three must-dos in hokitika

Posted on



So… what is there to do in Hokitika?

“You mustn’t miss the sunset” were the last words we heard as the waitress cleared our table of dinner plates.

The sunset? Where better to view this than at the beach.

And right on cue as we arrive, the sun shyly ducks behind clouds. We wait patiently for it to show itself again before we start “snapping” away.

We love sunsets. We love the way the sky changes colour, the twinkle reflections on the water and the sight of the sun itself. IMG_0903 We love how the horizon gobbles up the sun in an instant; how the air feels automatically different the minute the sun is out of sight. IMG_0910 IMG_0917

The three must-dos (that are also free) when in and around Hokitika:

  • the sunset
  • the glow worms and
  • Hokitika Gorge

(1) Sunset

As already described.


(2) Glow Worm Dell

This is free and easy to get to; easier than when we tried seeing glow worms on the North Island a few years back. No queues, no boats…. Only a short track, right off the main road out of Hokitika lies the Glow Worm Dell.

Be sure to go after dark. The track is pitch black with only lighting at the start, so bring a torch to see where you are going but turn it off when you are at the end.

If your timing is right, you will enter the area with only a few (hundred) speckles of blue-green glows but within minutes, the area is splattered with “a sky full of stars”. And if your timing is perfect, you will be lucky enough to get the place to yourself in complete silence – a little bit of magic right there in Hokitika. Unfortunately we were a little slack and did not take any pictures to share.

Word of advice: It’s not an epic experience, expect it to be short and sweet – it is a 5-minute walk from the car park and the viewing area isn’t huge.

(3) Hokitika Gorge

Don’t let the 30km detour deter you. It was by far ONE of the most incredible natural things we have laid our eyes on.

The colour of the water is like nothing we have seen before… so vibrant, so turquoise!IMG_0928The road to the car park of the gorge is narrow and sealed for most of the way. It becomes gravel on the last stretch. And then it is only an easy 10-15 minute walk down  (with a swing bridge crossing included) to the gorge viewing platform. IMG_0952IMG_0934

We saw plenty and did plenty in the South Island of New Zealand and these three things were easily in the list of our favourites! So if you are ever in Hokitika, don’t miss these if you can help it.

Hokitika is located on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island – an adorable little town. It was a flying visit, one night only on the way to Arthur’s Pass from Franz Josef for us.

Have you been to Hokitika?

Share your comments here.


34 thoughts on “three must-dos in hokitika

    Smiling Notes said:
    January 20, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Such a beautiful post! And all the photos are stunning!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      January 29, 2016 at 8:07 am

      Thank you so much 🙂 It really is a lovely little place in NZ.

    AndysWorldJourneys said:
    December 21, 2015 at 11:48 am

    so…. sunsets are good?

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 23, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Yeh… suppose so 😉 Merry Christmas Andy and hope you have an amazing year next year!

    kayrpea61 said:
    December 17, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Love your photos, as always. OK, own up, kids – you bought a small jade reminder, didn’t you? 😉

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 18, 2015 at 7:41 am

      Thanks K…. and would you believe, we didn’t by anything jade while we were there…. We didn’t think to buy any!
      Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

        kayrpea61 said:
        December 18, 2015 at 8:04 am

        Thank you. Same to you, Le & David

    Gypsy Bev said:
    December 17, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Have never been there, but certainly would enjoy the beauty surrounding the place. Thanks for sharing.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 18, 2015 at 7:40 am

      You must try and get there if you can… New Zealand is a really spectacular country with amazing scenery. We’ve never been to Canada but we imagine them to be in the same league.
      Hope you have a fabulous 2016!

        Gypsy Bev said:
        December 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm

        I’ve spent time in different parts of Canada and found nothing to equal these views. Canada is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t have the spectacular views of New Zealand. New Zealand has been on my dream list since I saw Lord of the RIngs!

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          December 20, 2015 at 8:53 pm

          Really?? Canada looks so breathtaking!! We want to go and be able to compare. We are sure they are beautiful in their own right 🙂

    CrazyChineseFamily said:
    December 17, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Wonderful pictures ones again. Sadly I have never seen glow worms even though they can be found in Germany 😦

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 17, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Thanks Timo! Maybe that can be on the wishlist for 2016 – to take your little guy to see glow worms.

      Wishing you and your wonderful little family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We hope 2016 brings you great health and happiness and less “madness” 😉

        CrazyChineseFamily said:
        December 17, 2015 at 11:38 pm

        Thank you, we wish you also all the best for Christmas and a great new year 🙂

    the eternal traveller said:
    December 17, 2015 at 7:25 am

    We only stopped there during the day to see the green stone. We had time constrictions and had to move on but we said at the time we should come back and stay. You’ve confirmed that with these stunning photos.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 17, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Oh… you MUST go back! (Minus the crazy flies), it truly was magnificent to see with our own eyes. The 30 km detour almost deterred us but we stuck it out and was totally worth it 🙂

      Are you ready for the summer holidays?

        the eternal traveller said:
        December 17, 2015 at 10:41 am

        I would love to go back and see much more of New Zealand. After the flies at Wudinna I think we can handle crazy flies anywhere else.

        I’m already on holidays…a wonderful thing! How about you?

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          December 18, 2015 at 7:38 am

          As of today…. we will both be on “holidays” 🙂 YAY!!
          Have great break.

    janikaberridge said:
    December 17, 2015 at 2:52 am

    beautiful photos of the gorge!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 17, 2015 at 8:57 am

      Thank you! The gorge is so pretty, it is hard not to take a good photo of it 🙂
      Hope you are well!

        janikaberridge said:
        December 17, 2015 at 2:08 pm

        It’s amazing that these places exist. I am well, thanks! I hope the same for you :]

    Turquoise Compass said:
    December 17, 2015 at 12:43 am

    Beautiful turquoise water!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 17, 2015 at 8:57 am

      Ahh…. thought of you when we saw this place! Did you get to Hokitika when you were down this way?

    Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya) said:
    December 17, 2015 at 12:36 am

    That gorge is stunning, the pictures took my breath away!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 17, 2015 at 8:57 am

      Oh… it was definitely stunning. We still get chills look at the photos. No filter… that is the true colours of the gorge!
      Hope you are well!

    D's Suitcase said:
    December 16, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    nature lover’s delight! very, very nice!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 17, 2015 at 8:56 am

      Thanks so much for your comment 🙂 Have you been? It is worth a visit!

    Mabel Kwong said:
    December 16, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    This sounds like a very relaxing place to actually relax. Scenic walks, and that sunset by the beach was stunning. The sky is so orange, and great capture 🙂 That turquoise water looks so calm – in fact, it doesn’t look like water and I hope no one made the mistake of walking on top of it 😀 Hope the two of you are well and summer is going alright so far. I’m enjoying the warm weather over here.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      December 17, 2015 at 8:55 am

      Hello Mabel. How are you going? Hope you have plenty of relaxation planned over the Xmas/NYE break.

      Yes, the sunset was very special as was the gorge. We were so swept away with the sheer beauty of New Zealand! It is a must for everyone to go there once in their life 🙂

        Mabel Kwong said:
        December 19, 2015 at 2:04 pm

        It is so hard to walk away when there’s a gorgeous sunset right in front of you. So glad you got to witness a spectacular one in such a beautiful part of the world.

        Summer is well and truly here in Melbourne. Lots of 30’C days here. Hope you are keeping cool, and best wishes for the season ahead 🙂

    IreneDesign2011 said:
    December 16, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Very beautiful post 😀

leave us a comment...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s