A 19th-century gold rush town. The jade capital of New Zealand. The backdrop for the Man Booker prize-winning novel and TV series, The Luminaries. Hokitika has an impressive history and array of attractions, making it a great base from which to explore the west side of the South Island. Ready to go? Check out our list of the best hotels in Hokitika – all bookable on Culture Trip.
As the name suggests, you can enjoy Tasman Sea views from the restaurant and best rooms at this modern hotel in Hokitika – but you’re still in the centre of town. Quirky sights such as the Hokitika Sock Machine Museum are just next door. However, if you want a seriously special souvenir, browse the carved and polished greenstone at Traditional Jade on Tancred Street; here you can see how the raw material – known in Māori as pounamu – is transformed into jewellery and ornaments.
These self-contained studios and apartments tick lots of boxes; they’re clean, budget-friendly and come with verandas and big bathrooms. Are you a keen cyclist? The motel is moments from the West Coast Wilderness Cycleway. Hire a bike or bring your own to traverse wetlands and native forests. Cycle to Ross; it’s a quaint gold rush town 33km (20mi) away. Book a shuttle in advance if you can’t face the journey back to Hokitika.
The best rooms at owners Sonja and Philip’s cosy aparthotel have jacuzzis and views of the Southern Alps. By day, you can hire mountain bikes and kayaks to explore the coast. After dark, join astronomy buff Philip on a stargazing tour or drive a few minutes north to the Glow Worm Dell to see a leafy canyon twinkle like the sky above.
Close to the train station and the 120-year-old town clock, these compact studios and apartments are good value and can sleep up to four. Take a day trip 30km (19mi) south to Hokitika Gorge, where you can walk a 2km (1.2mi) loop along a scenic boardwalk, taking in the glacial-blue river from a pair of swing bridges.
Like the idea of camping, but prefer carpet underfoot and a solid roof overhead? This family-friendly holiday park has a selection of basic cabins and apartments, plus a huge playground with a giant “jumping pillow”. Furthermore, the airport is just next door and the town is only a 20-minute walk away. What’s not to like?
You’ll be welcomed to your smart studio by lovely host Karen; she can help you plan your west coast adventures or a trip to Lake Brunner, which is a fine spot for swimming, stand-up paddle-boarding, fishing and hiking. Back in Hokitika, walk south along the black sand beach until you get to town – you can’t beat the whitebait pizza at Fat Pipi Pizzas for dinner – or keep going until you reach Sunset Point to watch the sky turn orange, pink and purple over the Tasman Sea.
This cluster of chalets and apartments north of Hokitika overlook crashing waves – the best have broad verandas and spa baths. Animal lovers will enjoy getting to know the resident alpacas, goats and pigs. Want to explore the wider region? The Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are an hour’s drive away; these heavily eroded limestone formations are best viewed at high tide when the blowholes are at their most impressive.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.