Escorted Rail Tours to Hokitika
Discover the local jade industry
Hokitika was founded as a township in 1864, initially to serve the local gold rush. The town thrived during this time, and by the late 1860s boasted a harbour that was second only to Auckland's in terms of the traffic it handled. As the town was so busy, it became the official port of entry to the West Coast. The Customhouse still stands in the town today.
When the gold rush finished, the town's population dwindled. The harbour was still busy, but a lack of coal in the area meant that it was not sustainable in the long term. But it did remain an official entry port until the 1950s. Hokitika is perhaps best known today for its jade, as the green stone was discovered in the vicinity. There is a wonderful factory detailing the process of creating jade items and jewellery, detailing the process from extraction to completion.