Food Tours and Activities in Takaka and Golden Bay
Golden Bay holds many surprises. Over Takaka Hill, this quiet corner of the South Island boasts breathtaking coastal scenery, two national parks, vibrant springs, the longest sandspit and more. What’s the “more”? Creative and talented artisans, brewers and distillers! With a bohemian vibe and creative communities, no wander Takaka and Golden Bay harbour such noteworthy foodie experiences. The local distilleries, chocolatiers, brewers and salmon farms have opened their doors for tastings, tours and other foodie delights. Find out about the highlights in this list of things to do in Takaka for foodies.
1. Take a Tour of Dancing Sands Distillery
Takaka has not one but two liquor distilleries! Starting with Dancing Sands Distillery, they offer free tastings of their gins at their cellar door! But if you want to enhance the experience further, take a tour of their distillery. Learn about the five-step distilling process, explore the unique botanicals they use, and how they develop each gin on the one-hour experience. The tour concludes with a guided tasting experience.
Location: 46A Commercial Street, Takaka town centre.
2. Check Out the Village Market
A comprehensive artisanry experience in Takaka, the Village Market allows foodies to sample and buy fresh produce and artisan goodness from all over Golden Bay. Taking place every Saturday morning from the beginning of October to the end of May, the Village Market is a place to browse, taste and buy local organic produce, cheese, honey, meat, mushrooms and more. There’s also street food cooked on-site including pizza, Asian food, dumplings and pulled pork, while live music from buskers adds to the community vibe.
Location: 49 Commercial Street, Takaka town centre.
3. Dine on Your Fresh Catch at Anatoki Salmon
Try the freshest chinook salmon, which you’ll know because you have to catch it yourself*, at Anatoki Salmon. The salmon farm and cafe offers free fishing around its salmon lake where you’ll pay per the weight of your catch! After you’re (hopefully) successful, bring it to the cafe where they’ll either hot-smoke it in your chosen flavour, prepare it for you sashimi style, or have it vacuum-packed for you to takeaway. Your catch can be enjoyed alongside steaming ciabatta bread, coleslaw, fries, salad or whatever you prefer off the menu.
*Anatoki Salmon have salmon at the ready if you just want to pop in for a bite to eat.
Location: 230 McCallum Road, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Takaka town centre.
4. Indulge in Artisan Chocolates at Choco Loco
Takaka’s very own artisan chocolate shop and cafe is a must when visiting the area! Pop into Choco Loco for a tasty pastry, cake or biscuit with a coffee in a mug that you get to choose from the “cup library”. Taste and make up your own chocolate gift box with the likes of lime, gin, salted caramel, coconut, cappuccino, whisky, passionfruit, hazelnut and much more – all made with Belgian couverture and fresh ingredients with no artificial preservatives.
Location: 47b Commercial Street, Takaka town centre.
5. Do a Tasting at the Kiwi Spirit Distillery
Yep, there’s another distillery in town, this one specialising in whisky, gin, vodka, lime liqueur, honey mead and 100% blue agave. Kiwi Spirit Distillery offers free tastings with a bottle purchase at their cellar door. Try one of their spirits in the form of creative cocktails or tonics to sample the flavours almost all originating from the local region.
Location: 430 Abel Tasman Drive, Motupipi, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Takaka town centre.
6. Try Award-winning Craft Beer at Mussel Inn
If there’s only one restaurant in Golden Bay that you’ve heard about, it’s probably Mussel Inn. That’s because the rustic pub is known for its award-winning craft beer, as well as for leading the way in environmental initiatives. They also produce some of their own ciders and soft drinks, while the restaurant serves up local cuisine with a European twist with the likes of Anatoki salmon, pavlova, Choco Loco chocolates (see point #4) and, of course, mussels.
Location: 1259 Takaka Collingwood Highway, approximately 16km (10 miles) from Takaka town centre.
7. Experience Golden Bay’s Restaurants and Cafes
Speaking of restaurants, there are a lot more eateries worth trying out in Golden Bay and Takaka. Golden Bay’s cafes are worth a sit-down, such as The Courthouse Cafe! The eatery set in a charming historic building and serves homemade Kiwi pies, a range of wraps and paninis, quiches and more. In Takaka, The Wholemeal Cafe is an iconic stop in town, pouring specially-selected coffee with beans sourced from Timor and serving meals with local ingredients wherever possible. For dinner, mingle with the locals at Roots Bar, a rustic pub serving gourmet burgers made from free-farmed meats, or some of the smaller sharing plates, local craft beers and liquors. See more recommendations across our Takaka travel guides, such as The Honeymoon Guide to Takaka, The Guide to Takaka for Families, and The Guide to Takaka on a Budget.
Location: The Courthouse Cafe – 11 Elizabeth Street, Collingwood. The Wholemeal Cafe – 7110/60 Commercial Street, Takaka. Roots Bar – 1 Commercial Street, Takaka.