Image: Shellie Evans | ©
From the car park, follow the walking track for a few minutes through dense podocarp/hardwood forest before emerging onto a viewing platform. From here you can look down to the stunning Hokitika Gorge and out to the lush farmland of Kowhitirangi. This part of the track is accessible for wheelchairs.
From the viewing platform, continue for another 6 minutes along the curving boardwalks and you will reach a swing bridge. From here there are excellent views of the blue-green waters of the Hokitika River as it makes its way through the rock sided Hokitika Gorge.
For good views further up the gorge, cross the swing bridge and when you come to the end of it turn left (straight ahead leads to private farmland). The track continues for another 200 m through the bush to another viewing platform with looking out to the gorge upstream of the bridge.
Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve is 33 km east of Hokitika. Leave Hokitika's main road by turning inland onto Stafford St which become Kaniere Rd, then Kaniere-Kowhitirangi Rd. South of Kokatahi the road turns sharp left, then sharp right. Turn left into Johnston Rd, right into Nielson Rd, and left into Whitcombe Valley Rd.
Young children should be closely supervised at the end of the track.
The Hokitika River is swift, cold, and dangerous in all conditions. The consequences of swimming can and have been fatal. The gorge is steeply sided and exiting the river can be very difficult.