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This 250km route is a personal favourite for many reasons – the drive, the destination, the downtime….Golden Bay is the region the other side of Takaka Hill, with a real get away from it all vibe. Quiet beaches, walks, the wonders of nature, all bathed in plenty of sleepy sunshine with nothing remotely urban….bliss.

Starting in Nelson, turn off along the Moutere Highway to enjoy some fine driving roads and the vineyards at Mahana, where we filmed a number of our videos. It’s pretty similar to Route 1) except you skip the southern entrance to the Abel Tasman National Park and aim for the northern one, which is a walk in one only, no water taxis. In between is the not insignificant Takaka Hill but as the local slogan goes, ‘it’s just a hill, get over it‘….and what a fan-bloomin’-tastic road to drive it is too. The view into Takaka Valley you get starting the descent is a real ‘whoa‘ moment, plus there are caves to stop and explore enroute.  

From Takaka we recommend driving to Pohara and to the beaches beyond and enjoying the 30 min walk to to Wainui Falls, or there’s the magical Te Waikoropupu Springs nearby. You could go further and onto Collingwood but only organised tour buses can go onto Farewell Spit itself.

Coming back from Motueka, look out for the stone messages in the mud at low tide, and then take the scenic route back via Ruby Bay and Mapua, another favoured film location of ours.  We strongly recommend you take the loop in a clockwise direction, as then you can time it to finish in Mapua in the evening, and enjoy hot Fush ‘n Chups, (now you’re talking like a Kiwi), and a glass of pinot gris on the wharf as the sun sets….

The Nelson, Golden Bay and Mapua Loop

Delights that await you...

Click through the gallery below to see just some of the delights that await you en route, many of which were taken on my own adventures, (you can probably spot those ones….)

Trafalgar St Nelson, Late Night
Trafalgar St Nelson, Late Night

Trafalgar St Nelson

Mahana Vineyards

The Vineyards at Mahana, where we made our RentAClassic videos.

Wainui Bay looking towards the Abel Tasman National Park

Wainui Falls, just a thirty minute walk

Jumping for joy in sand dunes Wharariki beach, Golden Bay with RentAClassic

Horse Ride along golden beaches

MG suns itself at Mapua...

Trafalgar St Nelson, Late NightMahana Vineyards

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