Hokitika Gorge

The West Coast

Water this turqouise doesn't come easily. Half a million years of glacial movement sculpted Hokitika's ravine; the rock 'flour' ground over millennia intensifies the water's hue. The gorge is a scenic 32km drive south of Hokitika, well signposted from Stafford St (past the dairy factory). From the car park it's a 150m walk to a viewing platform, then a further 300m to a swing bridge and 200m to a point where you can access the river.

En route, you will pass a poignant monument in Kōwhitirangi, the site of one of NZ's deadliest mass murders (immortalised in the 1982 classic film Bad Blood). Visitors can peer towards the farmstead site through a shaft bored through the stone.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The West Coast attractions

1. Lake Kaniere

10.73 MILES

Lying at the heart of a 7000-hectare scenic reserve, 18km southeast of Hokitika, beautiful Lake Kaniere is 8km long, 2km wide, up to 195m deep, and…

2. Goldfields Heritage Centre

10.9 MILES

The community-run Goldfields Heritage Centre harks back to Ross's shiny years, with displays and dioramas on gold mining, a scale model of the town, and…

3. Lake Māhinapua

12.48 MILES

Serene Lake Māhinapua lies 10km southwest of Hokitika, screened from SH6 by its surrounding forest. The scenic reserve, gazetted in 1907, has a picnic…

4. Sunset Point

16.51 MILES

A visit to Sunset Point is a quintessential Hokitika experience: watch the day's light fade away, observe whitebaiters casting nets, munch fish and chips,…

5. Hokitika Museum

16.59 MILES

Housed in the gorgeous, recently strengthened Carnegie Building (1908), this museum has displays on greenstone, gold mining, history and whitebait fishing.

6. Clock Tower

16.6 MILES

Iconic only to West Coast locals, Hokitika's attractive clock tower was unveiled in 1903 to commemorate King Edward VII's coronation and to memorialise…

7. National Kiwi Centre

16.69 MILES

Tiptoe through the darkened kiwi house to watch the birds rummage for tasty insects, or stare a tuatara – a reptile unchanged for 150 million years – in…

8. St Mary's Catholic Church

16.72 MILES

This handsome Catholic church, completed in 1928, could only be admired from the outside when we passed through, due to earthquake-strengthening…