Position: Trade Development Specialist
What is your favourite ‘undiscovered location’ in New Zealand?
Hokitika. It’s halfway down the West Coast where the landscape and scenery starts to really show off just how diverse New Zealand is. Rainforest, wild ocean beaches, sea cliffs, adventure activities, glaciers and mountains all in one photo frame. The whole drive along the West Coast, into and out of Hokitika is simply stunning.
Why is it special to you?
There’s just something about the West Coast, the first time I explored that region I realised why people overseas rave about New Zealand. The West Coast is known for its wild ruggedness and the beach at Hokitika is spectacular for that. It’s a surprising place. Small and isolated but with a small township, enough accommodation and restaurants to make it a great place to visit. The sunsets are incredible! At dusk, all year round, the beachfront at Hokitika is a busy place. Loads of people standing around hoping to get a glimpse of the green flash as the sun drops over the horizon and into the ocean. If you’re really lucky and get a super clear day, you can see all the way to the tip of Mt Cook.
Who did you travel with?
I’ve been there multiple times – it’s a great place for a good old classic road trip. Many of the tour buses go there. I’ve also cycled the West Coast road as a tour leader with groups from the USA. A bit of a challenge to get the whole way but really worth it.
What is your best piece of advice for people visiting this location?
Visit in January after the Sun & Sea Festival to see amazing driftwood works of art the whole way down the beach. Some of them storeys high and they usually remain there for a few weeks until the weather and ocean washes them away for the year.
For something a little different there are a couple of local operators offering bone or greenstone carving. It’s pretty cool on your holiday to do something creative and take a way a little piece of New Zealand culture with you. They turn out just as good as any store-bought piece and take a couple of hours to make.
What is the closest airport/how do you get there?
Air New Zealand operate direct flights to Hokitika from Christchurch and connections from around New Zealand.
The most incredible way to get there is by car, coach or the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth, via Arthur’s Pass. Once you get to Greymouth, Hokitika is approx. 40 minutes’ drive south. Arthur's Pass, climbing to more than 900 metres through Arthur's Pass National Park, is the highest and most spectacular pass across the Southern Alps.