Hokitika Gorge: A Hidden South Island Gem

Apparently all it takes to stun us is a simple recipe of rock flower, melted glacier ice, and river water.

Those ingredients are what creates the incredible milky turquoise blue water we found at the Hokitika Gorge earlier this week.

It's almost been a week and we are still talking about that water.

It’s almost been a week and we are still talking about that water.

The Hokitika Gorge should be on everyones must-see list. But funny enough, it isn’t marked by any of the hundreds of big brown tourist site signs in New Zealand, and it wasn’t mentioned in any of the guidebooks we used for research. The only reason we even knew about the gorge was a couple lines we found on a New Zealand tourist website about Hokitika Gorge being “pretty.” Talk about an understatement.

We had no idea what to expect, but were enjoying our walk through the lush green arched tunnels of vegetation, when we got to the first lookout point and saw that water.

The path to the gorge is gorgeous as well. See what I did there?

The path to the gorge is gorgeous as well. See what I did there?

The only other time we had seen anything even close to it was last summer at Plitvice National Park in Croatia. But, in Plitvice, we were competing with hundreds of people for a view or a photo and here we had the entire park to ourselves. It was incredible!

The park has a really nice route to hike allowing you to get several vantage points too. You walk through thick forest until your sightline opens up and you are able to see the river.

In order to cross the gorge, they have a swaying footbridge which provides an amazing view of the river below.

The bridge was a bit bouncy, but not so much that it felt like you would fall into the turquoise water below.

The bridge was a bit bouncy, but not so much that it felt like you would fall into the turquoise water below.

Towards the end of the short trek, you can also walk down to the black sand beach and feel the water which is surprisingly warm considering it is fed partially by a glacier.

Before I was able to make it to the water though, I was caught up by the black sand which is almost fluffy, and it is unlike any sand I’ve ever seen.

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Black flour anyone?

Add this to your must-visit list of things to do on the South Island!

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