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

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.

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. 

Arahura Greenstone Tours
PH: 03 755 6937 E: FREEPH: 0800 545 055

Guided along the sacred Arahura River you will journey and learn the significance of Pounamu important to the Kati Waewae Hapu (West Coast Tribal Authority). Authentic Legends will be shared passed down through generations from the local Maori elders. Arahura Greenstone tour is an unique culture, finding, carving experience.  Find and make your own piece of New Zealand History on the last private river on earth.

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

Beautiful refurbished Art Deco Theatre and Cafe. See all the latest movies on the Big Screen with latest digital projection technology and surround sound. Check for movie session times, live shows, other events and online bookings.

Shantytown Heritage Park
PH: 03 762 6634 E: FREEPH: 0800 742 689

Step back in time to discover an all weather working heritage attraction. Legendary stories of pioneering West Coasters and early industrial technology are showcased through a range of exhibits and interactive activities in a recreated 1800’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 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.

Stone Mats

PH: 03 755 6649 E:

Iconic West Coast Stone tablemats and door mats are made and sold from here, 3 kms north of Hokitika on the main road. Look for the large sign on the seaside of the road. From lightweight coasters through to door mats. Ideal gift or lasting momento of our natural environment. 


PH: 03 755 7448 E:

We stock an extensive range of gifts and souvenirs sourced from local artists and throughout NZ to ensure you have lasting memories of your visit to Hokitika. We are locally owned and operated with a central location and open seven days. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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 Pearl.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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, Merino Possum, Icebreaker Merino clothing, paua products, NZ Skincare and much more. Our expert friendly staff will help you buy with confidence. Open 7 days.

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 Craft Gallery
PH: (03) 755 8802 E:

A cooperative of around 15 local crafts people and artists. The gallery is run by it’s members who make unique designs to the highest standards. Wood, NZ Jade, Silver & Gold,  Bone, Pottery, Fibre, Flax, Art are featured. Open 7 days 8.30 - 5.00 (Winter 9.30 - 5). POUNAMU / JADE   -  NEW ZEALAND STONE


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.

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.


The Possum People
PH: (03) 756 8090 E:

A Sales/Workroom. Extensive range of NZ Possum Fur products including exclusive fur garments: boots, hats, collars, bed throws and our own line of Possum, Merino, Cashmere luxury knitwear & accessories: clothing, gloves & socks. Lightweight and warm, easily laundered, great prices. 40 years in the trade. Open 7 days. 

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. 

Awatuna Homestead
PH: (03) 755 6834 E:

Timeless, country elegance in a villa-style homestead with well-appointed bedrooms and bathrooms. Guest lounge - a favourite, country kitchen, farm-style Continental breakfast, B&B basis. Evening Pacific-rim cuisine in the dining room, enclosed veranda or garden courtyard. As we cook exclusively for our guests prior reservation essential, please contact us.

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.

Teichelmann's Bed & Breakfast
PH: (03) 7558232 E: MOBILE: 0277558232

‘History... With a Touch of Class’. An historic, character house centrally located in 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 cafes, restaurants, galleries and beach. Experience a stunning West Coast sunset. Moderate Tariffs.

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