A cool little town.
It’s a place where a stroll along the beach gives you stunning views of Aoraki/Mt Cook’s snow-capped peaks. This is a town where you can appreciate the rich history of the West Coast, hear stories of ship wrecks, gold miners and pounamu hunters, while also enjoying the conveniences of modern life.
The streets of Hokitika are brimming with cafés and an inspired arts and culture scene. There are probably more galleries and studios per capita in Hokitika than anywhere in New Zealand. If you’re interested in genuine experiences and friendly characters that love to share a story then Hokitika is the place for you.
The Crafty Chook
If you ever needed an example of how you can find work-life balance, look no further than to Andrea Rogers.
This Australian-native has been a firm West Coast convert since moving to Hokitika permanently with her Coaster husband four years ago. She now runs a successful business from the family’s lifestyle block. That means that whenever she needs to take a break from working through shipping orders or making products, she can just step outside and chat to the sheep, ducks, geese, chickens and the occasional weka.
Her business, The Crafty Chook, is a unique soap-making business with a strong online presence. Andrea’s hand-crafted soap is designed, crafted and based around the rustic rugged beauty of life on the Coast and the quirky characters living there.
“Our aim is to flaunt, boast and share with everyone how amazing the West Coast is, with an ounce of humour, a small pinch of political incorrectness and a great bar of soap,” she says.
Andrea says there are many advantages to running her business from semi-rural New Zealand than from an expensive city shop.
“Hokitika is developing new growth in many sectors and the locals get right behind it. Supporting new businesses in their own backyard gives locals a sense of ownership and connection with the businesses,” she says.
And marketing her product is never easier than from her own backyard.
“Location-wise, we have the best naturally photogenic backdrops for any business. Sometimes I feel like such a tourist – everything is just begging to be photographed!”
As a new-ish local, Andrea says she can highly recommend the work-life balance and opportunities Hokitika presents. While her business started with soap made from gorse flower “for a laugh”, she now distributes her product to around 50 shops across the country and has a large social media following, which ensures her business runs smoothly.
Andrea’s success is testament to the West Coast’s appeal as a digitally connected region, allowing people to run successful businesses from where they really want to live.
West Coast Scenic Waterways Retreat
It’s a similar success story for Cindy and Gavin Hopper of West Coast Scenic Waterways. They moved to Hokitika after sampling its adventurous lifestyle and have not looked back.
"Adventure brought us to the Coast, and it hasn't disappointed. We left a textile design and electrical career in Auckland to explore New Zealand. A roast meal and job offer in Hokitika kept us in the South Island for good,” Cindy says.
The couple have since started a successful tourism venture along the historic Mahinapua waterways, offering paddle boat cruises, freedom kayaking and a bed and breakfast, catering to the many tourists who explore the West Coast each year.
“What we love so much about Hokitika is it's an awesome playground! There are not enough days in a year to tackle all the back-country huts and trails, water ski and go fishing on the lakes, and ski the slopes in winter... just an hour away. The list goes on,” Cindy says.
“Hokitika is a tourist town, so we are spoilt to have so many awesome gift shops, coffee shops, places to dine out, or take out, and enjoy a sunset on the beach. It's a lovely community to live in with so much to offer.”