Takaka & Golden Bay
It’s always a good when you come across the place that the locals choose for their holidays. Nelson Tasman locals and people from around New Zealand have a deep love for Takaka and Golden Bay. There’s just one road in and out over Takaka Hill and the views from the top of the hill itself are enough to justify the journey.
The Ngarua Caves at the summit of the hill are worth visiting and once you’re in the Bay itself a wealth of adventures awaits. This area really does have it all – from the internationally-famous live music venue The Mussel Inn, to the 35km long Farewell Spit (a wetland of national significance and home to more than 90 species of wetland and migratory birds) to the popular swimming beaches of Pohara and Tata Bay and the limestone crag climbing at Payne’s Ford.
You can access the Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park and the Heaphy Track (generally open for cyclists from Easter through to October) from Golden Bay or just take time to stop and enjoy Takaka and Collingwood and the surprisingly diverse artists and artisans who live here. There’s something magical in the air for creative people here – perhaps that’s one of the reasons it was used for several locations in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.
Fair warning though, you may find it very hard to leave!