If you like lovely unimaginable sights, then Hokitika Gorge is just about as unimaginable as you can get. Situated on the west coast of New Zealand, This beautiful gorge is just 30 minutes’ drive from Hokitika. With just a short walk to the first viewing platform it is well worth the time and effort.
The gorge is in an area that was carved out by glaciers it has a sandy bottom to the beautiful blue river that runs along its base. With native bush running along the top and the granite stone sides the colours are absolutely stunning. The viewing platform leads on across a swing bridge to bring you closer to the amazing blue water and granite sides
In 1864 Gold was discovered in the Taramakau Valley and the Hokitika river mouth was the closest landing spot for the gold diggers. This spawned the town of Hokitika as so many gold diggers arrived, traders came too to supply the needs of the gold diggers and for a short time Hokitika had 4,000 residents.
The gold mining started to decline and by the turn of the century Hokitika had settled at about 2,000 residents. Due to the hazardous features of the estuary travellers preferred to go elsewhere and the town was reduced to a service town for the local community of dairy farmers and foresters.
The Opening of the coastal Highway 6 in 1965 brought people through Hokitika on their way to the glaciers and thus the hospitality and tourist trade started to take shape, with hiking, kayaking and trails past the gorge and to other places of interest. With the added interest of Jade carving The population has again increased through the 20th century to nearer 3000.
It has been said that if you visit the gorge after heavy rainfall then the crystal clear water turns murky grey as it carries the silt washed from further up river along with it, so best to leave that until the water has settled again. If you go in the winter it is a lot quieter. With less people around you can feel the intensity of the awesome size of this natural wonder and so enjoy the visit so much more.
There are various scenic drives that take you passed the gorge and on to other locations such as the Kowhitirangi Memorial honouring the 7 victims of a mass shooting by Stanley Graham, a deranged farmer. The drives take you through lush farmland with views of the Alpine mountains, you can also visit Lake Kaniere Scenic reserve and take a gravel road past Dorethy falls.
There are numerous walks and trails through this beautiful scenic countryside, that are all built with easy access for wheelchairs and buggies. Hokitika is also included in tourist routes down the west coast to the glaciers, across and up the east coast. As such this is now a very excepted and important part of the New Zealand tourist economy and the beauty beautiful scenery will not disappoint the visitors.
For more information visit Wikipedia – Hokitika River
Google map of Hokitika Gorge:
Next shot by Paula Frank (Instagram)