Takaka, Golden Bay

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• Harwood’s Hole – 176 metre deep sink hole

• Ngarua Caves

• Abel Tasman National Park

• Kahurangi National Park

• Walk the Heaphy Track

• Explore old gold fields in Aorere Valley

• Majestic Takaka Hill – also known as the Marble Mountain

• Te Waikoropupu Springs – purest spring water in the world

• Pohara, Tata and Totaranui Beaches. Also Wharakiki Beach on the West Coast.

• 4WD tour of Farewell Spit – see Pillar Point lighthouse and gannet colony

• Visit galleries and watch artists at work

Drive Times

Nelson – Takaka, 1 hour 45 mintues

Population: 1,500
Region: Tasman

Golden Bay is dominated by the long strip of sand which makes up the great curve of Farwell Spit at the north western tip of the South Island. Often featured in news bulletins as a site of whale strandings, this geographical feature is clearly a hazard to marine mammals as well as shipping. Tourists however enjoy a 4WD tour out to the lighthouse on the spit to view the abundant birdlife and learn of the natural and man made history of this region.

History and Culture

The land in this region was highly prized by early Maori due to the abundance of marine and land based food supplies. The seas and surrounding rivers and lakes were rich with many fish species, the rocks along the shoreline yielded shellfish and there was plentiful birdlife. Consequently there were many disputes between the iwi (tribes) over access to these resources and many battles fought. In 1642, Dutch navigator, Abel Tasman anchored off Golden Bay and sent a party ashore. Four of the men were killed by Maori and Tasman subsequently named this bay Murderers Bay. The name for this beautiful area was later changed to Golden Bay. It was in the 1840’s that the New Zealand Company founded what is now the city of Nelson and European settlement of the area began. The township of Takaka was established in the 1850’s and by the 1860’s had its own small railway that serviced the timber industry that flourished there until the 1900’s. Nowadays the little town is the vibrant hub of the Golden Bay farming community. There are many beautiful beaches close by including popular Pohara, Tata, and Totaranui. These, along with the many art galleries and craft shops attract numerous visitors to the area, particularly in the summer months. 

For more information about Golden Bay and the surrounding area, click through to our Discover New Zealand Nelson and Marlborough Region section.



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