We stumbled upon Hokitika Gorge while net surfing pictures of the South Island. There are lots of photos on the net but not a lot of information. From the photos we saw we knew it was something we had to see and were not disappointed. We got a local map once we were in town and made our way to the gorge. Aprrox 33km south of the township and about a 45min drive. We wandered around for a while and took in the awesome scenery and wished we had more time to go canoeing. But we had to get back to Franz Josef.
Located on the right side of the road near Hari Hari is Wanganui River. People of the past used to pan for gold here. People of the present do their rafting here. Stop by the river and be immersed in the cool breeze brought about by the rapids.
Hari Hari is a small dairy farming settlement located in between the Glaciers and Hokitika. Here's a place where there are more cows than sheeps. Another scenic stop before trodding along to the Glaciers.
The lake is a real picture postcard moment. The calm, reflective waters is a good place to take photographs and to just soak in the calmness. The lake is near the towns of Pukekura and Harihari. It also lies between the town of Ross and the Franz Josef Glacier.
Use State Highway 6 to get to this lake.
Ross is a small town which is a 30 mins drive South of Hokitika. It has a colourful history and is orignally built on gold.
Ross proved to be gold-rich and the town thrived with about 2500 inhabitants. A vast amount of gold was extracted from the area, but the major Ross gold rush ended in the early 1870s, with most large mining operations turning their attention to new areas.
The Ross Goldfields Visitor Information & Heritage Centre is located at Aylmer St.
Shantytown is a replica of an early gold mining township. It is situated 10 km south of Greymouth. The search for gold continues today, and the history of those early years is always close by.
History comes alive at Shantytown, It is situated near the site of an old gold claim, and complete with livery stables, blacksmith, fire station, hospital, printing works, shop, banks, saloon, gaol, working sawmill with over 30 historic buildings crammed with artifacts.
At the Shantytown gold claim you can pan for gold just like the early prospectors and you will be assured of winning a souvenir to bring back home.
Take one of the 3 vintage steam trains which will stop at the Infants Creek Swmill where you could take a short walk and pan for your gold nuggets.
Punakaiki is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. It is a must to stop by for the spectacular natural landscape when visiting the West Coast.
The Pancake Rocks are columns of limestone resembling stacks of pancakes. At high tide with a heavy swell running, seawater is forced upwards through blowholes. Walk out to Dolomite Point to watch the blowholes at its best at high tide.
Other than the Pancake Rocks, you may walk the Truman Track which is a 15 mins walk thru the forest to a coast of caves and coves. The Pororari Track linking with longer walks and tramps are on the Inland Pack Track system.
Visit the Bullock Creek as you see it disappearing and reappearing before your eyes.
Call in at the Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre to see what Punakaiki has to offer.
This is where you could watch a dramatic audiovisual to find out much more about a special spot that has so many secrets.
Punakaiki is located at hour drive from Hokitika along the StateHighway 6 (betwen Westport and Greymouth).
Starting from a carpark just past the southern end of the lake, the walk way is a four hour tramp that passes along the western shore of the lake. Suitable for people of average fitness. There are many picturesque bays and numerous forest streams and lush lakeside forest. The track ends at Sunny Bight picnic area at the northern end of the lake.