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It’s just a hill, get over it! Takaka Hill, the gateway to your Golden Bay tours, provides an entertaining drive to bring you to a breathtaking view of Takaka River running through the valley below with the Tasman mountains behind, voted 3rd in a poll of NZs best driving roads for road trips! Driving down, you enter into the unspoilt and laid back hidden gem of Golden Bay, brimming with beaches, bays, baches and sheer originality. The drives themselves are pretty fab too – read our TravelBlogue on how you can take one of the great NZ drives to get there. Our favourite personally well sampled distractions:

Relaxing:

Beaches – loads to walk along and enjoy – Pohara, Tata, Ligar Bay, Patons Rock, all with much soft sand, shallow easy swim waters and stunning views.

Horse Riding @ Hack FarmFine for novices, (like me!), but also experienced riders, you get to ride along a wonderful beach and kick up some surf!

Takaka Village Theatre slip into a sofa, bask on a beanbag, while enjoying the latest popular and arthouse movies. They even still have an intermission so you can top up and take in a glass of wine or cup of coffee!

Waitapu Springs B&B Outdoor Spa and indoor pool – available to non paying guests but phone in advance to reserve your timeslot.

Jacques Cousteau Pirate Expresso Ship, Pohara/Ligar Bay – freetrade coffee topside!

Accommodation:

San Souci Inn, Poharalovely Mediterranean feel eco friendly accommodation and great evening dining restaurant, with your own mini villa….no worries!

Waitapu Springs B&B, Takakacosy, characterful B&B with abundant continental breakfasts, (including Belgian chocolate), plus outdoor hot spas & sauna plus indoor chilled swimming pool to help cool off in, all included, (which you can pay a small amount to indulge in even if not a guest).

Shady Rest B&B: A Victorian villa with decor to match, and superb fried breakfasts.

Eating:

Choco Loco, Takakagorgeous hand crafted award winning chocolates, opposite Dangerous Kitchen. If that’s not enough they also do great pastries, coffee and other chocolate delights. Don’t go there if you’re a) hungry or b) on a tight budget…you just have to have more…..

Wholemeal Cafe, Takaka – a legend in it’s own lunchtime, (and dinner time), with a great atmosphere.

Roots Bar, Takaka – Mix it up with the locals and a laid back vibe, plus the tastiest home made burgers in town.

Walks:

Labyrinth Rocks Park, Takaka – great place to scare the kids silly, (and possibly yourself), by going there just before dusk….

Wainui Falls, Wainui well worth the easy access 30 minute walk, with cool rock pools and swing bridge along the way, just about the last stop before the sealed road taking you on a twisting Mediterranean like drive runs out…

From near here you can also access the northern most point of the Abel Tasman via Wainui Bay for some good walks, but note on foot only, you cannot drive our cars to Totaranui.

Te Waikoropupu Springs (or ‘Pupu Springs‘), just north of Takaka – the largest coldwater springs in the southern hemisphere with some of the clearest water ever measured in the world.

And just for these 2 we’ll make a special exception to drive on short unsealed roads to access them, providing you go very, very slowly, are not in the MG, and if in a convertible, you put the roof up!

Pupu Hydro Walkway – A unique 2 hour walk, partly in the bush alongside a delightful cool water raceway, still used to generate electricity. Get to chat to strangers as you negotiate passing on the extremely narrow boardwalks in places high up in the hills….but there are at least railings!

Wharariki Beach, Farewell Spit – a 20 minute walk from the car park for the sake of experiencing this magical place. Windswept, huge dunes, wild waves, seal colonies, expansive rolling sand and not a deckchair in sight….

For more information go to www.goldenbaynz.co.nz


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