Hokitika Gorge: The Bluest Water You’ve Ever Seen!
Sometimes you see photos of a popular travel area, and think that it can’t possibly look as good as it looks in those highly edited pictures. The Hokitika Gorge is one of those places. Except this gorge looks EVEN BETTER when you see it with your own eyes. I am really not that good at photographing landscapes. I wish that I was – because this is one of those spots that I wanted to capture for everything that it was worth. Alas, that was not possible. It is just too beautiful to explain or depict. The vivid turquoise water surrounded by lush native bush looks too good to be true but trust us, it is well worth a visit.
Hokitika Gorge Walk
The stunning Hokitika Gorge walk is situated about 30km east of Hokitika at the end of the Kowhitirangi and Whitcombe Road. We arrived here after a cozy night in a Caravan, and a quick stop in the town of Hokitika for road trip supplies. We parked our car in the recently upgraded carpark and toilet block. This wall is pretty easy, even with a two and a half year old! It took us roughly 15-20 minutes each way, and the path was pretty stable so a stroller would be fine on this path too. We weren’t sure if we should take it, so we left ours in the car.
The first lookout desk provides views of the gorge and of Kowhitirangi farmland. Keep following the track to a swingbridge which crosses the Hokitika Gorge. Be sure to stop in the middle of the bridge to admire the magnificent green/blue waters of the Hokitika River. Turn left when you get to the end of the swingbridge and walk through a path in the bushes. This track will lead you out to another lookout. At this point, more upstream of the bridge, you get amazing views of the gorge.
There is a maximum bridge load of six people, or 1000kg. We had to wait at the start of the bridge while a few people were taking pictures in the middle. I can imagine things getting crazy here because its of people just don’t
read care about signs. Thankfully, everyone there on this day was very respectful. We all waited patiently while others crossed the bridge.
We stopped in the middle of the bridge to look out at the view, and then take a quick selfie.
Justin and Eli waited at the top of this wooden viewing deck while I closed down to the rocks below. Where the wooden steps end, the rocks begin, the path is uneven and slippery. Those with young children shouldn’t go further than the wooden steps. The best bet would be to stay on the top wooden viewing platform.
With the kids, definitely go sit on the edge of one of the river’s boulders. Amazing…
Oh that water – the color was just incredible!
It was surprisingly difficult to get a good shot for the gorge. The water just didn’t look the same in the pictures as it did with our eyes. Having a drone would definitely be an advantage here! In fact, there isn’t anywhere we go that I don’t long for a drone. Nevertheless, the about picture and the first image in this post (taken with a GoPro) give you a good view of what you see from the main wooden lookout deck.
- It is best if you stay a night or two in Hokitika to fit the Gorge into your West Coast schedule. If we had not stayed the night in Greymouth, we never would have had time to squeeze in the gorge. In fact, Justin said that we probably didn’t have time – but we squeezed it in anyway. That might be the reason that we ended up sleeping in our car at the end of this eventful day. <<More on that later this week!>>
- If you can, do the Hokitika Gorge Track for amazing views for this area. There isn’t really any track that you will regret doing in New Zealand, but this particular area is just breathtaking.
- Trampers may wish to go further afield and there are three-day hikes from here to places like Grassy Flats, Cedar Flat and Mt. Brown.
- Further up the gorge the rough water is popular for adventure kayaking. Hokitika is close to some of the worlds’ best white water kayaking, set amongst granite gorges and stunning bush.
One our way away from Hokitika Gorge, we stopped to see a large river with turquoise glacial water flowing from the mountain tops. It is really difficult to explain the color of this water, but this picture has a better job of showing the color. It is magical! We met a kind man, and his dog, here and he took our picture. We gave him one of our back window shade covers after he admired the one we were using for Eli – we only needed one anyway, and we had bought a set when we went to Europe. We love meeting friendly people on along our travels…