Nelson Tasman locals and people from all around New Zealand have a deep love for Golden Bay and Takaka, and it’s easy to see why. With an incredibly vibrant and arty community at its heart, Takaka is known for welcoming visitors as one of their own, and it’s not uncommon to leave having made a bunch of new lifelong friends.
If you’re looking for character, diversity and artisan experiences, you’ll find plenty to love here, with a string of art and craft stores dotted along the main street, complemented by mural walls bursting with colour. There’s something magical in the air for creative people here, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons it was used for several locations in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.
There are a wide range of accommodation options to suit every visitor, and we recommend you spend more than a couple of days here to experience everything this extraordinary place has to offer. The incredible views from the top of Takaka Hill are enough in themselves to justify the journey over from Nelson City, but they are only the tip of the iceberg (or the ‘marble mountain’, so to speak). With Ngarua Caves at the summit, and the Riwaka Resurgence at the base, the hill is just a preview of everything still to come.
From the internationally-famous live music venue The Mussel Inn, to the 35km long Farewell Spit, the limestone crag climbing at Paynes Ford and the popular string of beaches stretching from Wainui Bay to Whanganui Inlet, Golden Bay really does have it all. Labyrinth Rocks park in the Grove Scenic Reserve is yet another hidden gem that is well worth exploring, especially if you’re visiting as a family, and early birds (excuse the pun) can head to Tata Beach before sunrise to watch hundreds of spotted shags flying in from their roosts around the Tata Islands as part of their morning ritual.
What’s more, Golden Bay is highly connected to two of the regions three spectacular national parks, perhaps the reason for it's tagline 'Heart of the Parks', and for the stunning golden sands that line the eastern side of the bay. From Takaka you can easily access the Abel Tasman National Park with Golden Bay Kayaks, or enter the Kahurangi National Park and the Heaphy Track by foot, all of which offer a wealth of sightseeing and adventure activities to top off your visit.