Hokitika is the most southerly substantial town on the West Coast. From Hokitika, there are only modest hamlets and the two glacier towns at Fox and Franz Josef, all the way to Wānaka.

The history of these West Coast towns was rough – rapid growth during the gold rush of the 1800s, then more or less gradual decline until tourism began to have an impact in the last two decades.

Now it has cafes and bars and a no longer ignored beach, where the mountains of driftwood have become a kind of local art form. The main attraction is a stroll through town and along the still wild beach. In March, there is the popular Wild Food Festival.

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