Flights to Hokitika
Air New Zealand offers non-stop domestic flights to Hokitika airport from Christchurch. For flights from Queenstown to Hokitika, Auckland to Hokitika and Wellington to Hokitika, you'll transit at Christchurch airport. With Hokitika airfares you can choose seat, seat+bag, flexitime or flexiplus fare types. Christchurch to Hokitika flights take around 45 minutes.
The Oparara Arches near Karamea have to be seen to be believed. Formed by river action over millions of years, the arches are easy to reach on foot.
Where to go and what to see on the West Coast
The days you spend on the West Coast will lead to travel stories you'll tell for the rest of your life. While this region accounts for nearly 10% of New Zealand's land area, it has less than 1% of the country's population. In other words, there's a lot of untouched beauty here. Fall into nature's fierce embrace and you'll emerge as a more adventurous person.
Adventures in the West Coast wilderness
The number one reason to visit the West Coast is untamed natural wilderness. There are few easily-accessed places on the planet that rival the landscapes you'll find as you journey through the region. In total there are three national parks, two immense glaciers, seven lakes and more than a dozen significant rivers to discover. Make sure you're equipped to take it all on (proper hiking boots are a must!).
In the far north of the West Coast, the town of Karamea is your base for hikes and caving expeditions in the Oparara Basin. You can also do a day walk into the immense Kahurangi National Park, famous for its incredible range of terrain types.
If you love a wild time on a mountain bike, book yourself into the Old Ghost Road for a couple of rollercoaster days through the rainforest. Or paddle a kayak upstream from Punakaiki into the wilds of the Paparoa National Park. And if you want to take your photography to a higher level, go heli-hiking on a glacier and gaze into blue crevasses that defy the imagination. More about adventures on the West Coast.
Extraordinary West Coast sightseeing
The West Coast isn't just about intrepid adventures. You'll also find some easily-accessed sightseeing opportunities that only involve a short stroll.
Close to Hokitika is the super-pretty Hokitika Gorge Walk, which involves a short hike through the forest and across a swing bridge. From the bridge you get a spectacular view of the gorge with its surreal opaque turquoise water (caused by suspended 'rock flour').
Another must-see is Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks, created by nature to wow your Instagram following. These outrageous rock formations involve layers of hard sediment interspersed with mud layers. Washed by rain and ocean waves, the softer layers have eroded away to leave the look of stacked pancakes. And that's just part of Punakaiki's magic; there are incredible blow holes here too.
The Oparara Arches near Karamea have to be seen to be believed. Formed by river action over millions of years, the arches are easy to reach on foot. You'll also be entranced by the beauty of the Oparara River, which is often tinted a rich orange colour by the natural tannins of the rainforest.
Unique West Coast food and drink
In between your West Coast adventures you'll have the chance to explore the region's hospitality. After landing at Hokitika airport, don't leave town until you've had lunch at the famous Hokitika Sandwich Company. These aren't everyday sandwiches; each one is a work of edible art featuring exceptional New Zealand ingredients.
Next on the list of unique West Coast flavour experiences happens in the town of Reefton. There you can check out the Reefton Distilling Company, where they make fine gin infused with botanicals from the surrounding rainforest. For lunch or dinner, check out the hearty menu at Dawson's Hotel. And if it's coffee and cake you're craving, Reef Cottage Café can introduce you to a wicked selection of home-baked Kiwiana favourites.
Another special West Coast cuisine experience can be found at the Rough and Tumble Lodge Café, when you can tuck into tasty favourites and sip on a West Coast Brewery craft beer while you gaze at a magnificent view of the roiling Mokihinui River. Or find your way to the Kingfisher Restaurant and Bar on the shores of beautiful Lake Brunner - their burgers are legendary. Read more about places to eat and drink on the West Coast.
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If you want to fly to Hokitika for less, we run regular special offers. You can sign up for low fare alerts to receive early notice of these offers. You can also sign up to receive regular email updates about cheap airfares, packages, competitions and exclusive offers.
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Best time to visit Hokitika
Hokitika is warm in summer and autumn, with similar sunshine hours to Auckland. However with rainfall spread throughout the year, it's always wise to bring a rain jacket. Don't be afraid to visit in winter or spring - temperatures are surprisingly mild, days are often beautifully sunny and crowds are few.
How much will it cost?
This will depend on your tastes and what you want to do. As a rough guide, not including air travel and hotels, you should allow about NZD $100 to $150 a day per person for food and entertainment.
There are no mandatory vaccinations required for visitors to New Zealand.
Auckland (AKL) to Hokitika (HKK)
Wellington (WLG) to Hokitika (HKK)
Christchurch (CHC) to Hokitika (HKK)
*Flight times are based on the fastest route available.
**Indirect flights may also be available for this route.