Hokitika Beach, New Zealand: Where Nature Paints the Perfect Canvas on a Wild West Coast

Welcome to Hokitika Beach, a hidden gem nestled on New Zealand's West Coast of the South Island.

Sunset Photography Landscapes from Hokitika Beach, on the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand

Sunset Photography Opportunities on the West Coast

This enchanting destination is a testament to Mother Nature's artistic prowess, where dramatic seascapes, lush rainforests, and captivating sunsets come together to create a masterpiece. If you're seeking a serene escape that combines relaxation and adventure, Hokitika Beach is your answer.

Hokitika is a Coastal Wonder

Finding Hokitika Beach on New Zealand's South Island

Hokitika Beach is situated on the South Island's West Coast, approximately 120km south of Greymouth town on SH6. The drive to Hokitika is an adventure in itself, as you traverse through the untamed wilderness of New Zealand's West Coast, surrounded by dense rainforests and towering mountains.

Upon reaching Hokitika, follow the signs to the beach-front. You'll know you've arrived when you hear the sounds of the Tasman Sea waves crashing on the shore.

There's a map of Hokitika Beach at the bottom of this page.

Hokitika Beach Walk

Hokitika Beach Walk, Easy Walk, Low Fitness Level, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

The Untamed Beauty of Hokitika Beach

Hokitika Beach is a place where nature is the artist, and its canvas is ever-changing. The beach is known for its dramatic driftwood sculptures, some of which have formed by the relentless forces of the ocean and weather, other structures made from driftwood have been constructed by locals or tourists.

These stunning pieces of art are a testament to the relentless power of nature and interpretation of inspired creators, many of whom participate in the yearly Hokitika driftwood competition.

Driftwood on Hokitika Beach

Driftwood on Hokitika Beach, on the Wild West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand

The beach stretches for miles in both directions, inviting long walks along its untouched shores. The seemingly endless stretch of golden sand is perfect for a peaceful stroll, beachcombing, or simply soaking in the breathtaking scenery.

The Wild West Coast of the South Island

Hokitika Attractions

Hokitika Walks

The West Coast of New Zealand is renowned for its rugged beauty, and Hokitika Beach is no exception. The Tasman Sea's wild temperament creates an awe-inspiring backdrop for the beach. It's a photographer's dream, with constantly changing lighting conditions that transform the scenery throughout the day.

Experiencing Hokitika Beach

Hokitika Beach Sunsets

The Hokitika Beach sunset is a spectacle that will leave you in awe. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky ignites with a kaleidoscope of colours, painting the heavens with hues of orange, pink, blue, deep red, and purple. Clouds add drama to the mix, from serene wispy cloud to dark storm clouds, they all contribute to your experience of the famous Hokitika sunsets.

Photograph Hokitika Beach Sunsets

Hokitika BeachSunset across the Tasman Sea on the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand

Photography at Hokitika Beach

The driftwood sculptures and the silhouettes of waves create a surreal atmosphere that's perfect for photographers and romantics alike. 

Practically every day at sunset you will see why this beach is so famous for watching the sun go down and grabbing some dramatic photographs. This beach really is a worthy destination for photographers of all levels taking advantage of the beautiful light!

Hokitika Surf Beach

Hokitika Surfing Beach in the Tasman Sea, on the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand

Maori Culture

The Hokitika area has deep connections to the indigenous Maori culture. Visitors have the opportunity to explore Maori art, particularly greenstone/pounamu jade carving, and heritage at the local galleries and museums. Don't miss the chance to witness traditional Maori performances and learn about the rich cultural history of the region.

Hokitika Glow-worm Dell

I love this place... Just a short distance from Hokitika Beach is the enchanting Glow-worm Dell. Step into a world of wonder as you enter a dark, dense forest illuminated by thousands of glowworms. The glowworm dell is free to visit on your own, or you can take a guided tour to learn about these fascinating creatures and witness their magical bioluminescent displays.

Hokitika Glowworm Dell is located on the approach to Hokitika from the north on SH6 (State Highway 6), just as you enter the outskirts of Hokitika. There is parking at the entrance and has just a 50 metre track to the glow-worms. During daylight there are cute little New Zealand Fantail birds there, and other native birds species too.

Adventure Awaits at Hokitika Beach

Hokitika Beach is not only about serene moments but also offers a plethora of adventures for thrill-seekers. Try your hand at paddleboarding or surfing in the Tasman Sea's waves.

The beach is known for its excellent surfing conditions, making it a destination for water sports enthusiasts. On calmer days you may see surfers enjoying the Tasman Sea, but note that on days where the sea is rough this section of coast is too dangerous even for the best surfers. Please check the conditions locally before entering the sea.

For a unique perspective of the area, embark on a scenic helicopter ride or scenic flight. Soar above the coastline and marvel at the untouched wilderness that surrounds Hokitika. You might even spot a pod of dolphins or a curious seal from your lofty vantage point.

Exploring Hokitika Town

Local Cuisine

After a day of beach-combing and exploration, head into the charming Hokitika Township for a taste of local cuisine. The West Coast is famous for its fresh seafood, and you'll find an array of restaurants serving up delicacies like green-lipped mussels and whitebait fritters. Pair your meal with a glass of New Zealand's renowned Sauvignon Blanc for the perfect dining experience.

Arts and Crafts in Hokitika

Hokitika is a hub for artisans and craftsmen, known for its greenstone (pounamu) carving, jewellery, and intricate woodwork. Visit the shops, local galleries, and studios to witness these skilled carvers and artisans at work and bring home a unique piece of New Zealand as a souvenir. Some galleries and shops run workshops where you can carve your own piece of jade / pounamu.

Hokitika Driftwood Art

The artistic theme continues from the beach into the town, where you'll find stunning driftwood sculptures created by local artists. These pieces are often inspired by the rugged beauty of Hokitika Beach and the surrounding wilderness.

There is an annual Hokitika Driftwood Competition!

Hokitika Beach Walk

Fitness Level: Easy walking / low level fitness

Time: The time you take is your choice, it's a long beach!

Access: Multiple access points include Gibson Quay, Sunset Point Rd, Beach St, some access points between properties along Revell Street,  and the corner where Richards Drive meets Revell Street at the north end of Hokitika. (See the map below)

Access to the Beach

Access to Hokitika Beach from Sunset Point, Hokitika, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Attractions: Magnificent beach with some black sand along with pebbles, driftwood and driftwood sculptures, views of mountains (including Mt Cook sometimes), sunsets, sunrises, excellent night skies on clear nights. Walks, picnics, fossicking, building driftwood art or sandcastles, wild sea and coast, surfing (for experienced surfers) swimming (for very experienced swimmers). If you see any Little Blue Penguins please don't disturb them, only watch them from a good distance, and keep dogs on a lead if you have any (one of the biggest threats to the survival of Little Penguins is dogs).

List of more Hokitika Walks

The South Island West Coast

West Coast Region information provides places to go down the coast along with what to do in the area outside of Hokitika Township. Also see map below.

Where to Stay around Hokitika

Hokitika offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. From campsites and hostels, cosy beach front cottages, to luxurious lodges with ocean views, you'll find the perfect place to relax after a day of exploration. Be sure to book in advance, especially during the peak summer season, to secure your ideal stay.


Hokitika Beach, New Zealand, is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered by you, your friends, and family. Its unspoiled beauty, captivating sunsets, and rich Maori culture make it an ideal destination for travellers seeking a unique and unforgettable experience.

Whether you're a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or simply in search of tranquillity, Hokitika Beach has something to offer everyone. Plan your visit and let the untamed beauty of New Zealand's West Coast region leave an indelible mark on your soul.

Hokitika Beach Map

When you are in Hokitika, visit the Hokitika iSite for information and to book activities- External Link