Hokitika Gorge: Journey into the Jade Waters

Hokitika Gorge

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    Kia Ora, adventure seekers! There's nothing more gratifying than unveiling New Zealand's hidden wonders, especially when you're on the road with your trusty campervan. Today, we embark on a virtual journey to the stunningly picturesque, Hokitika Gorge.

    Hokitika Gorge: An Overview

    Tucked away on the West Coast, Hokitika Gorge is a unique gem that never ceases to amaze. Renowned for its breathtakingly vibrant turquoise waters, surrounded by dense native bush, this gorge is a must-visit for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts alike.

    The Allure of Hokitika Gorge

    A Natural Masterpiece

    No amount of photos or descriptions can do justice to the sight that greets you at Hokitika Gorge. Its intense turquoise waters, set against the backdrop of a lush green rainforest, is a spectacle that you have to see to believe.

    Jade Waters and Rainforests

    If you've ever found yourself asking, "Why is Hokitika Gorge so blue?", you're not alone. This natural phenomenon is due to the glacial till, or "rock flour," suspended in the water. As sunlight hits these particles, it reflects back, giving the waters their unique and mesmerising turquoise hue.

    How to Get to Hokitika Gorge

    From Hokitika

    Situated approximately 33 kilometres from the charming seaside town of Hokitika, the journey to the gorge is a beautiful drive through farmland, following the Hokitika River. The trip should take around 30 minutes by campervan, making it a perfect day trip.

    From Other Key Locations

    If you're coming from outside Hokitika, don't fret! The gorge is readily accessible from various locations. For instance, from Greymouth, it's approximately an hour's drive along State Highway 6 and then onto Johnston Road.

    Exploring Hokitika Gorge

    The Walking Track

    One of the Hokitika walks that is an absolute must is the Hokitika Gorge Walk. This easy, 15-minute trail takes you through the lush forest to a viewing platform. From here, the dazzling blue waters of the gorge are visible, framed beautifully by the native bush.

    The Swing Bridge

    Hokitika bridge

    A little further along the track, you'll find the swing bridge. Suspended over the radiant waters, it offers an unbeatable perspective of the gorge. Cross the bridge, and a short track will lead you to the riverside, offering another awe-inspiring view.

    The Viewing Platform

    The gorge's viewing platform, accessible via the walking track, is an excellent spot for photographs. Standing here, looking out at the phenomenal landscape is a reminder of the sheer natural beauty New Zealand has to offer.

    Best Time to Visit Hokitika Gorge

    Hokitika Gorge is a year-round attraction, each season bringing its unique charm. However, the summer months (December to February) offer warm weather and typically less rain, making it an ideal time for a visit.

    What to Bring

    When visiting Hokitika Gorge, wear comfortable walking shoes. The track is well-maintained, but good footwear always makes the experience more pleasant. Sunscreen, insect repellent, water, and snacks are also advisable. And don’t forget your camera - you'll want to capture the enchanting views!

    Safety Tips and Regulations

    While the walk to the gorge is relatively easy, always stay on the marked paths. The area around the gorge can be slippery and uneven. If you decide to venture into the water (which can be chilly!), do so with caution, as currents can be strong.

    Hokitika Safety regulations

    Nearby Attractions

    Hokitika Gorge isn't the only attraction in the area. Extend your visit to explore these other gems.

    Hokitika Town

    Rich in history and home to local artisans, Hokitika Town is worth a visit. Explore local art galleries, and perhaps even pick up a piece of pounamu (greenstone) jewellery as a memento of your trip.

    Lake Kaniere

    A short drive from the gorge is Lake Kaniere, an ideal spot for picnicking, water sports, or simply relaxing by the lake.

    Lake Kaniere

    West Coast Treetop Walk

    Experience the rainforest like never before on the West Coast Treetop Walk. Elevated 20 metres above the ground, this walkway gives you a bird’s-eye view of the stunning landscape.

    Why Hokitika Gorge Deserves a Spot on Your Itinerary

    Visiting Hokitika Gorge is more than just a sightseeing trip; it's an immersive experience. From the verdant forest trails and the swing bridge to the unforgettable sight of the turquoise waters, it's a journey that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.

    So, if you're planning to hire a campervan in New Zealand, make sure to carve out time for this natural wonder. And remember, the vibrant colours of the gorge are not its only appeal. The serene surroundings make it a perfect spot for picnics and leisurely walks.

    Hokitika Tree Tops

    Hokitika Gorge FAQs

    Where is Hokitika Gorge?

    Hokitika Gorge is located on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. It is approximately 33 kilometres inland from the town of Hokitika.

    Are there camping facilities near Hokitika Gorge?

    Yes, numerous Hokitika Gorge holiday parks and Hokitika campgrounds are available in the vicinity. Check out our New Zealand camping guide here.

    How to get to Hokitika Gorge?

    From Hokitika, it's a 30-minute drive through picturesque farmland. From Greymouth, it's about an hour's journey along State Highway 6.

    Why is Hokitika Gorge so blue?

    The water's vibrant turquoise colour is due to the glacial till, or "rock flour", suspended in the water. This substance reflects sunlight, giving the waters their unique hue.

    Are there any restrictions or fees for visiting Hokitika Gorge?

    Access to Hokitika Gorge is free, and it is open year-round. Visitors are, however, expected to respect the natural environment and stick to marked paths.

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