“Rock” Out in Golden Bay!
The only way into Golden Bay over the ‘Marble Mountain’ is just a taste of what the district is all about! Many wild and whacky rock formations are scattered from land to sea, from the picture-perfect arch seen from Wharariki Beach to the limestone outcrops found in the forests of ‘The Grove’ and Labyrinth Rocks Park. This landscape really looks like something from a fairytale yet another place in New Zealand which makes you ask: “Is this real?!”
Golden Bay has good connections with the neighbouring Abel Tasman National Park, known for its golden beaches and lush forests. Exploring the coast and taking the inland tracks are a must-do in this less travelled area of the national park.
So get your camera and get stuck into Golden Bay and its must-do sights and activities!
1. Horse Trek, Run, Walk or Just Do Whatever the Hell You Want on Wharariki Beach!
With so many rock formations in one place, Wharariki Beach could be the most adventurous beaches in New Zealand. You can discover caves and stacks, all while taking in the awesome arch seen just off the coast, which has become the icon of Golden Bay. Check out the walks to Wharariki Beach in the 7 Best Walks at Farewell Spit.
Location: From Puponga, take the 7km (4-mile) gravel Whakariki Road to the end where the walk is signposted from the car park.
2. See Some of the Clearest Water in the World
Water doesn’t get much clearer than Te Waikoropupu Springs! It’s better than tap water. Better known as Pupu Springs, find this sight in the Takaka Valley.
Location: Take State Highway 60 north from Takaka and turn onto Pupu Valley Road then Pupu Springs Road.
3. Walk to Wainui Falls
Venture through farmland, forest and riverside on this 30-minute walk to the majestic Wainui Falls. Start this walk from the Wainui Bay car park.
Location: Wainui Falls is about 20km (12 miles) from Takaka. Head to Wainui Bay on Abel Tasman Drive and turn only Wainui Falls Road which is well-signposted.
4. Discover The Grove
The Grove Scenic Reserve, or as the locals know it, The Grove, is a small forested area hidden high above Golden Bay with strange limestone features to discover. There’s also a lookout to get another perspective of Golden Bay. To find The Grove, from Takaka take Abel Tasman Drive and turn right onto Clifton Road and climb the hills.
Location: From Takaka, take the Abel Tasman Drive to Clifton then take Clifton Road to the signposted The Grove Scenic Reserve. 8.5km (5 miles) from Takaka.
5. Go Rock Climbing in Paynes Ford
Choose from 240 routes on this limestone crag climbing area near Takaka. Gear hire, guides and transport are available from Takaka.
Location: Entrance to Paynes Ford is 3km (2 miles) south of Takaka at 1886 State Highway 60.
6. Explore Farewell Spit
The longest sand spit in New Zealand extends from Golden Bay. Explore the ever-shifting sand dunes and see the amazing array of birdlife and seals either with a tour guide or out on the walking tracks. See more arch rock formations at Cape Farewell, too!
Location: From Takaka, follow State Highway 60 all the way north to Farewell Spit.
7. Kayak in Abel Tasman National Park
The northern end of the park, renowned for its pristine beaches, can be accessed from Tata Beach. Hire a kayak or take a tour to do the Abel Tasman National Park‘s most-loved activity.
Location: Tata Beach
8. Run Around Like a Child at Labyrinth Rocks Park
Let your imagination run wild while you run wild through this maze-like park. Natural rock sculptures and forest make up this 3km (2-mile) journey through the park.
Location: From Takaka, take Abel Tasman Drive and turn off down Scott Road where the entrance to the Labyrinth Rocks is pretty obvious. 4km (2.4 miles) from Takaka.
9. Mountain Bike the Rameka Track
A trail that is well worth doing in the Golden Bay and Abel Tasman area is the Rameka Track. Discover hidden forests and limestone features in the Abel Tasman National Park. Emerge into Takaka on this one-day single track. You can get transport and bike hire from Takaka. Find out more in Mountain Biking in Nelson Tasman.
Location: On Takaka Hill, take the Canaan Downs Road for 11km (7 miles) until you reach the car park. From there, follow the track for about 1km (0.6 miles) until you reach a sign for the Rameka Track.
10. Fish and Feast on Salmon
Fish for fresh salmon at Anatoki Salmon and have it prepared any way you like right on the spot in their cafe.
Location: McCallum Road, Takaka