Plan a Family Trip to Takaka and Golden Bay
Hidden over the “Marble Hill” with striking karst formations, the kids’ introduction to Takaka and Golden Bay is sure to be a memorable one. Although most families don’t take the time to get off the beaten track to this less-visited part of the South Island, those who do often agree that it’s well worth the journey. Between the crystal clear Te Waikoropupu Springs and the wildlife-encapsulating shores of Farewell Spit, Golden Bay is an amazing piece of natural paradise. See for yourself with this travel guide to Takaka for families.
Things to Do in Takaka with Kids
- Roam around Labyrinth Rocks
- Check out the clear water of Te Waikoropupu Springs
- Trek to Wainui Falls
- Take a tour of Farewell Spit
- Do the Ngarua Cave tour
- Ride across Wharanaki Beach on a horse trek
- Try out fishing at Anatoki Salmon
- Build sandcastles at Tata Beach
- Relax in the family-friendly cafes and restaurants.
For more details and locations of each experience, see the 9 Things to Do in Takaka with Kids.
Family Adventure Activities
Takaka and Golden Bay are home to some of New Zealand’s wildest landscapes, from the limestone caves of Takaka Hill to the protected sandy shores of Farewell Spit. The latter makes for a superb tour for families with Farewell Spit Tours – the only operator allowed to show you this magnificent stretch of sand and ecosystem, which is more protected than a national park. As long as you kids can stay engaged for a 6h30mins tour, this experience is something you’re family will likely never forget. Travel by bus across the sandspit and jump out to climb massive sand dunes, see seal pups frolicking, bird colonies and the loneliest lighthouse in New Zealand. Tours depart from Collingwood.
While the wildlife on Farewell Spit is protected, the chinook salmon at Anatoki Salmon better watch out when you take your family to their lake for fishing! Grab all the gear you need at the entrance and find a spot around the lake to try your luck. After you’ve reeled in your catch, take it to the cafe where they’ll prepare the salmon either smoked or fresh.
On your way in or out of Takaka, don’t miss Ngarua Cave on Takaka Hill! This family-friendly cave tour takes you and the little ones on a journey through a plethora of stalactites and stalagmites protruding from the cavern. After the tour, relax with a hot drink, bring a picnic and enjoy the amazing views of the karst limestone landscape that featured in The Lord of the Rings movies.
For more outdoor adventures for families, including Cape Farewell Treks and Wainui Falls, check out the 9 Things to Do in Takaka with Kids.
Free Family Activities
We get it, a family holiday can be pretty pricey when you have more mouths to feed and more admission tickets to pay. Thankfully, it’s easy to stick to your budget in Golden Bay with free activities for families to enjoy.
A highlight is the crystal clear pools of Te Waikoropupu Springs, also known as Pupu Springs for short. With a stroller-friendly 45-minute loop walk, this walk around the largest coldwater spring in the Southern Hemisphere is fantastic for kids. Teach them about the Maori legend behind the springs, as referenced in the information panels, before delving down into the forest to admire the pools.
On the itinerary of every family visiting Golden Bay should be the natural wonderland of the Labyrinth Rocks. Venture through the limestone maze-like pathways where toys of witches, goblins and other fairytale creatures watch you pass by. Squeeze through narrow corridors covered in moss and shimmy by gentle waterfalls and over stepping stones in this natural free attraction that are sure to get the imaginations of the little ones running.
For more free activities, head to the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Takaka.
Family-friendly Restaurants in Takaka and Golden Bay
Finally, whether you’re looking to treat the family to dinner or are simply looking for a wet weather alternative, these family-friendly restaurants in Golden Bay are sure to do the trick.
An icon of the Golden Bay area, Mussel Inn (1259 State Highway 60, Onekaka) is a kid-friendly restaurant with a casual atmosphere. But the most impressive part of this pub is that it produces all of its own beers, ales, ciders, soft drinks and occasional house wines in a brewery around the back. It’s a place where families can enjoy simply being with each other (and eating crowd-favourites) with no TVs, pokie machines or pool tables to distract.
Open for lunch and dinner, The Brigand (90 Commercial Street) is a family favourite in Takaka town serving sandwiches, fish of the day, steaks, ribs, salads and more, using fresh local produce wherever possible.
Finally, on your way in or out of Takaka, your kids will thank you for making a stop at The Woolshed Cafe (Canaan Road) on the top of Takaka Hill. Literally inside a renovated woolshed, the cafe serves all the usual suspects, as well as real-fruit ice cream.
For more restaurant recommendations, check out The Foodie Guide to Takaka.