Date: 16 August 2020
Hokitika Gorge, a popular sightseeing spot in Hokitika has become a walking destination with a new bridge and loop track creating a one-hour walking experience.
The track is being recognised as a DOC 'Short Walk' marking it as a premier short walk.
The Hokitika Gorge has been a scenic destination where generations of West Coasters have brought their visitors to view the granite gorge, turquoise water and surrounding bushland set against a backdrop of the Southern Alps.
The latest upgrade has expanded the previously 15-minute experience at the gorge to around an hour, making the most of the scenery with extra time in the bush and a new 90-metre suspension bridge which provides views upstream of the gorge towards the Southern Alps.
The area surrounding the gorge was gazetted as a scenic reserve in 1953, but reports of parties venturing out to view gorge from Hokitika since the early 1900s are numerous.
Nicole Kunzmann, DOC Operations Manager, says: “DOC recognises this site is treasured by the people of Hokitika as a place to experience nature, and is an important attraction for visitors to the area who come here to experience the beautiful turquoise water, mountains and bush as previous generations have also done”.
“The new track provides great views from many different spots in the gorge, and is a much longer walk, which we think people will love!”
The work to extend the Hokitika Gorge experience has been done jointly with Westland District Council, who extended the carpark, upgraded and widened a 5km stretch of the road to the gorge and contributed to building the new toilet block.
The work has been supported by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment which provided funding for both the road, the carpark and toilets, and supported initial work by DOC to design the new experience.
Hokitika Gorge is a 40 minute drive inland from Hokitika.
Conservation Week 2020
Communities nationwide are being encouraged to look at nature through new eyes during Conservation Week 2020, which this year is from 15 to 23 August.
Conservation Week is an annual event led by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and this year’s focus is on the well-being benefits of spending time in nature, says DOC Director General Lou Sanson.
“As we work together to defeat COVID-19, many of us are looking at life and our world with different perspectives.
“Nature hasn’t changed – but we have. We’ve had to slow down and take time to reflect on the most important things in our lives. We’ve had to change how we live, and what we can do.
“For Conservation Week 2020, 15-23 August, we’re encouraging everyone to look at nature through new eyes.”
“Immerse yourself in nature this Conservation Week – online or offline - and embrace what’s always been there. Look, listen, breathe and feel.”
If you can spend time in nature, please do so safely and sensibly, and in line with the COVID Alert Level rules for your area.
“If nature isn’t immediately available to you, join us for some great nature experiences on DOC’s digital channels.
“Take time to explore your relationship with nature and enjoy its benefits – Papatūānuku’s wellbeing is our wellbeing.”
Find out more at www.conservationweek.org.nz
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