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From spectacular stargazing to galaxies of glow worms, Hokitika is full of natural wonders. It's also home to a buzzing creative scene, with perhaps the highest number of art galleries in New Zealand. You can see artisans' workshops throughout the town, with craftspeople taking inspiration from the wild surrounding landscape, plus materials like West Coast gold, pounamu (New Zealand jade) and bone. Stroll down to the centre of town for chic cafés, historic buildings built during Hokitika's gold rush, and a long driftwood-strewn beach.
Hokitika hostels include contemporary accommodation in the centre of town and arty digs surrounded by lush greenery. Hokitika hostel facilities include a self-catering kitchen to cook meals, as well as laundry facilities to keep you fresh as a daisy. Some Hokitika backpackers hostels provide free breakfast, and little touches of luxury like a log fire. You'll also find a few with disabled access. Enjoy piping-hot showers after a long day spent outdoors.
Hokitika is bordered by ocean on one side, and the rushing Hokitika River on another. Sunset Point juts out where the river meets the sea – it's a scenic outcrop of land with a shipwreck memorial. Nearby areas to explore include Lake Mahinapua Scenic Reserve, where you can walk above the treetops, and Pancake Rocks, which are limestone rock formations with dramatic blowholes.
Discover Hokitika's gold-mining past at the Ross Historic Goldfields, with walking trails around old mining sites and artefacts. Or ride along the 120km-long West Coast Wilderness Trail cycle path, which takes in abandoned rail tracks and scenic views. For something a little more adventurous, try white-water rafting down the Hokitika Gorge, cut through by a blue glacial river. Back in town, you can explore the magical Glow Worm Dell at night, or come face-to-face with iconic New Zealand wildlife at the National Kiwi Centre.
Hokitika Airport is just a few minutes by taxi from Hokitika town centre, or a 25-minute walk. A more scenic way to get to Hokitika is to fly to Christchurch, and then ride the TranzAlpine Railway to Greymouth (just under 5 hours' ride), where you'll pass through landscapes such as deep gorges, snow-capped mountains, arched viaducts and thick forest. From Greymouth, you can take a local bus (journey time: 40 minutes) to Hokitika. Buses also run from various other cities in New Zealand, including Christchurch (a 4.5-hour journey). From Hokitika, you can get around using local buses or on foot.