Author Archives: Bella Vista
Check-in on our New Zealand travel blog for latest news, events and updates - along with a splash of personality from the whole team at Bella Vista!
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Although Taupo is not exactly a secret, the wealth of diversity that it offers as a holiday destination, still seems to be a bit of a local’s secret.
For those who have grown up in the region, one could argue that there is no better place on earth, yet for most, it seems to be a place to drive through on the way to somewhere else. International visitors regularly comment that they wished their travel agents had booked them more time here. So why doesn’t Taupo get the hype it deserves?
New Zealand has a lot of natural beauty. With endless beaches and well-known holiday destinations such as the snowy mountains of Queenstown. It’s understandable that the in-land farming pastures of the North Island might not be such an obvious choice. However, the sheer size and purity of Lake Taupo gives it a beachy and costal feel despite its central location.
There’s also huge variety of water sports including stand up paddle boarding, boating, sailing, jet skiing, wake boarding, wind surfing, kayaking, not least great swimming. There are endless small bays to explore, camp and picnic at along the 193Kms of lake front, some which are only reachable by boat or by hike.
The Great Lake Taupo is also the source of one of the largest rivers in New Zealand. The “Mighty Waikato” river, runs an incredible 425Kms from Taupo to Port Waikato where it meets the sea. If you want a more exciting adventure, the Aratiatia rapids are a prime location for white water rafting, and the Huka Falls by Jet boat is a thrilling ride, not to mention the river being a mecca for Fly Fishing enthusiasts the world over.
And if you thought swimming was just for the summer months, you are forgetting Taupo’s greatest asset, the abundance of geothermal activity. There is a plethora of thermals baths to choose from to soak your bones in the winter months. Not to mention the many free natural hots spots along the lake front and its nearby streams and rivers.
Taupo’s central location makes it an easy drive from almost anywhere in the North Island, and on the major bus route from Auckland to Wellington. If that’s not enough you can fly directly to Taupo’s newly renovated airport, making it an exceedingly easy trip to plan.
If you want city comforts with a small town vibe, Taupo’s boutique shopping and dining options are all within an easy walk. Thriving and unique local business’s make this town vibrant and interesting, and the recent multi-million dollar facelift to the lake front offers biking and walking paths stretching in both directions from the city centre.
Post-Covid, the Taupo accommodation sector has been making a strong come back. With the highest rates of occupancy this summer since before the pandemic, makes it essential to book well ahead of your trip.
Taupo really has something for everyone, write your own adventure fairy-tale, right here in our backyard. What better reason is there to come and stay with us your best accommodation Taupo choice at Bella Vista Motel Taupo.
But remember, book ahead because the secrets out!
For the best deal, always Book Direct. Either book online or call 0800 235 528.
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We rejoin Bella Vista New Plymouth on their sustainability journey. This is another great article in how a small New Plymouth accommodation business is looking to make their mark in offering their guests a better choice when booking their New Plymouth motel.
Since the last time of writing, the team here at Bella Vista New Plymouth have been so busy with liaising and researching about the best path towards creating a sustainable business. What we are trying to complete is a blueprint for us (and also in helping others) that will lead us to the best-practice policies in our goal to measure & reduce, incoming & outgoing waste.
The over-arching principle in our journey is the Tiaki Promise. To provide a brief summation of the Tiaki Promise, it is important to first mention that in Maori culture, words have real power. It’s not enough to say it or pay lip service, you have to walk the talk.
Here, we welcome guests with respect, kindness & hospitality (Manaakitanga). Hear our call. Feel welcome. We also present our guests and visitors with a challenge (Wero), to act as a guardian, protecting & preserving New Zealand for now & for future generations – The Tiaki Promise.
In our role as guardians, we needed clear guidance first in our waste creation. How much waste are we creating? How much are we recycling versus going direct to landfill? In partnership with Waste Management, we now receive monthly reports which go into detail what & how much waste is being created. We learned that in a month, we are sending more than 300kgs to landfill and recycling nearly 50kgs of glass, cardboard & mixed plastic. Now that we have data that consistently measures output, we can put new procedures in place and we can see what results our changes are making. We can’t wait to share these results! I would recommend to any business wanting to improve their sustainability to reach out to their Rubbish/Recycling collection team & see what reports they can present to you.
In our previous story, we mentioned another important partner, New Plymouth District Council & their business sustainability team. They visited our New Plymouth accommodation, chatted with us and will prepare a report of their own in due course that has actionable ideas and opportunities that we might have missed. Through this discussion, already we can see that a few simple signs to guests highlighting some key recycling policies can go a long way towards them helping us achieve sustainably.
Another area we can improve is to create policies & procedures to reduce food waste by the creation of compost bins and a worm farm, both of which can help the vegetables we grow here. We have also requested to be part of the councils 4-year sustainability audit which will look to track our progress over 4 years so we can all see longer-term how we are progressing. Nothing like having someone check your work to make sure we stick with it. We will update our story on what the council advised us in future updates, and hopefully give you some ideas that can help you, your business, your school and your neighbourhood.
Planning ahead, we can now start to see the shape of how our sustainability journey will progress. Using the Tiaki Promise as a guide in philosophy, we can measure how we are tracking though our Waste Management Sustainability Report as we adapt our business in line with the Council’s recommendations. There's so much to look forward to!
If you have any ideas that you think will help us to in our sustainability journey, feel free to connect with us on Facebook, email or give us a call on 06 769 5932.
Thanks for taking the time to read and we look forward to hosting you at your New Plymouth motel if you are passing this way.
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One of the things we are constantly hearing at Bella Vista New Plymouth is that our guests want to stay at a sustainable New Plymouth hotel and support those accommodation businesses who share their values of reducing waste, water usage and carbon footprint. Pretty good goals right? We thought so too, and this series of short stories is a tale of how our New Plymouth accommodation business is going about it.
For New Plymouth Bella Vista, it’s all about the guest experience. If we as a central city New Plymouth accommodation business align with our guests in thinking that we have a responsibility to look after this Earth for ourselves and those around us, there is nothing we can’t achieve. We have to do all we can to make sure we are operating under the best practices available, and we hope this story captures that.
First, the New Plymouth motel team looked at what we are doing right now. Pleasingly, we are getting a lot right already. We currently encourage guests to use the recycling bins for glass, cardboard and plastic. We have changed those mini-bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash with larger recyclable on-wall units. Further, all pillows, pillow protectors and bed toppers have been made using recyclable plastic bottles. We have removed as much plastic from the rooms as we can and even have a couple of pet guinea pigs to help reduce our food waste going to the dump! These and other initiatives have earned us the Travel Sustainable Property badge on Booking.com. But we think we can still do more!
Recently our New Plymouth Bella Vista accommodation team reached out for a meeting with New Plymouth District Council to discuss what more we can do about reducing our waste and carbon footprint. We are so lucky to have a council that actively supports businesses that are looking for ways to measure, reduce and review their systems. We are excited about this new partnership we are forging.
We’ve all seen the damage of rubbish and waste in our rivers and seas, and we are looking at what we can do to improve just a little bit in our corner of the world. For New Plymouth accommodation family our “get passionate” moment was when a bird’s nest fell from a tree and upon inspection, we discovered all this plastic woven into the nest. It was a haunting reminder of the impact we have all had on our eco-system and just how far we have fallen in our role of Kaitiaki (custodians) of this earth.
We want to do better. We are already measuring how much comes in and how much goes out. We want to work with those around us to ensure we bring in as little as possible and we want to ensure that what goes out is disposed of in the best possible manner. We want to find out more about our carbon footprint and ways we can reduce it. The New Plymouth Bella Vista team is passionate about wanting to support local, national, and even global initiatives that help us become a more sustainable workplace and environment. We look forward to keeping you up to date with this story.
In the meantime, if you have any ideas that you think will help us to help the planet – feel free to connect with us on Facebook, email or give us a call on 06 769 5932.
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With a reputation as the vintage motoring capital of New Zealand, Invercargill has many other surprising attractions tucked up its deep Southern sleeves. From hunting to fishing and stunning hikes, we’ve rounded up the most epic things to do in Invercargill and Stewart Island.
Find your inner excavator
Channel your Bob the Builder or digger driver fantasy by visiting Dig This, New Zealand's first heavy equipment playground. It’s an experience that only the rugged folk of Southland could dream up! Choose between bulldozers, excavators, mini excavators and skid steers to push, scrape and lug gravel around a giant pit. Book the Dig and Destroy session to dig holes, move tyres, pick up basketballs off road cones and crush a car, from your mega-digger. Best of all, no experience or heavy-duty licence is required to get behind the levers and power the peddles. This is an experience for big boys and girls, so put this top of your Invercargill to do list.
Discover the wild deep south
Some of New Zealand’s best hiking, fishing and game hunting sits 15 minutes outside of Invercargill. A short flight over to Stewart Island provides a playground of deep-water fishing or back country hunting. There are 35 restricted hunting blocks on Rakiura/Stewart Island, only accessible with an approved hunting permit. So, apply for a permit to reserve your very own hunting tract for a day.
On a fishing charter from Half Moon Bay, take in the spectacular surroundings of Foveaux Strait and Stewart Island, as you fish for blue cod and bluenose. Learn how to prepare, set and retrieve cod pots and how to fillet your catch once landed. A huge marine reserve in Paterson Inlet is a diver’s paradise, featuring clear waters, underwater forests of tall kelp and amazing marine life.
One of the best things to do in Stewart Island, is hike a section of the Rakiura Great Walk by combining a flight, hike and water taxi package. You’ll experience amazing birdlife, stunning beaches and the rugged beauty which you’ll only find on New Zealand’s third largest island.
Marvel over classic motors
Discover a 50-year restoration journey at Bill Richardson Transport World, one of the top-rated Invercargill attractions. Car lovers will enthuse over 250 vintage vehicles including retro Kombi’s, Henry Ford Model T’s and V8’s, not to mention 150 vintage petrol bowsers. Welcome to the largest private collection in the world of classic cars along with a wearable arts collection, movie theatre and children’s play zones.
Motorbike enthusiasts will be equally impressed by Classic Motorcycle Mecca, a world-class display of over 300 motorcycles and artworks, with a collection spanning 100 years, including solo, sidecar and three extremely rare New Zealand-made John Britten motorcycles.
Meanwhile at E Hayes Motorworks, the one and only Bert Munroe is celebrated as the fastest man on two wheels. Kiwi Bert raced a 1920’s Indian Scout against the clock in 1967 to set an unbroken land speed record and was immortalised in the movie "The World's Fastest Indian", starring Anthony Hopkins. Today Bert’s bike is the centrepiece of the extensive vintage Motorworks Collection, proudly displayed alongside power tools, lawnmowers and camping equipment! You read that right as E Hayes is actually a fully-fledged hardware store (formerly owned by a late friend of Berts), rather than a museum, so visitor entry is free!
Allow a good hour or two at each museum, as there are treasures at every turn.
After an epic day out, head next door to Louies Cafe & Tapas Bar, one of the best places to eat in Invercargill. Inside the softly lit heritage building, you’ll discover a menu of local flavours and farm to table ingredients, belying the owner’s strong M?ori roots.
As starters, try the highly rated salt & horopito pepper squid and the finger-licking tamarind ginger glazed chicken followed by a main of roasted lamb rump or freshly caught Stewart Island salmon with orange miso. The moist blue cod with capers, served with a crisp glass of Pinot Gris is a longstanding classic. Skip dessert in favour of an espresso martini, which the locals rave about.
With so many things to do in Invercargill and great places to eat, ask the Bella Vista team for further recommendations. Whatever you do, this Southern city of water and light is sure to leave a lasting impression.
- Purchase a Turbo Pass to get discounted entry to both Classic Motorcycle Mecca and Bill Richardson’s Transport World.
- Prices & Buy Tickets: Bill Richardson Transport World » Bill Richardson Transport World
- Rakiura Stewart Island day-trips
- How to apply for a Stewart Island hunting permit
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Breakfast / Brunch: THE KIRK CAFE. 6 Te Aroha Street, Hamilton
Take one quick look at the Instagram grid for The Kirk Café and you’ll be straight on the phone to make a booking! The Kirk is known for its impressive presentation, serving up creative and colourful dishes that look like they belong firmly in the pages of a food magazine. Described as the ‘best little gourmet café and brunch spot in Hamilton’, The Kirk Café is open from 8.00am until 2.30pm from Monday to Saturday and opens at a leisurely 9.30am on Sundays to cater to the later risers. With a welcoming interior and a gorgeous sunny outdoor area for warm and bright mornings, The Kirk café is one of the many nice places to eat in Hamilton within walking distance from our motel, and a lovely spot to begin your day.
On the menu are options for healthy and not-so-healthy dishes. They cater to keto diets, gluten free diets and diets that are yet to begin. The sticky fried chicken eggs benedict is a popular choice—but you’ll have to get there early to lock it in. Because it’s always in hot demand and when it’s gone, it’s gone! For something lighter, there’s a delicious superfood vegan granola or eggs with your choice of sides. No matter whether you’re after sweet or savoury, The Kirk Café has something delicious to offer. Make sure you take your phone too –Instagram awaits!
Lunch: GOTHERNBURG.17 Grantham Street, Hamilton
Looking for lunch restaurants in Hamilton for a special occasion, a birthday surprise or just because you deserve a fantastic meal with impeccable service to boot? You won’t be disappointed with Gothenburg—it’s the highest rated Hamilton restaurant on Trip advisor and the reviews are what restaurateur dreams are made of.Located in central Hamilton overlooking the Waikato River, Gothenburg has a beautiful dining room with floor to ceiling windows. Gothenburg is fabulous for dinner too, but during the day it has such a beautiful outlook that it’s a tier above other lunch restaurants in Hamilton.
Gothenburg has an extensive tapas menu, evenly split into vegetable tapas, meat and poultry tapas and seafood tapas.There is a huge range and we can tell you now that you’re likely to have a tough time choosing! Some of the options include spicy Kim Chi and pork dumplings, a brioche crayfish roll and sundried tomato and mozzarella arancini. And if you’ve got room, the dessert and cheese menus will be the icing on the cake of your Gothenburg experience.
Dinner: PALATE.20 Alma Street, Hamilton
If you have an anniversary or a birthday coming up and you’re looking for Hamilton dinner places that offer something special, jump on the Palate website and make your booking now.There’s a seven course degustation menu with matching wines, and if you choose this experience you’ll get VIP where you can see the talented team at work.Otherwise, the a la carte menu offers two courses for $60 or three courses for $75—a very reasonable price for the outstanding quality of the dishes.
The Palate experience is all about top quality food and wine. All the staff are passionate about what they do and this becomes clear from the minute you step through the door. Palate has won multiple awards since it was established in 2005 and has become a bit of a Hamilton institution... Hamilton dinner places don’t come much better than this!
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Planning a self-drive tour of the deep South? Invercargill, the city of water and light, provides the perfect base from which to explore Stewart Island and the beautiful Catlins, Fiordland and Te Anau on the stunning Southern Scenic Route. There are unique experiences within easy reach of New Zealand’s most Southern city, where you can even hire an old-school Kombi van for a classic holiday adventure. Here’s a guide to the best side trips from your comfortable ‘home-away-from home’ at the Bella Vista Motel Invercargill.
Explore the Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail
One of the best things to do in Invercargill is a drive to the Catlins, the remote jewel in the crown of the Southern Scenic Route, with its wild coastline, dense forests and cascading waterfalls. Head to the Fortrose Cliffs for its panoramic clifftop views, then venture on to the picturesque Waipapa Point Lighthouse. Several walking tracks lead from the lighthouse carpark to the beach, so look out for a sea lion or two. A wildlife encounter is on the cards as the Catlins region is also home to fur seals, yellow-eyed penguins, dolphins, and seabirds. The scenery is equally engaging with pounding surf, desolate beaches, dramatic rock formations and even a petrified forest of ancient trees. The crowds will be non-existent, and the skies will appear more expansive in this remarkable area.
After a morning’s sightseeing, retreat to the Fortrose Café, which should be included on the best places to eat in Invercargill list, but geographically it’s not! Choose from a counter packed full of freshly baked goodies, or heartier options like the home-style seafood chowder or pasta with mushrooms, bacon, and spinach. Sit back, relax and take in the wide sea views over the brim of a piping hot cup of coffee.
On the return drive, drop into the Catlins village of Waikawa for a glimpse into times past, with its historic and charming main street.
Steward Island side trip
Just a 15-minute flight from Invercargill is largely untouched Rakiura Stewart Island. A protected National Park covers much of the island, meaning it’s a great place for bird watchers, kiwi spotting and hiking. The charming village of Oban provides a slice of local life while a short water taxi to Ulva Island will reveal a predator-free island sanctuary bursting with bird song. You can also experience a short section of the Rakiura Great Walk by booking a fly-hike-water taxi package with Stewart Island Flights, so add this to your Invercargill things to do list.
Rest day: Invercargill in a nutshell
Spend the day exploring this Scottish-influenced city, nestled on the banks of the Waihopai River and shores of the New River Estuary. Invercargill’s wide streets are lined with veranda-slung heritage buildings offering great food and coffee, like Industry Café, one of the best brunch places to eat in Invercargill. Their lip-smacking chorizo and bacon cheese rolls are simply divine.
With a reputation as New Zealand’s “Classic Motoring Capital,” drop into local hardware store, E Hayes Motorworks to view the fastest motorbike in the world. In 1967, Burt Munro's 'World's Fastest Indian' bike set the land speed record which still stands today.
Take a 20-minute drive from the Bella Vista motel out to Bluff’s Stirling point, where New Zealand’s State Highway 1 begins. Snap a picture under the infamous Bluff signpost then take a walk up Bluff Hill for marvellous ocean views. Enjoy lunching on the finest and freshest seafood from the Foveaux Strait, where tasty Bluff oysters may appear on the menu between March and August. These glossy, flavour-packed shellfish are highly sought after the world over.
The ‘city of water and light’ refers to the long summer days and the spectacularly clear night skies, Invercargill locals enjoy. At twilight, follow the central Heritage Trail to learn more about the area’s history and take a stroll through elegant Queens Park, with its grand entrance gate, themed gardens, animal enclosures and Victorian band rotunda.
Get a taste for Fiordland
Discover the Fiordland frontier towns of Manapouri and Te Anau, two hours north of Invercargill. Take a cruise through Doubtful Sound or a scenic flight over Milford Sound to view the fiords. Or travel across Lake Te Anau in a water taxi and hike a short section of the Kepler Track, another New Zealand Great Walk. Milford Sound is naturally magnificent, while locals refer to the less known Doubtful Sound as 'the sound of silence', for its beautiful isolation. On the return drive, stop for photos at Te Anau Downs, for stunning views over Lake Te Anau.
Give yourself time to explore stunning Southland including the best things to do in Invercargill. There’s so much to see, eat and do that you won’t regret it!
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If you’re looking for great places to eat,Hamilton has plenty of options.But we know that trawling through website reviews can be tiresome. Maybe you’re looking for something for a specific budget, a special occasion or you’ve got a hankering for a delicious buffet! Whatever it is you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered.
For the special occasion
Do yourself a huge favour and pay a visit to Gothenburg or Palate. You’ll experience exquisite food, beautiful views and delightful service in these Hamilton restaurants. Best to book in advance too, they’re popular and can book out on the weekends!
For the best cheap eats in Hamilton
There are lots of good contenders for the best cheap eats in Hamilton,and your preference might just depend on your preferred cuisine. But Hamilton cheap eats, we don’t think you can go past Dumpling House. It’s quick, delicious and won’t break the bank!
For the best Asian cuisine in Hamilton
If you’ve got a hankering for some Chinese food, try Sichuan Style on Collingwood Street.As with many Asian restaurants, the menu is extensive and caters well to vegetarians. Popular dishes include the pork Sichuan dumplings, steamed buns and the handmade noodles.
For the best burgers in Hamilton
Sometimes you just need a big, juicy, delicious burger to fill you up and a cold beer on the side. Burger Bro in the city is the only licensed burger joint in Hamilton and on Thursdays you’ll get both burger and a beer for just $20, offering Hamilton cheap eatsat great value for money. This little Victoria Street eatery is hard to miss—just look for the orange façade!
For the best pub meal in Hamilton
We’re lucky enough to have a Speights Ale House just ten minutes walk from our Hamilton motel, and we often send hungry guests there when they’re looking for a hearty meal and a relaxed vibe. It’s just by Waikato Stadium too, so ideal if you’re attending an event! A great choice if you want something to eat in Hamilton where you know there will be all your favourites on the menu.
For the best high tea in Hamilton
Zealong Tea Estate is in Gordonton, just outside of Hamilton, and is renowned for its high tea experiences. Gather a group together and venture out for selection of tasty treats served among out on the patio overlooking the gardens. And if you’re a tea fan, you can even take a tea tour while you’re out there.
For the best takeaways in Hamilton
If you’re looking for the fastest and best cheap eats in Hamilton that you can take away to enjoy, look no further than Oxford Takeaways.The fresh is fish, the chips crisp and salty and the meal packs are great value if you have a family to feed.
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Hiking is incredibly popular here in New Zealand, and we often have visitors staying at our Hamilton motel who make it their mission to complete at least one hike in every city or town they visit. While our city is relatively flat, we’ve got plenty of great hikes to try out in the hills and countryside that surrounds. Here, we’ve rounded up the top five best hikes near Hamilton based on popularity, accessibility and reviews from our guests.
Hakarimata Summit Track
This hike kicks off in the outskirts of Ngaruawahia, about 25 minutes away from our Hamilton motel.While the Department of Conservation calls it an ‘easy’ track, it’s worth keeping in mind that the summit is 335 metres high and there are 1349 steps to climb. But if you’ve got a moderate level of fitness and are keen to try out hikes around Hamilton, please don’t let the steps put you off! Rumour has it that some people even run the track for fun. When you reach the top after about one and a half to two hours, you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views across the Waikato Basin and all the way down to Mt Ruapehu on a clear day.The Hakarimata Summit Track is a must if you’ve got a few hours spare and are after cheap things to do in Hamilton.
Nikau Walk, Kaniwhaniwha
The Nikau walk can be found near the small township of Pirongia. From our Hamilton motel, you’ll drive for half an hour on State Highway 3 and then Te Pahi Road until you reach the Pirongia Forest Park / Kaniwhaniwha Reserve. The Nikau Track is a three-hour return walk and there are lots of highlights to enjoy. It’s a great choice for hikes around Hamilton that come with a side of adventure—the Kaniwhaniwha Caves are located near the start of the Bell Track, 5 minutes from the junction with the Nikau Walk, so take a torch and explore them while you’re here. On your seven-kilometre walk, you’ll follow a trickling stream around a loop surrounded by lush green with nikau palms, ferns and plenty of bird life.
Wairere Falls, Okauia
It’s a bit of a drive out to Okauia—just under an hour to be exact—but it’s worth the trip if you love a good waterfall! Wairere Falls is actually thehighest waterfall in the North Island, sitting at 153 metres high. The walk to the viewing platform at the base of the falls take around an hour and a half, but it’s a lovely walk through the cool bush and over little wooden bridges. If you’ve still got energy when you arrive at the base, you can spend another 30-45 minutes climbing to the top of the falls which will give you epic views over the valley and the Waikato Plains.
Hamilton Lake Domain
Ok, so it doesn’t strictly fall under the best hikes near Hamilton, but Hamilton Lake Domain is still a great place for a long, leisurely walk in the fresh air. It’s perfect if you have kids, a pram or require a smooth and flat surface for wheelchair access. The path around Hamilton Lake Domain is almost four kilometers long and you’ll enjoy watching the bird life in the area including ducks, Pukeko and geese. If you’re there are the right time, you might even be lucky enough to see little ducklings or goslings on the lake.Cheap things to do in Hamilton don’t come much better than this!
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Hokitika crams so much of New Zealand’s best into one cute little town. Stunning ocean sunsets, greenstone artistry, great tasting seafood, and Franz Josef Glacier, just 40 minutes down the road. And what better way to experience the best Hokitika attractions, then on foot or bike! We’ve rounded up the best cycle trails and short walks in Hokitika for avid hikers, bikers and nature lovers.
Hokitika Gorge (1-hour loop track)
Just 30 minutes east from the Bella Vista motel, is the gorgeous Hokitika Gorge, one of the most stunning walks near Hokitika. This gentle and popular track packs in not one, but two suspension bridges, allowing expansive views of the gorge and the glacier-fed turquoise waters which flow through it. (Don’t jump in however, as the Hokitika River is swift, cold, and dangerous all year round!)
The trail reveals a surprise at every turn, jam-packed full of natural beauty and manmade marvels from impressive native trees, expansive views, a swing bridge to bounce across and curving boardwalks. A large rocky outcrop provides a perfect spot to snap photos with the aqua-tinted river and gorge walls, as your backdrop. Photo’s pop best on a clear sunny day when the water sparkles with a backlit effect. You’ll enjoy spectacular views from the 90-metre suspension bridge of the upper Hokitika valley and the Southern Alps before entering a forest canopy of towering Miro, Rimu and Kamahi trees. This accessible two-kilometre track is one of the best things to do in Hokitika and a visitor highlight.
Dorothy Falls Track (2-minutes – that’s right!)
For waterfall fans, combine the Hokitika Gorge walk with a detour to the impressive Dorothy Falls for a refreshing dip in its natural plunge pool. Don’t let the winding gravel entrance road put you off as it’s likely you’ll have this natural treasure all to yourself. And best of all, it’s only a short two-minute trek to the Falls from the carpark. Afterwards, head to a picturesque picnic spot on nearby Lake Kaniere, one of New Zealand’s most beautiful lakes and a popular spot for both water sports and birdwatching.
The Treetop Walk
Head 15-minutes south from the Bella Vista motel and you might spot a tall metallic nest peeking above the dense forest canopy. Turn off the highway and you’ll realise it’s not a disused air traffic control tower, but the highest vantage point of the Hokitika Tree Top Walk. This Meccano-like series of interconnecting steel bridges and forest viewing platforms, is one of the top things to do in Hokitika and a West Coast must-do.
The nearly half-kilometre walkway starts with a gentle ascent into a canopy of Rimu and Kamahi trees bursting with native birdlife. Along the way, informative panels provide insight on the rainforest and West coast ecosystem, a natural habitat for many endangered species. The cherry on the top is the aforementioned ‘Hokitika Tower’, a spiral 100-step staircase up to a 40-metre viewing platform. Here you’ll enjoy expansive views of nearby Lake Mahinapua, the ocean and snow-tinged Southern Alps.
The next stop is the Mahinapua Springboard, a cantilevered viewing platform, to view the black swans, mallard ducks and white herons, peacefully gliding on the lagoon below. Look out for parakeets and tui too, in the surrounding forest.
This enjoyable 45-minute canopy walk is one of the best walks near Hokitika, revealing timeless native trees from on high and a slice of New Zealand’s under threat rainforest. While future generations may miss out, you don’t have too so add this unique attraction to your ‘Hokitika to do’ list.
West Coast Wilderness Trail
Hokitika is the main gateway to The West Coast Wilderness Trail, so hire a bike, grab a gourmet sandwich from the Hokitika Sandwich Shop and hit the track for a day ride from the Bella Vista Motel. The Trail is part of the national Great Rides network and can be bitten off in short chunks or ridden over four days. You’ll cycle east from Hokitika into the surrounding hills on a smooth, well graded trail towards Greymouth and enjoy views of wild landscapes, the rugged coastline and Southern Alps.
We can help book daily shuttles to different sections of the 132-kilometre trail and assist with your bike hire too. After a full day’s cycling, you can return to the comforts of the Bella Vista Motel Hokitika and a well-deserved good night’s sleep.
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The West Coast is famous for its stunning scenery, glaciers, Tree Top Walk Hokitika, gorgeous greenstone, and fertile rainforest. But at the Coast’s beating heart, are its local growers, boutique brewers and talented chefs who have transformed the region into a food mecca. Here’s the Bella Vista’s guide to the best places to eat in Hokitika, so you’ll leave inspired, well fed and hungry to return.
Winner of New Zealand’s Best Sandwich
The hip folk at the top rated Hokitika Sandwich Shop take their New York-style sandwich making seriously. Made to order, chunky slices of freshly baked ciabatta bread loaded with your choice of free-range meat, organic vegetables, South Island cheeses and condiments, like tangy sauerkraut. No wonder this gourmet sandwich joint has a cult following, especially when the milkshakes are made with Lewis Road Creamery ice cream and the coffee is Fair Trade. So, it came as no surprise to the locals, when the humble Hokitika Sandwich Shop was awarded New Zealand’s 'best toastie'. For a picnic with punch and a quick healthy bite, this is one of Hokitika’s best places to eat lunch.
Best Hokitika Seafood and Pizza
This seaside town is serious about its seafood so head to the riverside spot of Dulcies, for Hokitika’s favourite fish and chips. Choose from crumbed hoki, gurnard and blue cod with a generous side of salty, fluffy hot chips for under $12 a serve. Go the fully Monty and sneak a decadent chocolate explosion donut into your order. Then grab your paper-wrapped takeaways and stroll to nearby Sunset Point for an al fresco dinner overlooking the sun-striped ocean. (If the mouth-watering fare makes it that far!)
What makes Fat Pipi Pizza unique? Let’s just say their pescatarian-topped pizzas and beach front location are both West Coast winners. Yes, the classic Margherita is on the menu, but where else can you enjoy smoked salmon or 140 grams of whitebait layered with capers and lemon on a garlicky, buttery, doughy base? For vegetarians, there’s the mighty Punk pizza, piled high with caramelised pumpkin, feta, cashews and coriander pesto. Be sure to pair your meal with a glass of the Fat Pipi’s Far Canal wine (or in the local lingo, ‘Fa-kin-hell’), a cheeky Otago red. Whatever your language, the Fat Pipi is West Coast-style pizza perfection, with a well-deserved spot on the best ‘Hokitika Places to Eat’ list.
Best Hokitika Vegan Café
In a region where hunting and fishing is a popular past time, it’s perhaps surprising that one of the best restaurants in Hokitika only serves plant-based food. But the Gatherer Wholefoods café turns the notion that vegan food is boring, straight on its roasted cauliflower head. And the only hunting this owner chef does, is foraging for the best local field mushrooms.
With a Mexican-inspired menu big on fresh flavours, tuck into mushroom ceviche or the k?mara tacos topped with overnight-marinated cashew cheese. Best of all the taco tortillas are pressed daily and the seasonal menu changes often, so the locals return time and again. This place will turn die-hard meat eaters into legume lovers at first bite.
Best restaurant in Hokitika (to mingle with the locals)
If you fancy pub-style fare, book the lively Stumpers Bar and Café for dinner, just a five-minute walk from the Bella Vista motel. They serve up tasty homestyle food like seafood chowder, lamb shanks, local venison, and wedges of old-fashioned cheesecake (just like Mum used to make) with generous portions to boot. For a friendly slice of Hokitika life (and a game of pool), this popular gastropub is a great place to kick back, after a day’s sightseeing.
Most innovative Hokitika food
Fancy grilled huhu grub with a round of colostrum shots? Followed by a dessert platter of larvae ice cream and Chocolate worm truffles? No local food guide would be worth its salt without highlighting the famous Hokitika Wildfoods Festival in March. This unique feasting experience is designed to push your culinary comfort zone, serving up dishes at once odd, yet strangely enticing. The Feral Fashion competition is also a visual feast, where the locals strut their wild side and play furry dress ups, vying for the most Feral of Them All. While you may end up flossing insect legs from your teeth, you’ll love the foody flair which courses through this vibrant West Coast festival.
While we’ve hopefully whetted your appetite on places to eat in Hokitika, please ask the Bella Vista Motel team for up-to-date information as restaurant opening hours and menus can change between summer, winter and Covid alert levels. We can also tailor suggestions around what you love to eat (or drink)!
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