Golden Bay

Visit Golden Bay, Tasman, NZ

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  • Golden Bay, at the extreme north-west of the South Island, stretches north from Tasman Bay towards Farewell Spit, which protects it from the open sea. The region is full of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

    North of Takaka and Abel Tasman National Park, there are small towns along the way to the southern end of the Bay and the mouth of the Takaka River, such as Pohara. The large town of Collingwood is 30 minutes’ drive north, at the edge of the Waimea Plains, at the mouth of the Aorere River.

    There is sparse population north and west of Collingwood, where the main highway ends. A back road leads north to Farewell Spit, and hiking tracks cross the forested mountain interior. With adventure activities such mountain biking, kayaking, caving and climbing, along with eco-tours, arts and heritage, the region has plenty for visitors.

    Accommodation in Golden Bay (NZ)

    Golden Bay has a good range of accommodation, including hotel, motel and lodge establishments, and bed & breakfasts. There are also self-contained cottages and holiday homes to rent.

    Camping and backpacking are catered for at holiday parks and budget accommodation.

    Home stay and farm-stay options give visitors the chance to enjoy traditional kiwi hospitality.

    Transport around Golden Bay

    Collingwood, at the northern end of the Bay, is about 25 minute’s drive from Takaka, 45 minutes from Motueka and 90 minutes from Nelson, on a well-maintained highway. There are regular bus services.

    Takaka’s airport has regular services to and from Wellington and Karamea. Charter flights can be arranged for travel to other locations.

    Buses, taxis and shuttles provide transport around Golden Bay. Mountain bikes are available for hire.

    Tourist Activities around Golden Bay

    The Golden Bay area was visited by Abel Tasman and Captain Cook in the days of early exploration of New Zealand, and was used as base for whaling and sealing in later years. A small early settlers museum at Collingwood presents some of this history. The town also has a good range of cafes and specialty shops. There is a Maori cultural centre at Aorere.

    Takaka Hill is part of a breathtaking landscape that has famously been painted by great New Zealand’s artists. It contains features of marble and schist – the oldest rocks in New Zealand – and limestone, which has been eroded into fantastic shapes and formed deep cave systems. Popular cave systems are Te Awaroa, Ngarua and Harwood’s Hole. An incredible “maze” of ancient stone can be seen at Labyrinth Rocks. Pupu Springs, near Takaka has the clearest waters in the world, popular for snorkelling and scuba diving.

    Horse treks and mini-coach-based eco-tours to Cape Farewell and Farewell Spit are available. Only supervised access is allowed into this nature reservation, which contains over 90 species of birds including waders, godwits and curlews.

    Popular mountain biking trails include Wainui Falls, Kaitua Goldfields and Cobb Valley.

    Salmonfishing is popular along many rivers flow into the Bay. Sea fishing and sailing charters are available, as well as kayak rental.

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    Golden Bay