🚗 self-drive itinerary
🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended
🍽️ dining suggestions offered
📅 visit any time of year
Before you lay eyes on absolutely gorgeous Golden Bay at the top of New Zealand's South Island you'll enjoy an amazingly scenic road journey as you climb Takaka Hill. Travel to this huge sandy bay famous for its scallops and the lengthy Farewell Spit.
Highlights can include:
- catch your own lunch, smoke your fish to perfection, and then feast on Anatoki Salmon freshly caught from the chinook salmon farm 🎣👪
- Golden Bay Kayaks are at the quiet end of the Abel Tasman National Park and provide awesome guided tours, freedom kayaking and SUP hire from Tata Beach 🛶
- coastal hills form a dramatic backdrop to the beautiful Kaihoka Lakes which are easily combined with time spent at Westhaven / Whanganui Inlet an estuary offering breathtaking scenery whether the tide is in or out 👟🐚
- see some of the clearest water ever measured when you walk to Te Waikoropupū Springs are the largest freshwater springs in the Southern Hemisphere 👟💧
- In places the Kahurangi National Park is an untracked wilderness, elsewhere the wonderful Heaphy Track lets you explore by foot or mountainbike wild rivers, high plateaux, alpine herbfields and coastal forests 🏞️👟🚵
- a short walk through lush native bush leads to the cascading Wainui Falls where the highlight for children will be the long swing bridge 👟📸👪
vital to our migratory birds Farewell Spit is a bird sanctuary and wetland of international importance, being more strictly protected than a national park - visitors can view this special place on a guided tour that explores this intriguing reserve 🐦🐚
- a maze of pathways through limestone rock formations at Labyrinth Rocks Park can be fun, especially for geologists and children with big imaginations - you never know whats lurking around the corner 👟👪
- a beach doesn't get more idyllic than the clear waters and golden sands of Tata Beach and Totaranui Beach, so take your time and linger for longer 🐚 🏖️
- experienced horse riders will enjoy the physically challenging fabulous trek to Wharariki Beach where you work as a team with your horse provided by Cape Farewell Horse Treks 🐴
- becoming more and more insta-famous, much photographed Wharariki Beach is a wonderfully remote natural wonder flanked by the Archway Islands rising from the sea 📸👟🐚
- the challenging drive over the crest of Takaka Hill will have many celebrating that they made it to the summit - the lookout offers a breathtaking vista that's well worth a moment to settle the potential nausea 🚗📸
AT A GLANCE
📍 # of Visitors4.0
🌦️ Chance of Rain3.5
👨👩👦👦 Family Fun 2.5
🍽️ Food + Wine 6.5
🏳️🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍
Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0
🎥video courtesy of Stephan Schmidt on YouTube
Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.
Day 1 : Arrive in Golden Bay
You'll travel to Golden Bay today, arriving either by car, coach, or by flying into Takaka Aerodrome. Upon arrival you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.
This afternoon, take the opportunity to explore some awesome natural water features of the area. The clarity of Te Waikoropupu Springs will astound, especially if the light isn't reflecting and the boardwalk through native bush is good for the soul. Continue your adventure crossing a swing bridge to Wainui Falls; and finish your day watching the sunset from beautiful Tata Beach or out on a SUP or Kayak.
Day 2 : Spend some time off the grid
You can get lost and completely off the grid relatively easily in Golden Bay. Take the opportunity to adventure on a 4WD journey along the natural wonder of Farewell Spit; or journey to Whanganui Inlet and wander through Nikau palms growing on huge sand dunes at Kaihoka Beach.
Wharariki Beach and the Archway Islands will appeal to many, and this place does live up to the hype for any one here for beautiful scenery. Expect your adventure here to take plenty of time, and if you enjoy horse riding Cape Farewell Horse Treks are a great way to combine scenery with a lot of fun too.
For those that love salmon, you'll have to set aside some time to fish and then dine on your catch of the day at Anatoki Salmon farm. You'll likely also be entertained by the tame eels and petting farm on site too.
Whatever you've ended up doing with your day, celebrate your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area.
Day 3 : Depart Golden Bay
This morning if you're driving you'll likely get a chance to tackle the Takaka Hill road, but be sure to take in the views from the lookout to break up the drive. We'll let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.