A coastal town in the West Coast of the South Island with a population just under 3000.
We didn’t really know what to expect when coming here. I booked us a couple of nights because it was a convienent stopover point on our way back up the country and I found out you could do greenstone carving here which I thought would be fun.
What we discovered was a delightful town with lots of crafts, great sunsets and fun activities. It’s a place we would both certainly visit again and I feel this town deserves it’s own post
Here are 10 activities we really enjoyed while here:
This is the reason we came to Hokitika. Although a rather pricey activity, Bonz ‘N’ Stonz was a really cool experiance. You begin by selecting your stone and drawing out a design and work through all the different processes, carving, contouring, sanding and polishing to create a unique piece to take home. It is very hands on with excellent tutors to help you along the way and give guidance on how to use the machines and tools. I wrote a whole post on this activity which you can check out here if you would like to know more.
Turns out, Hokitika is a bit of a crafty town. I had an afternoon free so I took to the shops to check out the local talent. Of course, there is a lot of jade, stone and bone carving jewellery which you can buy if you don’t have enough time to do a workshop like mentioned above (or if crafts are just not your thing.) But there is much more than just this. There are beautiful artworks, lots of painting and photographs of gorgeous West Coast scenery. Hokitika Glass Studio is also a great place to visit and watch the glass blowers in action. It’s a fascinating process to watch.
Fossic for Stones
At fist glance, this may not seem like the most exciting activity, but I probably spent a good hour (a very enjoyable hour I might add) doing just this. Greenstone, while precious, is also quite common. You can find it down on the beach or along the river banks. Take a stroll along the shore and keep a look out for any interesting stones, you never know what you might find. Once you have collected your treasures, you can take them into Bonz ‘N’ Stonz and they will identify them for you.
No trip to Hokitika is complete without a visit to the beach to get a snap of the famous Hokitika driftwood sign. This huge sign perched right on the beach is made entirely from driftwood. It’s creator, Don Neale, made it a few years back as an entry into the town’s Driftwood and Sand competition which happens every January. It has been a permanent feature ever since. With the mighty Tasman Sea as it’s backdrop, make sure you check it out at different times of the day as the light changes behind it.
Watch the Sunset
Hokitika is pretty well known for it’s epic sunsets. Head down to the beach, pack a picnic and watch the sun slowly slip down below the big blue ocean. After a day of fun and excitement, it’s nice to be able to sit back, relax and marvel at how awesome this world is.
Go to the Flicks
I am not usually one for suggesting you spend your time shut away inside, but if the weather is bad or you are wanting a relaxed evening, why not check out the local cinema. It’s in the center of town in a beautiful heritage building. It was built and opened in the 1930’s and still oozes the charm of the art deco period. It seats nearly 400 people and when we went, we nearly had the place to ourselves.
Did someone say fudge? Yes please. Yes, I have a rather sweet tooth and just couldn’t resist making a stop at Sweet Alice’s Fudge Kitchen. It is bright and colourful, the cabinets lined with an assortment of tempting treats. (So hard to choose) So why not grab yourself a slice (or two, you naughty thing!) to enjoy while you walk on the beach or wander around the shops.
Mamma Mia Pizzeria
I do love a good pizza. If you do too, then head to Fat Pipi Pizza’s located pretty much on the beach. Dine inside and enjoy the ambience or outside in their delightful courtyard. Or get take away and have a picnic on the beach or enjoy in the comfort of your accommodation if it’s been a long day. Wherever you dine, their freshly made pizzas are sure to be a delight to your taste buds.
You will need a car for this one as it’s a bit out of town, but if you want to go exploring and stretch your legs, it’s a really great walk. We did a loop walk that took us about half and hour (wearing bulky motorbike gear) along a well maintained, easy walking track. There are lots of viewing platforms looking out at the gorge and your eyes will be treated to some amazing milky blue and turquoise water.
Hokitika Tree Top Walk
Get up high into the canopy and experience the forest from a different perspective. Enjoy walking along side giants and looking down on canopy, experiencing the forest with a bird’s eye view. Walk along 450 meters of platforms, 20 meters up in the air. For those who are brave, climb the tower, 47 meters above the forest floor or head out onto the cantilever and sway in the wind like a tree. You will need a car to get out to Hokitika Tree Top Walk but its a lovely way to spend an afternoon. We did this walk, you can read about our experience here.
Whatever you decide to do in Hokitika, I am sure you will find the town just as delightful as we did. Did I miss something? What have you loved doing in Hokitika?