermarket.
- 1 Fat Pipi Pizza, 89 Revell St, ☏ .
- 2 Priya Indian Restaurant, 79 Revell Street, ☏ .
- 3 Easteat Restaurant 唐小厨, 74 Revell Street. Chinese food.
- 4 The Hokitika Sandwich Company, 83 Revell Street, ☏ . Won New Zealand's best toastie award in 2019.
- 5 Stella Cafe, 84 Revell Street, ☏ .
- 6 Stumpers Bar & Cafe, 98 Revell Street, ☏ .
- 7 Stone Oven Bakery Cafe, 105 Revell Street, ☏ .
- 8 Ocean View Restaurant, 111 Revell Street, ☏ .
- 9 Cafe 39, 39 Tancred Street, ☏ .
- 10 Sweet Alice's Fudge Kitchen, 27 Tancred Street, ☏ .
- 11 Kitchen Hokitika NZ, 19 Tancred Street, ☏ .
- 12 Dulcie's Takeaways, 6 Gibson Quay, ☏ .
- 13 Clocktower Cafe, 41 Weld Street,, ☏ .
- 14 Porky's - Hokitika Townchip, 51 Weld Street, ☏ .
- 15 Gatherer Wholefoods & Bar, 51 Sewell Street.
- 16 Mafia Coffee Dispensary, ☏ .
- 17 Stations Inn, 11 Blue Spur Road, ☏ .
- 1 Stumpers Bar & Cafe, 98 Revell Street.
- 2 Hokitika Chartered Club, 42 Hamilton Street, ☏ .
- 3 Railway Hotel Motel, 34 Weld Street, ☏ .
- 4 Pioneer Hotel, 80 Gibson Quay, ☏ .
- 1 252 Beachside Motels & Holiday Park, 252 Revell Street, ☏ , toll-free: 0508 252 252, fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2 Birdsong YHA, 124 Kumara Junction Highway, ☏ . Independent hostel affiliated to the YHA. beds from $37, rooms from $98.
- 3 154 Kaniere Road Accommodation, 154 Kaniere Road (3.5 km from town centre), ☏ . Older style motel units with shared kitchen and bathroom - keys to be collected from Annabelle Motel, 214 Weld Street. from $40.
- 4 Teichelmann's Bed & Breakfast, 20 Hamilton St, ☏ , , toll-free: 0800 743 742. From NZ$115–180, including continental breakfast.
- 5 Kaniere Hotel, 289 Kaniere Road, ☏ .
- 6 Pioneer Hotel, 80 Gibson Quay, ☏ .
- 7 Railway Hotel Motel, 34 Weld Street, ☏ .
- Greymouth and Shantytown (a bit before Greymouth and 20 minutes drive from Hokitika)
- Punakaiki Blowholes – an hour and a half drive
- Franz Josef Glacier – two hours drive on State Highway 6
- Fox Glacier – the bigger and less crowded glacier, 2.5 hours drive
|Routes through Hokitika|
|Greymouth ←||N S||→ Ross → Franz Josef Glacier|