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Golden Bay Activities Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay

Golden Bay is one of the few places in the world where, within one hours drive, you will find two of New Zealand's most spectacular national parks. Glistening, golden sand beaches and turquoise, crystal clear waters, alongside alpine meadows and snowy mountain ranges.

Golden Bay is enjoyable all year as we have a climate that rivals the Mediterranean climate (but milder) and is ideal year-round for outdoor activities. Summer time day temperatures are usually 23C (73F) to 28C (82F) and even in mid-winter, day-time temperatures in Golden Bay usually reach 13C (55F) to 15C (60F). This very mild climate together with Nelson region's high sunshine hours ensures that the beautiful outdoors of Golden Bay can be enjoyed year-round.
One of the most frequent comments from visitors to Golden Bay is that they wished that they had arranged to stay longer! One reason being that there are so many diverse activities to participate in, from simple beach walks to conducted tours.

  • By far the most popular activity of our guests.
  • Our central location between two National Parks and two of New Zealand's Great Walks, (the Heaphy Track and the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk) one to the north and one to the south, means there are enough day walks within 1 hours drive of Adrift Accommodation to keep even the most avid walker satisfied for many weeks. The Department of Conservation lists some of these Golden Bay walks

    Tukurua Beach
  • From Adrift In Golden Bay it is possible at low tide to walk north along the beach for 10 km to Collingwood or head south for 15 km almost to Takaka.
  • Most of the year you are unlikely to meet more than one or two people on your walk.
  • The Mussel Inn is also a pleasant 3km walk mostly along the beach.

    Here is a list of the most popular walks in Golden Bay, all within one hours drive of Adrift in Golden Bay. Some of the more famous walks are discussed in the National Parks section.

    Te Waikoropupu Springs
  • Features: A whole river emerges from an underground cave system. The world's clearest fresh water.
  • Drive time: 15 min south towards Takaka
  • Walk time: 30 min return, very easy.
  • Definitely not to be missed. One of New Zealand's most visited reserves. A circular track through native bush takes walkers past old gold mine workings and a series of springs. The largest spring has a viewing platform and underwater periscope.

    Wharariki Beach
  • Features: Wild West Coast beach - big waves, caves, seals and massive sand dunes.
  • Drive time: 40min north towards Farewell Spit
  • Walk time: between 40min – 2 hours return, easy, but there is a steepish drop-off on one side of a section of the track (this can be avoided by walking along the top of the hill).
  • Highly recommended for those who haven't yet experienced a wild West Coast beach. Made all the more attractive by the fact that there is no vehicle access directly to the beach and requires a 20 walk across farmland from the car park. On arriving at the beach, there are three rocky islands – the furthest out is inaccessible at all times and features a dramatic archway through its centre. The next island inland features a series of rock pools when at low tide, baby seals can often be found at play and provide great entertainment for visitors. The closest island has two caves running through it out to the sea which can be explored if you have a flashlight with you. For the more adventurous, you can proceed down the beach to the left to a stone arch and several caves – a path cuts inland and allows you to return to the car park via an inland farm track. Take warm, wind-proof clothing with you and beware of tidal changes. Not safe for swimming.

    Totaranui to Mutton Cove, Abel Tasman National Park
  • Features: The northern coast of Abel Tasman Park which is the most attractive and quietest part of the park. Golden sand beaches and crystal clear water.
  • Drive time: 45 min south. A beautiful drive south though Abel Tasman National Park to Totaranui in the very centre of the park.
  • Walk time: 2 hours each way from Totaranui to Mutton Cove. Easy but can include a side trip to Separation Point (seal colony) which is a steep, rocky track. Leave time for a swim, relaxing, exploring or additional walks from Totaranui.
  • Cost: Free.
  • There are no shops in the national park, so take food and a drink with you.

    Pupu Hydro Walkway
  • Features: bird life, history, scenery.
  • Drive time: 15 min south towards Takaka
  • Walk time: 2 hours round trip
  • Turn off Highway 60 as for Te Waikoropupu ( Pupu) Springs but take the right fork about 1 km from the highway.

    Wainui Falls
  • Features: a variety of landscapes including New Zealand native bush and to one of the best waterfalls in the region.
  • Drive time: 40 min. Drive south past Takaka and Pohara
  • Walk time: Easy 40min walk but does cross a swing bridge and the path is narrow in part (not for the faint-hearted)
  • The falls are sign-posted from the main road to Totaranui at Wainui. The walk starts off across farmland then follows the river through a wooded area. The next section cuts across a cliff face then into a lowland area of bush finishing at the base of the waterfall.

    Kaituna Track
  • Features: native bush, old gold workings. Be rewarded after the walk with a snack and drink at the Naked Possum Café.
  • Drive time: 20 min north. At the road junction just before Collingwood, turn left toward Bainham.
  • Walk time: Easy, 20min to 3 hours return.
  • The start is situated across the road from The Naked Possum. It is possible to follow the track right through to the Westhaven Inlet on the West Coast (an 8 hour tramp). Most people prefer to walk only to the site of the old Kaituna gold workings (20mins) or on to the river forks, an easy 3 hour return jaunt.

    Grove Reserve
  • Features: Dramatic karst limestone features and a view over Golden Bay.
  • Drive time: 25min south. Drive past Takaka toward Pohara. Turn right at Clifton.
  • Walk time: Easy 30 min return but the last section of track can be slippery in wet weather.
  • The walk wanders past towering columns of limestone covered with creepers and heavy sub-tropical native vegetation. The path leads to a cleft in the rock with a dramatic view over Golden Bay.

    Fossil Point
  • Features: A walk over farmland leading to a wild sandy beach with rocks containing fossils exposed at low tide. Nibbles and a drink sold at the Paddle Crab Café.
  • Drive time: 30 min north to the base of Farewell Spit.
  • Walk time: Easy, 2 hours return.

    Abel Tasman Coastal Walks south of Totaranui
  • Features: Abel Tasman coastline. Sandy bays usually combined with a water taxi trip.
  • Drive time: 45 min south. A beautiful drive south though Abel Tasman National Park to Totaranui in the very centre of the park.
  • Walk time: Various. See the water taxi brochures at reception for more detailed information

    Taupo Point
  • Features: A quiet beach walk with interesting rock formations and sandy coves finishing at a historic Maori settlement.
  • Drive time: 40 min south. Drive past Takaka and Pohara to Wainui
  • Walk time: Easy, 2 hours return but the final section is rocky and can be slippery. Access is tide dependant.

    Rawhiti Cave
  • Features: Follows a river valley to a stunning cave entrance covered with a multitude of stalactite formations.
  • Drive time: 30 min south. Drive past Takaka towards Pohara, turn right at Motupipi then first left up Packards Rd to the end.
  • Walk time: Easy at first but in order to get the cave, there is a long series of switchbacks which are quite demanding. 3 hours return.

    Salisbury Bridge and Falls
  • Features: A historic foot bridge built during the gold mining days leads to Salisbury Falls and swimming hole.
  • Drive time: 30 min north and west. At the road junction just before Collingwood turn left then continue past Bainham. A stop at the historic Bainham store is well worthwhile, where fresh coffee and home-made cakes are available.
  • Walk time: Easy. 10 min.
  • Guided walks are also available.

  • The arts community in Golden Bay is vibrant and varied, catering to all tastes and expressions. Tour the region and visit professional studios and their resident artists.

  • Several locations in Golden Bay were used in filming 'The Hobbit' Trilogy.
  • The first film 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' featured the private property of Kaihoka Station (west coast of Golden Bay).
  • Fans can get a good feel for the filming location with Cape Farewell Horse Treks.
  • It is possible to ride across private farmland to the dramatic limestone cliff top which offers spectacular coastal views over Golden Bay. A great way to experience some dramatic scenery.

  • Enjoy a different perspective of our local coastline from the sheltered waters of Golden Bay in our two stable, sit-on, single kayaks or our double kayak; available free of charge to guests. Adrift In Golden Bay faces east so it is normally quite sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds.
  • For the more adventurous kayaker, escape the crowds and kayak the quieter northern parts of Abel Tasman National Park from Golden Bay. Half day guided tours or independent double kayak hire from Golden Bay Kayaks.

  • Golden Bay Flights operates a charter flight service from Golden Bay and will also provide return transport for those doing the Heaphy Track.

  • Golden Bay has one of the best downhill mountain bike trails in New Zealand, the Remeka Track. Starting at the summit of the Takaka hill (Marble Mountain) it descends almost 1000 vertical metres through native bush.
  • One-way transport to the top of the Marble Mountain and excellent rental bikes are available in Takaka.
  • Rameka Track was recently voted Number 83 in New Zealand's nationwide poll "101 Must Dos for Kiwis".
  • It is possible to mountain bike the Heaphy Track from 1st May until 30th September each year until at least 2013. The track can be done in one day by a very fit cyclist but only when daylight hours permit and a minimum of 2 days each way is highly recommended. Then why not ease those aches in one of our luxury spas!

  • Just 2 km north from our accommodation, variety of small sailboats can be hired at a very nominal fee for sailing in the sheltered waters of the Para Para inlet. Sailboards are also available.

  • Golden Bay boasts 3 different conducted cave tours as well as the most extensive cave systems in the Southern Hemisphere.

  • Experience an indulgent warm-oil massage in your own cottage at Adrift with Bay Bliss Ayurvedic Massage or rejuvenate yourself with a facial or SpaPedicure/Manicure at Touch of Beauty in Takaka.

  • Golden Bay sits between 2 large limestone outcrops, one in Kahurangi National Park and one in Abel Tasman National Park. This affords some excellent and varied climbs, the best known being Payne's Ford (15 min drive from Adrift)

  • Our local 9 hole course is right along side the seashore where you can enjoy some excellent views from the course and clubhouse.

  • Take a day out to go fishing.
  • You can try your hand at landing a salmon or two at Anatoki Salmon Farm where you only pay for what you catch.
  • Fish our beautiful clear rivers for trout.
  • Spend some time out in Golden Bay sea fishing or dredging (in season) for scallops.
  • Bring home your trophies to cook on the BBQ!

  • Golden Bay's mild climate supports a wide range of different farming ventures our main industry being dairy farming.
  • If you have never seen cows being milked you can watch this at one of our local farms.
  • Bencarri Farm started as a farm for alpacas, llamas and sheep but now has developed along the lines of a park zoo for rare animals complete with a cafe where you can also feed the tame eels.

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