Art, Culture & Heritage

The rich history and heritage of Hokitika as well as the vibrant arts and crafts community make Hokitika a place abounding with interesting stories. 

History and Heritage

To say Hokitika has had a colourful past is a bit of an understatement. At the height of the gold rushes in the 1860’s it boasted 102 hotels. Throw in three opera houses and a whole lot of gold miners and it must have been a rip-roaring town. 

There is still gold in them-there hills so pick up a gold pan and head to one of the public fossicking areas at Ross or Goldsborough where you’ll be watched by cheeky wekas. There are also plenty of bush walks near Hokitika where you can still see authentic relics from the gold years including water races and tunnels.  

Eleanor Catton's 2013 Man Booker Prize winning novel The Luminaries is set in Hokitika. It brings to life the Hokitika of the gold rush era circa 1866. Read it for a feel of what life used to be like for those pioneer gold miners. 

Arts and Culture

Before the gold rush, Maori were heading here for another precious stone - pounamu or NZ jade. And today, Hokitika has probably more galleries and artist studios per capita than anywhere else in New Zealand. The really interesting part is you can meet and talk with them yourself.

Just wander around town and you will see many at work in their studios. There are pounamu carvers, photographers, painters, gold, silver and copper smiths, glass blowers, sculptors, wood turners and potters. 

Our artisan community is celebrated in the annual Driftwood and Sand Beach Sculpture Event as well as the Take A Seat competition which sees a new art seat created every year around town. 

Browse the listings below to see what there is to do around Hokitika's history & heritage and arts & culture. 

See & Do

Mountain Jade - Weld Street
PH: (03) 755 8007 E:

FREE INTERACTIVE GUIDED TOURS DAILY - Learn about the history, formation & manufacture of jade. Mountain Jade has one of NZ's largest selection of quality & affordable Jade/Pounamu carvings & sculptures for you to choose from. A "Must Do" West Coast experience. 

Ross Goldfields Information & Heritage Area
PH: (03) 755 4077 E:

Home to New Zealand’s largest gold nugget “ The Honourable Roddy”. Pan for gold in our all weather area, gold pan hire or purchase your own. Gold jewellery, nuggets and souvenirs. History room with audio visual & working models. Open 7 Days

Shantytown Heritage Park
FREEPH: 0800 742 689

Step back in time to discover an all weather working heritage attraction. Legendary stories of pioneer West Coasters and early industrial technology are showcased through a range of exhibits and interactive activities in a recreated 1900’s village born of the gold rush era. Steam train rides, gold panning and old time photos are just some of the activities available.

Hokitika's Regent Theatre
PH: (03) 755 8101 E:

Beautiful refurbished Art Deco Theatre and Milk Bar. See all the latest movies on the Big Screen with latest digital projection technology, 3D and surround sound.Enjoy also the ambience and atmosphere in our new Reynolds Room Art House Cinema and view a unique blend of independent films. Check for film showings, live shows, other events and online bookings.

Hokitika Museum
PH: (03) 755 6898 E:

A regional history hub located in the historic Carnegie Building. Audio-visuals provide a great introduction to the West Coast while exhibitions tell stories of pounamu, tangata whenua, the gold-rush, whitebaiting and more. Don’t miss the giant Meccano model dredge or the quiz for kids! Open 7 days.

Hokitika Heritage Walk

LOCATION : Hokitika Town

EASY - Buggies/Strollers ok 
Time: 30 min for quayside and central town features. Longer if you want to see the whole thing
Access: From i-Site & Museum, or any point along the walk. 
Features: Goldrush & river-port town historic heritage sites, buildings & statues. Brochure & information panels bring history to life. Augmented reality is available in some spots so bring your smartphone and get the app. Request a brochure showing the whole walk from the Visitor i-Site. Photo credit: Steve Attwood

Kaniere Water Race Walkway - Walk

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

Time: 1 hour return / 3-4 hours one way
Access: Carpark at The Landing at the northern end of Lake Kaniere. Ends at Kennedy Ck near Kaniere Forks Power Station. A shorter easy section from The Landing to Wards Rd (1 hour return) is most popular.
Features: Follows historic, but still used, Kaniere Forks power station water-race, through virgin and regrowth forest. Freshwater mussels, cray and the odd trout may be spotted. Open to mountain biking. 

Mananui Tramline / Mahinapua Walkway - Walk

LOCATION : Lake Mahinapua

EASY-MODERATE - Buggies/Strollers ok
Time: 2 hours one way. 6 km
Access: 8km south of Hokitika on SH6. Or start 3km from Rimu on Rimu-Ross Rd
Features: Follows old logging tramway route through a cross section of West Coast bush history. It crosses a diverse range of landscapes including boardwalked wetlands, natural terrace rimu forest and regenerating native forest & pine, eucalypt & monterey cypress plantings. Detour to lakeside Picnic Point along fine rimu-forest ridge worthwhile (40 minute return trip detour to Picnic Point). Open to mountain biking as well. 

German Gully Pack Track & Goffs Track Loop - Walk

LOCATION : Awatuna/Goldsborough

Time: 1.5 hour loop
Access: Starts at Goldsborough camping area, crosses creek & climbs via German Gully Track to Scandinavian Hill Rd. Turn north here and return by Goffs Track & part of the Goldsborough Track.
Features: Historic goldmining features in regrowth native forest.

Tunnel Terrace Walk

LOCATION : Awatuna/Goldsborough

Time: 20 minute loop
Access: Signposted on Stafford-Goldsborough roadside with carpark.
Features: Track enters and exits through old goldmining tailrace tunnels and meanders through old gold workings. Passes through regenerating rimu, kamahi and tree fern forest. A great place to see glowworms at night. 

Goldsborough / Shamrock Track - Tramp

LOCATION : Awatuna/Goldsborough

Time: 4 hours one way. 8 km. 
Access: Starts at Goldsborough camping area. Ends on Callaghans Rd. Walk back along road or return transport required.
Features: Both ends of track feature signs of historic goldmining, including fine tunnels on Shamrock Ck. The higher portions of the track are one of the best remaining local examples of hill-country rimu & miro forest.

Ross Water Race Walkway - Walk


Time: 1 hour loop.
Access: Walk starts from Ross Visitor Centre.
Features: Follows Mt Greenland Rd up Jones Ck & loops back following water race. Replica miner's hut, several dam sites and tunnels. Passes through old Ross cemetery with views overlooking Ross and the Tasman Sea. Goldmining area relics to be seen on walk and at visitor centre.

Ross Historic Cemetery - Walk


Time: 10 min one way
Access: Walk starts from the top of St James Street near Visitor Centre.
Features: Part of the Ross Water Race Walkway. Short zig zags uphill before entering the Cemetery. Interesting headstones and great views.

Blue Spur Bushwalk - Walk

LOCATION : Arahura/Blue Spur

Time: 1.5 hour loop walk
Access: Carpark on Blue Spur Road
Features: Old Chinese goldmining workings: races, stone walls and shafts in regrowth native forest. Great fun for kids to explore but care required due to steeper sections, hidden drops and shafts. Stick to the track, wear good footwear as parts can be slick.

Blue Spur Tourist Drive

LOCATION : Arahura/Blue Spur

The Blue Spur Tourist Drive is a loop. Along the way there are two walks, Prossers Bush and the Blue Spur Bushwalk. The Blue Spur Bushwalk features interesting Old Chinese goldmining workings and an information panel at the small carpark. Drive along the terrace before dropping back to the Arahura River where you can read another information panel and learn about pounamu (NZ jade) before heading back south to Hokitika. This trip can be done in reverse too. 

Sunset Point - Walk and Scenic Lookout

LOCATION : Hokitika Beach

Time: 5 minutes walk from town centre.
Access: By foot, along beach, beach track, or Quayside section of Heritage Walk. By road via Sunset Point Rd.
Features: Sunsets, sunrises & starry nights. Hokitika rivermouth & beach. Lookout, views of NZ’s highest Mts. Cook (Aoraki) & Tasman (Horo Kawau). Tambo ‘shipwreck’. Information panels. Walks, picnicing, beach fossicking, fishing, & whitebaiting.

Londonderry Rock - Walk


Time: 10 min one way
Access: Turn off SH73, 1 km east of Kumara onto a metalled road running alongside a water race
Features: Walk passes through stone-fields of old goldmining tailings & manuka forest to huge glacier-deposited boulder, too big for the early miners to move or break.

Rimu Lookout - Walk and Scenic Lookout

LOCATION : Rimu / Woodstock

Time: 1 hour loop walk.
Access: Carpark at the top of Rimu Hill, 4km over Kaniere Bridge.
Features: Panoramic views of the Hokitika valley, and access to displays on the gold mining heritage of the area.

Art, Culture & Heritage

Wilderness Gallery
PH: (03) 755 7575 E: MOBILE: 021 184 0917

Discover NZ fine art and the local colours of the West Coast captured by photographer Juergen Schacke. His connection with the heart and soul of the Coast is evident in his incredible images. The Gallery is a fantastic way to take in the spirit of the region. Artwork can be posted worldwide.

Traditional Jade

PH: (03) 755 5233 E:

Traditional Jade is a locally owned small family business who are of Ngai Tahu descent. We have top quality affordable Jade/Pounamu carvings and sculptures. Come and visit our friendly knowledgeable team and see one of the biggest raw jade collections in New Zealand.

By Hoki Quilts
PH: 03 755 8515 E:

The only 100% patchwork and quilting store on the West Coast. Situated just 5km north of Hokitika town this home based store is run by an experienced quilter and trained teacher with over 40 years of experiecne with patchwork and who has an absolute passion for the craft. Mon & Weds 10am-9pm, Thurs & Fri 10am - 6pm, Sat 10am-1pm, Sun (summer only) 10am-1pm.  Sit'n Stitch days Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10 - 3.  Bring your lunch and your project and join like minded people for a social day or, come along and we can start you off.

TP Goldsmiths
PH: 03 755 6588 E:

Stroll down the world famous Revell St and step into another world....of Gold and Gems. The home of 'Luminary Jewellery', handcrafted jewels inspired by the 2013 Man Booker Prize winning novel 'The Luminaries'. Visit working jewellers creating distinctive 'West Coast Gold' wedding bands and NZ flavoured jewellery. Stockists of the iconic NZ Blue Pearls. 

Heritage Jade

PH: (03) 755 6514 E:

FEATURING POUNAMU – NEW ZEALAND JADE ONLY Call into Heritage Jade and see the finest carved pounamu pieces on the West Coast. Colin, our carver, is of Ngai Tahu descent and gathers and shapes this sacred stone himself to ensure best quality. Located opposite NZ Post.

Tectonic Jade
PH: 03 755 6644

Gallery specialising in 100% pounamu/NZ jade. Unique works of art and jewellery for those who love to be individual. Highly recommended by Lonely Planet - "The work by local carver Rex Scott is arguably the best in town". Garden Cafe with amazing coffee and great food also on site as well as pre-loved vintage clothing. 


PH: (03) 755 6336 E:

Ian Phillips is first and foremost a creator of things of beauty. His copper sculptures are all handcrafted, textured, formed and then coloured with Ian’s unique method of controlled heat patina. Ian focuses on creating New Zealand species of sealife, landscapes, birds, plants and insects. Gemstones and jewellery are also available at his South Bank Art Studio.

PH: (03) 755 5007 E:

The Kiwi way of fashion, living & gift giving. The culture and surroundings of our unique Islands inspires our range of locally sourced New Zealand décor and carefully selected international pieces of quality. Capture your experiences with a keepsake and take home a piece of New Zealand. For a captivating shopping experience visit us in-store or online. Opp. Fat Pippi Pizza.

Mountain Jade - Tancred Street
PH: (03) 755 8009 E:

Come visit our friendly, knowledgeable staff and view the large selection of Jade/Pounamu jewellery and sculptures. Something for everyone at great prices. Open 7 days

Hokitika Glass Studio
PH: (03) 755 7775 E: FREEPH: 0800 178 445

Glass blowing-designer art forms. View master glassblowers handcrafting glassware, art glass, giftware, souvenirs, tableware & glass beads. All available from our large showroom. Open 7 days.

Hokitika Craft Gallery
PH: (03) 755 8802 E:

A cooperative of 15 crafts people and artists. The gallery is run by it’s members who make unique designs to the highest standards. Wood, jade, silver, bone, pottery, fibre and art are featured. Open 8.30am to 5pm. Summer hours 8.30am to 8.30pm.

The Gold Room
PH: (03) 755 8362 E:

NATURAL GOLD NUGGETS. As found, natural West Coast gold nuggets & flakes sourced from present day gold mines. Watch our jeweller working with the as found gold, creating beautiful gold nugget jewellery. Hold a large gold nugget in your hand and experience the amazing weight of gold. Studio & Gallery Open 7 days.

Westland Greenstone Ltd

PH: (03) 755 8713 E:

Established in 1962 and proud to be following the tradition of manufacturing and selling exclusively genuine NZ jade. Watch our craftsmen at work in our bright and welcoming showroom. Choose from top quality jewellery, ornaments or polished stone. Our expert friendly staff will help you buy with confidence. Open 7 days.


Urban Hub

PH: Zest 03 744 6970 FREEPH: Ramble & Ritual 03 755 6347 MOBILE: Maria's Beauty 021 071 7370

Urban Hub is the stylish new retail/pampering destination in Hokitika. Set in an industrial, open plan surround offering Floristry, Beauty, everyday things we love to surround ourselves in, and seriously good espresso, all under one roof. Great off street parking with fantastic service and loads of gift and treat ideas.

Take Note Hokitika Bookshop
PH: (03) 755 8167 E:

Booksellers, Stationers & Rare West Coast Books. Top selling West Coast, NZ & international books, magazines & papers. Book-finding & mail order for new & rare books. Guidebooks, maps, postcards, stamps & travel games. Open 7 days.


Kaniere Empire Hotel

PH: 03 755 8443 E:

Legendary West Coast hospitality, West Coast craft beers, Comfy budget accommodation, Guest lounge/kitchen. Mingle with colourful local characters, hear our unique history and stories, have a laugh, learn where to go for outdoor adventure. 'HIRE-A-PUB' Ideal base for corporate, sporting and social clubs. Find us on Facebook. 

Seaview Lodge & Kotuku Hostel

PH: (03) 755 5230 E:

The lodge to relax and enjoy the spectacular views of the Southern Alps and sunset of the Tasman Ocean. Accommodating up to 20 persons. Also available, Kotuku Hostel which accommodates 50 persons.

Teichelmanns’ B & B
PH: (03) 7558232 E: FREEPH: 0800743742

‘History... With a Touch of Class’. An historic, character house centrally located within the heritage area of Hokitika. Welcoming, friendly hosts. Recommended in Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, Frommers & Fodors. King size beds, ensuite bathrooms, Spa bath ensuite Garden Cottage, substantial breakfasts. Walk to nearby cafes, restaurants and craft galleries, stroll on the beach and experience a magnificent West Coast sunset. Moderate Tariff Rates.

Awatuna Homestead
PH: (03) 755 6834 E: FREEPH: 0800 006 888

A family home since 1874, on the seacoast midway Greymouth/Hokitika. Eco-friendly Classic accommodation 2 hrs from the Glaciers, 2 hrs from Punakaiki Rocks and 3.5 hrs from Christchurch. 5 ensuite luxury rooms. Base yourselves at the Homestead, taking relaxing day trips to interesting and exciting places on the West Coast.

Hokitika Heritage Lodge
PH: (03) 7557357 E: FREEPH: 0800261949 MOBILE: 0274371254

Our boutique lodge overlooks extensive views of the Tasman Sea, Hokitika, the Southern Alps and Mt Cook. Bank House B & B has three spacious ensuite rooms and a guest lounge, Wi-Fi. 

Our Gatehouse Cottage is self-catering, with 2 beautifully appointed bedrooms with private bathroom, lounge, dining and full kitchen.  Stay a night or more and explore the beautiful West Coast.

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