We think Hokitika is one the most interesting towns on the West Coast, with a (quite literally) rich history spanning back to the discovery of gold in 1860, it’s a small town with a lot going on!
Ever since author Eleanor Cattons wrote her novel, The luminaries which was set in the town during the gold mining boom of the 1860’s and subsequently won the Man Booker Prize in 2013, the area has been growing in popularity and with a tagline to its tourist site of ‘Cool little town’ Hokitika is now firmly on the map as a must see destination on a trip down the West Coast of the South Island.
We love visiting the Hokitika Museum, which manages to really bring the town to life through its wonderful displays and exhibits and brilliant volunteers who are on hand to add personal snippets of information and stories of the towns colourful past. You’ll learn all there is to possibly learn about whitebait fishing and why it’s so important to the people of Hokitika too!
Before the gold rush, Hokitika was already attracting Maori people in, in search of pounamu (which is also known as greenstone or jade) from the Arahura River, which enters the sea just north of Hokitika. It was treasured for its strength and durability and was used for carving weapons and tools by the Maoris for many years. Today, It’s prized as jewellery and for souvenirs and you can take a trip to a workshop to see the stone being carved and polished, before buying your own piece of precious greenstone to take home with you.
What our travellers enjoyed about Hokitika…
- Heading out of town to Hokitika Gorge to appreciate the stunning aqua waters and spectacular sheer ravine
- Trying a whitebait pizza during the season (September – November)
- Trying their luck panning for gold at the historic goldfields of Ross and Goldsborough.