Golden Bay is a very beautiful, relatively untouched and quiet area at the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand that is often missed by travellers. It is one of two big bays that make up the Nelson Bays region, and is separated from the other, Tasman Bay, by the headlands of the Abel Tasman National Park.
- 1 Collingwood – at the northern end, and gateway to Farewell Spit
- 2 Onekaka – in the middle of the bay, where you find The Mussel Inn
- 3 Pohara – beach at the southern end
- 4 Takaka – the main town and entrance to the bay
- 1 Abel Tasman National Park – multi-day hiking tracks that link Golden Bay with Tasman Bay
- 2 Kahurangi National Park – includes the Heaphy Track, a 4–6 day walk to the West Coast
Golden Bay is where Abel Tasman and his crew anchored in 1642 on the first visit to New Zealand by European explorers.
Drive over the Takaka Hill from Motueka (55 min).
- Beaches. Golden sand. What else in bay called golden?
- Cape Farewell. The northernmost point of the South Island
- Farewell Spit. A long sand dune reaching far into the sea
- Pupu spring. One of the largest fresh water springs by volume in the world
- Whanganui Inlet. A very remote inlet on the west coast. Drive further south to Anatori for spectacular beaches and rock formations
- 1 Wharariki Beach. A spectacular beach close to Cape Farewell. Its Archway Islands feature in a Windows 10 wallpaper photo looking out from a sea cave.
- Walk the Heaphy Track to Karamea.
- Go caving in Harwood's Hole and other cave systems in the area.
- Te Anaroa Caves, 526 Plain Rd, Rockville (signposted from Collingwood), ☏ . A 350-metre-long family caving experience for all. No ropes or hassles. $10-$50.
- The Mussel Inn beers and cider, either drink them on location at Onekaka or purchase a bottle from the supermarket in Takaka.
Before you get off the road and go off exploring the great outdoors let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. Do not underestimate this land and the risks that it presents to the ill-prepared traveler. If you have any doubts, seek out a local guide familiar with the area you intent to explore.