Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve

Include a visit to Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve to your tour if you are visiting the West Coast of New Zealand.

The gorge is a location not to be missed; it does look just like the vision presented in images, and you will be amazed when you first see the unusual turquoise blue water of the Hokitika River making its way through the steep sided gorge!

Hokitika Gorge Turquoise Water and Native Bush

Hokitika Gorge Turquoise Water of Hokitika River and New Zealand Native Bush, West Coast, South Island

Hokitika Gorge Walk

From the car park it’s only a short walk to get to view Hokitika Gorge along a well maintained walkway track through native bush and forest consisting of Rimu and Podocarp.

List of other Hokitika Walks

Gorge Walk Distances

  • Viewing Platform 150m / 4 min
  • Swing Bridge 450m / 10 min
  • River Edge 650m / 15 min

Hokitika Gorge walk photos, images of the boardwalk.

Hokitika Gorge Walking Track Distances

Hokitika Gorge Walk Distances, West Coast, New Zealand

Viewing Platform

The walk brings you the first viewing platform after 4 minutes that provides an excellent view looking down over the Hokitika Gorge, the amazing waters in the river, and the swing bridge.

Hokitika Gorge Viewing Platform

Hokitika Gorge Viewing Platform, Scenic Reserve, West Coast, New Zealand

Hokitika Gorge and Swing Bridge View

Aerial view of Hokitika Gorge turquoise water and swing bridge, West Coast, New Zealand

In the other direction the view follows the river out of the gorge and across Kowhitirangi farming country.

Hokitika Gorge Walk View of Kowhitirangi Farmland

Hokitika Gorge Walk View of Kowhitirangi Farming Country, West Coast, New Zealand

The Gorge Bridge

Continuing on the walk takes you down to the swing bridge. From the bridge level you get a different view of the unusual blue-green coloured Hokitika River water winding its way through the steep rocky sides of the gorge.

Turquoise Water of Hokitika River and the Swing Bridge Over the Gorge

Turquoise Water of Hokitika River and the Swing Bridge Over the Gorge, West Coast, New Zealand

You can then choose to cross the high swing bridge and turn left once on the other side which leads to further gorge views that can’t be seen from the other side of the river. From there you can continue the Hokitika Gorge walk for around 200 metres to another viewing platform providing a view up river from the swing bridge.

Visitors Enjoying the Gorge

Visitors to Hokitika Gorge sitting on the rocks by the side of the river in the sun, West Coast, New Zealand

Information boards details and gorge walk map are further down this page… along with directions to get to Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve from SH6 at Hokitika.

Hokitika Gorge Swing Bridge

There is a warning on the swing bridge that a limited number of people should be on the bridge at one time due to the impact of weight on the bridge.

Swing Bridge Maximum Weight Warning Sign

Hokitika Gorge Swing Bridge Weight Warning Sign, West Coast, New Zealand

So don’t go on it if that number of people will exceed the recommendation on the sign on the sign at the entrance to the swing bridge.

The bridge does sway or swing when people are crossing, it is pretty high too. Sometimes other people purposefully make the bridge swing when they are on it (for a laugh).

So if you don’t want to be on a wobbling swinging swing bridge, check out who is on the bridge before crossing.

Information Boards at Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve

Gorge Walk Information

An information board at the car park displays an overview of the gorge and walking track and provides all the details you need about the walk, length of time for the walk, where the viewing platforms are, accessibility, and the reserve rules (such as no dogs allowed).

Gorge boardwalk photos

Hokitika Gorge and Walk Information Board

Hokitika Gorge Map and Walk Information Board, NZ South Island

Hokitika Gorge Formation

Another information board provides historic and scientific information of how Hokitika Gorge was formed over time according to geology and elements such as water.

The Making of Hokitika Gorge Information Board

How Hokitika Gorge was made information board at the car park, New Zealand


I recommend you take sandfly repellent with you to Hokitika Gorge to prevent sand-fly bites ruining your experience. The sandflies at the Gorge can be pretty savage sometimes. If you have already experienced sand flies on the West Coast you probably have some in your bag anyway!

How to Get to Hokitika Gorge

Hokitika Gorge Signpost
Hokitika Gorge Signpost to Car Park and Walk, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

It is 33km from Hokitika town to Hokitika Gorge and it is well worth the drive. There is a car park with toilet facilities there and information boards.

Head inland from Hokitika by turning off SH6 onto Stafford Street which changes into Kaniere Road.

From there the route to the Hokitika Gorge is well signposted all along the route. Basically, just follow the signs all along the route and be aware there are a few turnings, although sometimes the turnings are on the same road name.

Right onto Kaniere-Kowhitirangi Road, right at the T junction to remain on Kaniere-Kowhitirangi Road, cross a one-way bridge then turn left which is also Kaniere-Kowhitirangi Road, then a right to continue on Kaniere-Kowhitirangi Road. Left onto Johnston Road, right onto Nielson Road, left onto Whitcombe Valley Road and that road will take you all way to the Hokitika Gorge car park.

Keep your eye out for the Koiterangi Incident Memorial along the way, it is about 14km from Hokitika.

Hokitika and West Coast

Things to do in Hokitika and on the West Coast of the South Island.

Hokitika Walks

Hokitika Attractions

Accommodation around Hokitika