Calling all nature lovers: Golden Bay is the place for you! Situated in the top west corner of the South Island
, Golden Bay is a diverse area home to sandy beaches, lush native forests, trout-filled rivers and the longest sandspit in New Zealand
. Check it all out and more with our range of Golden Bay hotels.
Europeans first settled in Golden Bay in 1854-55 and the area has an industrial history as it was rich in gold, coal and iron. In the 1920s and 30s the small settlement of Onekaka had a thriving ironworks. Nowadays it is home to two of the area’s biggest exports, Living Light Candles and the Mussel Inn, famous for its craft beer and delicious ciders.
Takaka is the largest township in Golden Bay and where you will find some beautiful arts and crafts as well as a laid-back atmosphere and a range of restaurants and cafes. Not to be missed is the Totally Local Market Day held every Easter.
Just a short drive west of Takaka is Te Waikoropupu Springs or as they are commonly referred to, Pupu Springs. These freshwater springs are known for the clearness of their water and the short bush walk around them is a must-do if you’re keen to get some awesome snaps on your trip. Golden Bay is also a hiker’s dream with two national parks in the area, The Abel Tasman and Kahurangi, both of which have Department of Conservation’s Great Walks. The Abel Tasman National Park follows the coast along the golden beaches that give the area its name. Remember to bring your swimmers if you’re keen for a dip in the ocean! Meanwhile, the Heaphy Track that traverses the Kahurangi National Park is the longest of the great walks at 78.4km and takes from four to six days to walk.
For a unique natural experience that doesn’t require hiking there are bus tours across Farewell Spit to the lighthouse. All 35km of the spit is made up of sand, formed by the erosion of rocks. It’s also a nature reserve and home to over 112 bird species, so bring a pair of binoculars!
The closest airport to Golden Bay that offers scheduled flights is Nelson Airport. From Nelson Airport it is an approximately 90 minute drive to Takaka, the main town of Golden Bay. To enter Golden Bay you must drive over Takaka Hill which 791 metres above sea level and offers amazing views over the Golden Bay area from Harwood Lookout. The best way to visit Golden Bay is by car, and rental cars can be hired from Nelson Airport. So wot are you waiting for? Check out our range of Golden Bay accommodation and book your holiday today!
Image credit Phillip Capper
under Creative Commons