Small Town New Zealand: Hokitika

The West Coast Wilderness Trail currently concludes in Hokitika, a buzzing little community surrounded by dramatic coastline and stunning mountain scenery. It’s Andy’s favourite small town and a great spot to while away a few days. (It’s also the setting for Eleanor Catton’s 2013 Man Booker prize winning novel The Luminaries.)

Small town New Zealand Hokitika
The wild, west coast around Hokitika.

Play: Pan for gold at the historic goldfields of Ross and Goldsborough. Marvel at the vivid, turquoise waters of the Hokitika Gorge. Discover the area’s rich history at the Hokitika Museum or catch a glimpse of a kiwi at the National Kiwi Centre.

Ride: If the Wilderness Trail has left you wanting more off road action, there are plenty of other trails around the region to keep you entertained. Easier riding can be found near Lake Kaniere and Lake Mahinapua, or head to the Blue Spur area for a tougher challenge. The Westland Mountain Bike Club has ride ideas on their website.

Refuel: ClockTower Café was recently awarded ‘Runner-up Cafe of the Year 2012/13 for the West Coast Region’ by Café Magazine. You’ll find it…next to the Clock Tower!

Tug at the purse strings: Hokitika is home to numerous artists and craftspeople and you’ll find a diverse range of interesting shops and galleries throughout the town.

Admire: The Arahura River is rich in pounamu – also known as greenstone or New Zealand jade. Head to Hokitika beach, where, if you’re lucky, you might just find a piece amongst the pebbles.

Sweet dreams: Find accommodation listings at

Getting there
By road: three and a half hours from Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass. The Great Coast Road from Westport to Hokitika has been voted one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet.
By rail: take the TranzAlpine Rail Journey from Christchurch, considered one of the top six rail journeys in the world.
By air: regular flights from Christchurch.

Ready to ride the West Coast Wilderness Trail and explore Hokitika? We can provide top-of-the-range bike hire, panniers and accommodation recommendations. Get in touch to set your West Coast adventure in motion…