Golden Bay Journals

Golden Bay...NZ's secret hotspot for nature lovers!

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A February 2003 trip to Golden Bay by wanderluster

Westhaven Retreat Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand More Photos
Quote: The natural world reigns supreme in this golden slice of paradise! No crowds, just spectacular scenery, wildlife and adventure. You can kayak among seals, tour bird colonies, ride horses along secluded beaches, explore sea tunnels, hike along cliffs or coastal tracks, stay in romantic seaside B&Bs . . .

Golden Bay...NZ's secret hotspot for nature lovers!

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Overview

Alluring Wharariki Beach Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
Oh, how I loved this region. THE place where "nature girl" felt most at home. Situated at the northwestern tip of the South Island, Golden Bay is blessed with such spectacular scenery that the most difficult decision is deciding where to go. The sugar-white beaches along the fern-fringed coast of Abel Tasman National Park make it one of the most popular places to tramp or kayak in New Zealand. The coastal track takes 3-5 days, depending on your speed and organizational skills, as two estuary crossings must be completed at low tide. Kayakers have options from ½ day to multi-day trips, guided or not. The northern end of Abel Tasman marks the beginning of the Golden B...Read More

Westhaven Retreat

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Hotel

Westhaven Retreat Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
Remote. Oh, so remote. But that is part of its appeal! Westhaven is a peaceful retreat in Whanagui Inlet located along the northwestern coast, a scenic hour's drive west of Collingwood on gravel roads. We were the lone guests at this octagonal home perched atop a windy hill overlooking a peninsula of rolling green hills, sheep, llamas and inlet waters, bordered by the mighty Tasman Sea. Our hosts greeted us, and urged us to hurry if we still wanted to get in a hike before dinner. Yes! Looking at an aerial map, we chose the 30 minute bushwalk leading to Turtle Bay. The trail was rough, no place for snea...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2003

Westhaven Retreat
Te-Hapu rd. Collingwood
Collingwood, New Zealand
+64 3 5248354

Golden Bay Barefoot Backpackers

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Hotel | "Barefoot Backpackers"

Golden Bay Barefoot Backpackers Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
In tiny Takaka, you're basically restricted to sharing bathrooms in the profusion of city hostels or spending big bucks at waterfront B&Bs in outlying Pohara. Further north along the coast in Golden Bay are additional accommodations, but you'll need your own transportation to access these remote places. We'd spent the day kayaking in Abel Tasman, then took the 6pm bus to Takaka, arriving an hour later. Since the bus stop (Visitor Centre) was closed, the driver took us to the Barefoot Backpacker's Hostel, where we had reservations for the night. We entered the brightly colored home. Airy, open and full of young people busy fixing tomato-and-brie melteds, drinking tea on the patio o...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2003

Golden Bay Barefoot Backpackers
114 Commercial Street
Takaka, NZ 7110
(03) 525 7005

The Wholemeal Cafe

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Restaurant | "Wholemeal Cafe"

The Wholemeal Cafe Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
Step through the neon lit entryway past local message boards, and the first thing you'll notice is the glass display case FULL of oversized muffins, cakes, and paninis. A bakery, you wonder? But one glance beyond and you'll quickly realize it's a full scale restaurant. A TOP NOTCH restaurant! The Wholemeal Caféserves delicious, healthy gourmet fare. Only fresh organic products are used, including free-range chickens. And if you've never eaten a free-range chicken before, you will quickly notice the difference -– unbelievably moist and tender (that's all I buy back home). This was the place we kept returning to during our stay in Golden ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 30, 2003

The Wholemeal Cafe
60 Commercial Street
Takaka, NZ 7110
(03) 525 9426

Kaiteriteri Kayak

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Attraction

Kaiteriteri Kayak Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
I can't think of a better place to kayak on the South Island than Abel Tasman National Park. Over fifty sugar-white beaches stretch up this sunny coast between fern-fringed forests and a turquoise sea. Kayakers can paddle near hundreds of fur-seals in northern Tonga Island Marine Reserve, glide through limestone arches in the south, or explore enchanting islands in between. The hardest part is deciding which kayak trip to take . . . Full day, half-day, or sunset trips. Guided or unguided. And a confusing assortment of multi-day trips combining water taxis, kayaking, AND hiking the famed coastal track. Tents or luxury lodges . . . To further complicate, a slew...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2003

Kaiteriteri Kayak
Kaiteriteri Beach
Kaiteriteri, New Zealand
64 3 527 8383

Barefoot Tour of Golden Bay

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Attraction

Hilltop Walk along cliffs of Tasman Sea Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
AN EXCELLENT INTRODUCTION TO GOLDEN BAY Feeling adventurous? Enjoy nature, wildlife, caves, coast, chocolates? Want an guided trip to some of the wildest, remotest spots in this beautiful coastal region? Then this all day Barefoot Tour is right for you! Organized by Tony & Kath from the Barefoot Backpackers in Takaka, tours depart by van from their hostel on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Cost is a mere $60 NZ ($30US) for an faaabulous day. Our tour guide was Louise, a 30ish gal, who was drawn to this region for its natural beauty and organic farming practices. Her enthusiasm for the area was real, and she made the...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 29, 2003

Horseback Riding near Farewell Spit

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Attraction

Hilltop Walk area where horses pass through on the Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
After spending a month jaunting around most of the South Island, I think two of the most scenic spots for riding horses in New Zealand are Banks Peninsula and Golden Bay. But only this outfit really has their act together in my opinion. Cape Farewell Horse Treks offer five different rides along the northern coast of Golden Bay on the tip of the South Island. Half of the treks offer stunning views of Farewell Spit, a long sandy stretch curving out for 16 miles where thousands of birds congregate; whereas the other treks ride over steep rolling hills before descending to scenic beaches. Owner Gail McKnight was extremely helpful in...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2003

Farewell Spit Nature Preserve

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Attraction

View from the picnic area at Visitor Centre Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
Whale strandings, birds colonies, and desolate sand dunes! Named by Cook in 1779 as he left New Zealand, Farewell Spit is a remote 16 mile stretch of sand carving out into the Tasman Sea on the northwestern top of the South Island. The Spit is a nature preserve and bird sanctuary to nearly 100 species, including Siberian waders, godwit, knot, gannet, weka, skylark, thrushes, keas, spoonbills, finches, hawks, caspian terns, black swans, and blue penguins. All are protected. Unlike the days when a local boasted about killing 23 oystercatchers in a single shot. To see the birds at the end of the spit you'll have to travel with either ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2003

Pupu Springs

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Attraction

Pupu Springs Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
Reading several NZ guidebooks, I noticed that Pupu Springs was consistently regarded as THE place to visit in Golden Bay. Not wanting to miss anything special, we rented a car and made it our fist stop as we headed north of town. Located just 10 minutes north of Takaka off the main highway it was easy to find. We parked and walked the 45 minute scenic loop through forest to see the "world's clearest freshwater springs" stopping to admire plants and trees along the way. A large lake nestled in green foliage was indeed clear. (The only other water on earth with greater clarity is under the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.) Plant life 12 meters deep was highly visible, tricking our eyes into...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2003

Pupu Springs
Golden Bay, South Island, New Zealand. Near Takaka, In The Waikoropupu Valley. From Nelson West On T
South Island, South Island

Hilltop Walk to Wharariki Beach

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Attraction

Cape Farewell Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
My favorite short walk in ALL of New Zealand. Spectacular! A dangerous cliff-side walk overlooking an angry ocean, the trail rolls along pastoral grassy-green hills dotted with sheep before descending and merging with the eerie dunes at Wharariki Beach . . . Our small group (Barefoot Tours) began our hike at Cape Farewell, a scenic photo stop where waves crashed into rocky cliffs and seals frolicked in frothy water far below. Lou, our guide, dropped us off, instructing us to climb up the steep hill to our left (west) and follow the coast until we met her at the beach. We crossed a stile and began our slippery ascent up the grass. No hand...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 29, 2003

Wharariki Beach

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Attraction | "Wild Wharariki Beach"

Wharariki Beach Photo, Golden Bay, Malta
Quote:
Five of us stood knee deep in water, waiting for our eyes to adjust to the black interior of the cave. Weak beams from our flashlights did little more than illuminate red starfish clinging to wet walls and verify the presence of each other. We were inside a sea tunnel, a maze accessed only at low tide on Wharariki Beach. We'd been instructed by our Barefoot Tour leader, Lou, to pair up for safety but the only two who took her command seriously were Japanese girls huddled together, lagging behind. "Ahha–my favorite part!" said Lou eagerly wading forward. She sunk into water thigh high, promising us lower levels ahead. We followed, clenching our teeth in response to the icy temperature...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 29, 2003

Wharariki Beach
Northernmost Beach In Golden Bay, Nz
Golden Bay, NZ

Kayak to idyllic beaches like this one Photo, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Quote:
Deciding what to do, where to go and how long to stay is almost impossible in the planning stages of an extended trip to a new country. This particular region of NZ was the most difficult for me to plan out of the 13 we visited. The good news for you is that I've done my homework so you don't have to! The tour originates in NELSON, a touristy town three hours south of Golden Bay. Most people fly here (fairly inexpensive) or arrive by bus. SUNDAY 7-8:15am: Free van transport by KAITERITERI KAYAK to the public beach in Kaiteriteri. 8:30am-5:15pm: All day kayak trip on Seals & ...Read More

About the Writer

wanderluster

wanderluster
Evansville, Indiana

More Golden Bay Journals

Horseback Riding at Cape Farewell