Free (and Cheap) Activities in Takaka and Golden Bay
Don’t worry about tourist traps and expensive activities over the hill in Golden Bay. Takaka and its surrounding villages of Collingwood, Clifton and Tata Beach are practically brimming with free and affordable attractions. There are waterfalls, wacky limestone landscapes, breathtaking beaches and crystal clear springs that, quite simply, money can’t buy! So complete your Golden Bay stay with some of the free and cheap things to do in Takaka to help stick to your budget.
1. Check Out Te Waikoropupu Springs – FREE
A must-do in Takaka, Te Waikoropupu Springs is a stunning sight of crystal clear yet vibrantly blue pools. The 45-minute loop walk just outside of Takaka takes you down through the forest to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest coldwater spring! Interpretation panels tell of the local Maori legends and significance of this fascinating freshwater spring.
Location: Pupu Springs Road, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Takaka town centre.
2. Hike to Wainui Falls – FREE
What sort of New Zealand destination would Takaka be without a waterfall? The most accessible one in the area is Wainui Falls, located on a short walk through the stunning coastal forest of the Abel Tasman National Park. The walk takes approximately 1h20mins to complete the return journey which has a long swingbridge over the river on the way to the 20m (66ft) waterfall.
Location: 29 Wainui Falls Road, Tata Beach, approximately 20km (12 miles) from Takaka town centre.
3. See the Limestone Formations of Rawhiti Cave – FREE
Want to see a limestone cave where the stalactites seemingly defy the laws of gravity? Why not! You’ll find such a cave along a one-hour walk to Rawhiti Cave where a viewing platform gets you underneath the stalactites that form sideways toward the sunlight in a process called phytokarst. It’s a rough and steep trail to the attraction, so only attempt it if you’re fit and able. See more natural features like this in the 19 Epic Natural Attractions in Golden Bay.
Location: Packard Road, approximately 8km (5 miles) from Takaka town centre.
4. Take a Tour of Ngarua Cave – CHEAP
A cave that’s much easier to access and suitable for all ages, Ngarua Cave is an affordable attraction on Takaka Hill. On your way in or out of Takaka, check out Ngarua Cave and their guided tour through the various chambres awash in stalactites and stalagmites. You’ll also have the opportunity to see remains of the now-extinct giant moa bird and enjoy the vast karst limestone landscape from outside the caves. Tours are around NZ$25 per adult. See more activities like this in the 10 Things to Do in Takaka with Kids.
Location: 1242 State Highway 60 (Takaka Hill Highway), approximately 38km (24 miles) from Takaka town centre.
5. Take a Tour of a Distillery – CHEAP
You’ll also find a few affordable things to do in Takaka town, such as the Dancing Sands Distillery that not only offers free tastings at their cellar door but also very cheap distillery tours. Learn about all things gin, like the distillation process and exploring unique botanicals and how they’re used in their gins. The tour concludes with a guided tasting session. Tours are approximately NZ$10 per person. Check out more activities like this in the 8 Things to Do in Takaka for Foodies.
Location: 46A Commercial Street, Takaka town centre.
6. Explore Wharariki Beach and Farewell Spit – FREE
Wharariki Beach is well worth the road trip from Takaka: a stunning stretch of windswept beach with Archway Islands just off the coast. Also in the area is Cape Farewell with another archway stretching into the sea, as well as the unique ecosystem of Farewell Spit – both with walking trails to make the most of them for free. Check out the walks detailed in the 7 Best Walks at Farewell Spit.
Location: Wharariki Road, Puponga, approximately 54km (34 miles) from Takaka town centre.
7. Visit the Art Galleries – FREE
You can’t visit Takaka without experiencing the creativity of this bohemian town. Checking out the art galleries is another fun free thing to do that is sure to inspire. Visit art galleries like MONZA Gallery, Earth Sea Gallery, TOTOS Cafe & Gallery, Sculpture705 Art Lollkiki, MAD Cafe & Arts Centre and more!
Location: MONZA Gallery – 25 Commercial Street. Earth Sea Gallery – 76 Boyle Street, Clifton, approximately 8km from Takaka town centre. Totos Cafe & Gallery – 400 Totaranui Road, Tata Beach, approximately 23km from Takaka town centre. Sculpture705 Art Lollkiki – 705 Abel Tasman Drive, Clifton, approximately 8km from Takaka town centre. MAD Cafe & Arts Centre – 7 Tasman Street, Collingwood, approximately 28km from Takaka town centre.
8. Roam Around the Labyrinth Rocks – FREE
Fun, free and taking as little or as long as you like (providing you can remember how to get out), Labyrinth Rocks showcases the weird and wonderful limestone formations of Golden Bay. Venture through the maze-like pathways created by nature where toys of witches, goblins and other fairytale creatures watch your every move. Squeeze through narrow rocky corridors covered in moss and shimmy by gentle waterfalls and over stepping stones in this natural free attraction.
Location: 45 Scott Road, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Takaka town centre.
9. Check Out the Golden Bay Museum – CHEAP
If you find yourself on a rainy day in Takaka, why not visit the Golden Bay Museum? Entry is by donation to check out the exhibitions telling the history of Golden Bay’s Maori and European settlers. See a diorama of Abel Tasman’s 1642 encounter with the local Maori – the first encounter between Maori and Europeans ever recorded – and see interesting minerals and shells found across the region.
Location: 73 Commercial Street, Takaka town centre.
10. Relax at Tata Beach – FREE
The golden-sand Abel Tasman National Park beaches might be tricky to get to from Golden Bay without a kayak or hiking the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, but a taste of it can certainly be found at Tata Beach on the edge of the national park. After an exciting journey along Abel Tasman Drive through a coastal archway and alongside picturesque bays, you’ll arrive at this striking beach of various hues between the golden sand, turquoise waters and verdant bush-clad cliffs.
Location: Abel Tasman Drive, approximately 12km (7 miles) from Takaka town centre.