Greymouth vs Hokitika Which city is better for vacation

Greymouth vs Hokitika: Which city is better for vacation?

Trying to figure out if Greymouth or Hokitika is the better city to stay in for vacation? Greymouth and Hokitika each have their charms, so it depends on what you’re looking for in your stay. 

If you prefer a wider range of recreational activities and better transport connections, Greymouth may be the better option. However, Hokitika could be the perfect choice if you’re looking for a more tranquil setting focusing on arts and nature.

Want to know more? We’ve been to both several times, so we’ll lay out the differences we’ve found in accessibility and transportation, accommodation, attractions and more!

Accessibility and Transportation in Greymouth vs Hokitika 

Greymouth has a slight edge regarding transportation options due to its role as the West Coast’s transportation hub and access to the Tranz Alpine train. However, Hokitika has better accessibility as its airport offers daily commercial flights compared to Greymouth’s charter-only airport.

Greymouth’s Transportation and Accessibility 

Greymouth serves as a central transportation hub for the West Coast. It has a railway station and a private charter airport. Many Kiwis and tourists get in and out of Greymouth by using a car, taking the train, or taking public transportation.

The most common transportation options in Greymouth are the following:

  • TranzAlpine: This train service offers daily departures from Greymouth to Christchurch, with stunning views of the Southern Alps.
  • Public Bus: Several bus companies, such as Intercity, have routes connecting Greymouth to various South Island destinations. But the Greymouth City Bus offers regular service throughout Greymouth. 
  • Taxis: We’ve used Greymouth Taxis’ 24/7 service to get through the city. If you use them, be prepared for their fees to be more expensive than the public bus. 
  • Rental Car: If you’re travelling in a group and need a car, we suggest checking out Apex Rental Cars

Hokitika’s Transportation and Accessibility 

Hokitika is a smaller town than Greymouth, but is still easily accessible by road via State Highway 6, and its airport has daily flights to and from Christchurch. Since Hokitika is a smaller town, most attractions, shops, and restaurants are within walking distance.

When we weren’t walking everywhere, we used the following transport to get around town: 

  • Public Bus: Right away, you may note as we did how organized the public transport is in Hokitika. The local buses stop at various locations throughout the town, including the Hokitika Gorge!
  • Taxis: A few taxi companies in Hokitika offer taxi services to travellers. The taxi company we use when needed is Hokitika Taxis.
  • Rental Car: Sometimes, having your own car in Hokitika is more accessible because of what you might have planned on your itinerary. Some rental car companies we’ve used before while in Hokitika are Budget Car & Truck Rental and Thrifty Car Rental

Accommodation in Greymouth vs Hokitika 

If you want relaxed accommodations with great scenic views, Hokitika may be a good choice. However, if you prefer historical architecture that embodies the culture of the West Coast and reasonable rates, Greymouth may be a better option.

In Greymouth, you’ll find everything from budget backpacker hostels to luxury resorts. Hokitika also has many accommodations, including holiday parks, motels and hotels.

Ultimately, the type of accommodation you choose to stay at depends on your budget. 

Having vacationed in both towns, we voted on the places our team recommends in both areas!

Copthorne Hotel Greymouth

Address: 32 Mawhera Quay, Greymouth 7805, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 768 5085

Price per night: Starting at 175 NZD

Beachfront Hotel Hokitika

Address: 111 Revell Street, Hokitika 7810, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 755 8344

Price per night: Starting at 123 NZD

Paroa Hotel

Address: 508 Main South Road, Paroa, Greymouth 7805, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 762 6860

Price per night: Starting at 169 NZD

Hokitika Fire Station Boutique Accommodation

Price per night: Starting at 220 NZD

Global Village Backpackers

Address: 54 Cowper Street, Greymouth 7805, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 768 7272

Price per night: Starting at 30 NZD

Shining Star Beachfront Accommodation

Address: 16 Richards Drive, Hokitika 7810, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 755 8921

Price per night: Starting at 115 NZD

Greymouth Seaside Top 10 Holiday Park

Address: 2 Chesterfield Street, Blaketown, Greymouth 7805, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 768 6618

Price per night: Starting at 59 NZD

Attractions and Activities in Greymouth vs Hokitika

Greymouth might be a better choice if you want to learn about history and sample local brews. However, if you prefer picturesque landscapes and a vibrant arts scene, Hokitika may be more appealing to you.

Greymouth Activities and Attractions

Whether you’re looking for adventure-filled activities or quiet corners, Greymouth might have what you’re looking for. For thrill-seekers, there are plenty of outdoor adventures, like white water rafting,  kayaking around the coastline, hiking in Paparoa National Park or taking a wild ride on an ATV.  

If you’d rather do something more relaxed, you can stroll around the shops and galleries in the city centre. 

Here are some of our team’s top-voted attractions in Greymouth to help you jump-start your vacation itinerary.

Paparoa National Park


Paparoa National Park is the perfect place for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re a hiker, kayaker, or mountain biker, you can freely explore the forests and mountains. 

For a more leisurely experience, Paparoa also has several beachside locations perfect for sunbathing or simply taking in the stunning views of the West Coast.

Shantytown Heritage Park 

Website: Shantytown Heritage Park 
Address: 316 Rutherglen Road Rutherglen, Paroa, Greymouth 7805, New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 762 6634
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 3 PM 

  • Adults – 38 NZD
  • Children – 19 NZD
  • Seniors – 29 NZD
  • Students – 29 NZD
  • Golden Family Passes – 99 NZD
  • Family Passes – 85 NZD
  • Single Family Passes – 65 NZD 

Shantytown Heritage Park takes you back into the life of early Kiwi settlers through interactive exhibits and activities, like authentic blacksmith demonstrations, gold panning, and more!

A wide range of historical buildings are also on display, including Maori wharenui (meeting houses), miners’ cottages, and early settler homesteads. In short, this park has something for everyone—and it’s a great way to learn more about New Zealand’s past and present. 

So come take a step back in time and explore the Shantytown Heritage Park for yourself!

History House Pop-Up Museum 

Address: 8 MacKay Street, Greymouth 7805, New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 768 4028

  • Sunday to Tuesday – Closed
  • Wednesday to Friday – 1 PM to 5 PM 
  • Saturday – 1:30 PM to 5 PM 

The original History House Museum may be out of commission, but the History Pop-Up Museum is just as unique! Its exhibits showcase an array of artifacts and interactive displays to give visitors a deeper understanding of the indigenous Māori and early European settlers’ culture and heritage.

Point Elizabeth Walkway 


Point Elizabeth Walkway is a 6-kilometre journey that takes you around sand dunes and along a rugged coastline, where if you’re lucky, you can observe plenty of native wildlife like seals, sea lions, and tons of birds. 

The path also passes through a lush manuka forest, where hikers can spot rare native plants such as kahikatea and matai. For those seeking an extra challenge, an optional loop track takes you to a viewpoint at the top of Point Elizabeth. 

Hokitika Activities and Attractions

For a small town, Hokitika sure packs a lot of adventure. From scenic hikes to beach strolls and birdwatching to tranquil fishing spots and boat cruises—it’s a nature lover’s paradise. 

Below are some of our team’s top picks for attractions in Hokitika!

Hokitika Gorge

Website: Hokitika Gorge
Hours:  Open 24 hours

Hokitika Gorge’s rugged mountain range and shimmering turquoise-blue waters are loved by Kiwis and tourists alike. Its unique geography makes it perfect for outdoor pursuits, from camping to kayaking and fishing. 

There’s plenty of birdwatching, with native species such as the South Island robin and falcon spotted in the area. If you feel brave, you can attempt the treacherous Pyke River track—just be prepared! 

West Coast Treetop Walk 

Website: West Coast Treetop Walk 
Address: 1128 Woodstock-Rimu Road, Hokitika 7812, New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 755 5052
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 3:15 PM

  • Adult – 32.40 NZD
  • Student – 28.80 NZD
  • Senior – 28.80 NZD
  • Children – 16.20 NZD
  • Family (2×2) – 84.60 NZD

The West Coast Treetop Walk takes you through a canopy of native rainforests, providing breathtaking views and a unique opportunity to explore and learn about Hokitika’s surrounding forests. Make sure to bring your camera, because the panoramic views are out of this world! 

But if you’re not a fan of heights, you might want to sit this one out as the treetop tower is 47 meters high.

Hokitika Beach 

Address: 72 Beach Street, Hokitika 7810, New Zealand
Hours: Open 24 hours

Whether you’re a fan of surfing, kayaking, fishing, or simply soaking up the sun and sand, you can do it at Hokitika Beach. 

The beach is also known for its unique driftwood pieces often left behind by the strong winds blowing through town—the welcoming Hokitika beach sign is an aesthetic representation of what you may find lying around the shores.

Glow Worm Dell 

Address: State Highway 6, Hokitika 7810, New Zealand
Phone: +64 21 915 559
Hours: Open 24 hours 

Glow Worm Dell is an otherworldly and enchanting spot. It’s perfect for observing glow worms light up the darkness with their luminescent blue-green glows. 

Several trails wind through the area, so you can get up close and personal with the glow worms. By the way, make sure you go at night!

Website: Hokitika Craft Gallery
Address: 25 Tancred Street, Hokitika 7810, New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 755 8802

  • Monday to Saturday – 10 AM to 4:30 PM 
  • Sunday – 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM 

Hokitika Craft Gallery is a must-visit for anyone interested in art and craft. Their gallery has an impressive selection of high-quality art and craft pieces from Kiwis and international artists. 

The gallery also regularly hosts various creative workshops, allowing you to get hands-on with arts and crafts.

Nightlife in Greymouth vs Hokitika 

Both Greymouth and Hokitika have a relatively small nightlife scene. This is because both are laid-back towns where most of the activity is focused on small bars and restaurants.


  • Monteith’s Brewery — Tours, beer tastings and restaurant 

Website: Monteith’s Brewery
Address: 60 Herbert Street, Greymouth 7805, New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 768 4149
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 11 AM to 9 PM 

  • Speights’s Ale House — Pub with live music

Website: Speights’s Ale House
Address: 130 Mawhera Quay, Greymouth 7805, New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 768 0667

  • Monday & Thursday to Sunday – 12 PM to 8:30 PM 
  • Tuesday & Wednesday – 5 PM to 8:30 PM 
  • Stumpers Bar & Cafe — Relaxed cafe with snacks and beers on tap 

Website: Stumpers Bar & Cafe
Address: 98 Revell Street, Hokitika 7810, New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 755 6154

  • Monday to Saturday – 7 AM to 10 PM 
  • Sunday – 8 AM to 10 PM 

Greymouth vs Hokitika: How They Stack Up  

So, what’s the verdict? Is Greymouth or Hokitika better for a vacation? 

Considering various factors, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations regarding which city we believe would be the better choice. Check out which city wins for what below!

FactorsThe Better CityWhy
Accessibility and TransportationTiedAlthough Greymouth has more transportation options, Hokitika has better accessibility due to its commercial airport.
AccommodationsGreymouthGreymouth has a bigger variety of accommodations that suit different types of budgets, with affordable rates.
Attractions & ActivitiesTiedIn Greymouth and Hokitika, there’s plenty to do, whether it revolves around nature or the history of the towns.
NightlifeTiedGreymouth and Hokitika have a limited nightlife scene and a few local bars.