See & Do

Lake Kaniere

Lake Kaniere is only 19kms inland from Hokitika. It is a bit more of an action lake than Lake Mahinapua, but you can kick back and relax here too. It is a popular spot in summer for swimming, picnicking, water skiing, kayaking, fishing, walking and mountain biking. Arguably one of the country's most beautiful lakes, it is located in a scenic reserve surrounded on three sides by mountains that are capped in snow during winter. 

Lake Kaniere Activities

There is a camp-site which is popular with boaters who enjoy water skiing and fishing for salmon, perch, rainbow and brown trout. Mountain bikers and walkers will love the 10km historic water-race track which is suitable for people of average fitness. Birdwatch for tui, bellbird and kereru or wood pigeon along the way.

The Lake Kaniere Walkway is another beautiful walk that traverses native bush along the western shore of the lake. The more adventurous and fit can tackle the seven hour return walk to the peak of Mt Tuhua or climb the 1270 metre high Mt Brown to stay in a refurbished historic hut. Your hard work is rewarded by fantastic views of Hokitika, Lake Kaniere and surrounding mountains.

Lake Kaniere Scenic Drive

If walking isn’t your thing the scenic drive around the lake gives easy access to Dorothy Falls. Continue driving through rich dairy country to the stunning Hokitika Gorge with its vivid blue water and then return to Hokitika having enjoyed one of the best scenic loops around.

Browse the listings below to learn more about Lake Kaniere. 

See & Do

Lake Kaniere Scenic Triathlon

Date : In March every year - 2017 dates to be confirmed
LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

This annual triathlon highlights the scenery around Lake Kaniere. A fun event with lots of choices - duathlon, triathlon events with either swim or boat, individual and team events. More information at

Kaniere Water Race Walkway - Walk

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

Time: 1 hour return / 3-4 hours one way
Access: Carpark at The Landing at the northern end of Lake Kaniere. Ends at Kennedy Ck near Kaniere Forks Power Station. A shorter easy section from The Landing to Wards Rd (1 hour return) is most popular.
Features: Follows historic, but still used, Kaniere Forks power station water-race, through virgin and regrowth forest. Freshwater mussels, cray and the odd trout may be spotted. Open to mountain biking. 

Kahikatea Forest Walk

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

EASY - Buggies/Strollers ok
Time: 10 minutes return. 600 m
Access: Sunny Bight picnic area.
Features: Best short loop walk through fine virgin Kahikatea forest. Along the way you will notice small panels that identify tree and shrub species. 

Canoe Cove Rimu Forest Walk

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

Time: 15 minutes one way.
Access: Carpark opposite Milltown Rd.
Features: Small inlet on the north eastern shores of the lake. Best short walk through fine rimu forest. Ends at sheltered swimming & picnic beach.

Dorothy Falls - Walk

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

Time: 2 minutes.
Access: Carpark beside bridge at Dorothy Falls Rd on eastern side of lake.
Features: Short path to pool at base of best local falls. Awesome in a good rain. 

Mt Tuhua Track - Tramp

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

Time: 7 hours return. 7.6 km
Access: Signposted on Dorothy Falls Rd just south of Hans Bay.
Features: Best local access to open mountain tops. Panoramic views of Southern Alps, Lake Kaniere, coastal plains and Hokitika. Must be fit. Good footwear required.

Lake Kaniere Walkway - Walk

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

Time: 4 hours one way
Access: Carpark just south of southern end of lake. Follows western shore of lake. Ends at Sunny Bight at northern end of lake. 
Features: Lush forest, great lake and mountain views, bays and beaches. Open to mountain biking. 

Toaroha, Hokitika, Lower Whitcombe Tracks - Tramp

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

Time: 4-5 days
Access: Turn off the Kokatahi/Lake Kaniere circuit road at the sign post “Access to Toaroha Valley”, cross the bridge over the Kokatahi River and follow the road as far as your vehicle will allow. Farm gates should be left as they are found. Permission to cross the farmland must be obtained from the leaseholder, Terry Sheridan, telephone +64 3 755 7967. Alternatively access can be gained from the Whitcombe Valley Road (Hokitika Gorge Road) and the route walked in the reverse order to that described below.
Features: This is a classic West Coast trail. This route traverses rugged river valleys and crosses two alpine saddles. The alpine sections demand experience and good route finding skills in other than fine weather conditions. Throughout winter and into late spring the alpine areas will have a cover of snow. 

See DoC for up to date track and weather information. 

Whitcombe Pass Track - Tramp

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

Time: 3-4 days one way to Whitcombe Pass
Access: Access from Hokitika is via the Kaniere/Kowhitirangi Road travelling toward the Hokitika Gorge some 30 km inland from Hokitika. After leaving the sealed road, cross two concrete bridges (Diedrich and Granite Creeks). A side road to the left some 100 metres past the second bridge leads to the Whitcombe road end. This side road is signposted “Access to Whitcombe Valley”. The road is prone to flooding part way along and is sometimes left impassable to vehicles. A gate part way in is sometimes locked. At this point there is good parking for vehicles. Beyond the gate the road is suitable for 4WD vehicles only.
Features: This is a classic Trans Alpine trail. The Whitcombe Pass Track takes you through the very rugged bush clad valleys of the lower Hokitika and Whitcombe Rivers to the Main Divide for stunning views.

See DoC for up to date track and weather information. 

Lake Kaniere - Hans Bay - Picnic Area

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

At the northeastern end of the lake - another perfect lake picnic spot. Mountain views, toilets, a huge grassy area (not so flat though), swing set and picnic tables. The nearby DoC campground has picnic tables as well.  

Lake Kaniere - Sunny Bight - Picnic Area

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

At the northwestern end of the lake. Picnic tables, toilets, short walk through Kahikatea Forest, grassy area and a pebble beach. The Lake Kaniere Walkway starts here too. 

Lake Kaniere Water Race Walkway - Bike

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

GRADE 2 - 4+
1-2 hours
This track follows an historic but still functioning power station water race. Part of the track is being upgraded to become a section of the West Coast Wilderness Trail. The track follows the water race into the bush. The first 4km is quite easy. You will then cross a gravel road. This is where the track begins to become a bit harder. In places on the track you may have to walk a few gulches.  At the end of the singletrack you will come onto a 4wd track. Turn right and follow the main 4wd track down. After a few hundred metres you will arrive at the Lake Kaniere road. Turn left and this will take you back to the track 7km away. Or turn right to ride to Hokitika 12km away. This track can be done as a in-out ride also. 


Lake Kaniere Walkway - Bike

LOCATION : Lake Kaniere

Grade 4
2-4 hours
This track follows the eastern edge of the lake and gives some great views and access to bays and beaches. Start at Sunny Bight at the northeastern edge or on the southeastern edge. Best as an in and out option as a car shuttle is long. 

Hurunui Jacks
PH: 03 755 8683 E:

Enjoy fantastic West Coast hospitality and style, just 12 minutes from Hokitika. Stay in a luxury canvas tent, nestled amongst ancient virgin forest on the banks of the Kaniere River - or a charming cottage, ‘The Nest’. Hurunui Jacks is 30 acres of peace and tranquillity - and one unforgettable travel experience.

The Gorge Gallery at MZ Design
The Gorge Gallery is located at the workshop and home of MZ Design. We are 20km from Hokitika (down Zuckermans Road) on the road to the Hokitika Gorge. We stock our original design woodware along with special designs unique to our gallery. We are open when the Flags are displayed.
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