Upper South Island and the West Coast Places


Golden Bay and Takaka

Getting Here and Around

Golden Bay Air flies scheduled flights from Wellington to Takaka, and to both ends of the Heaphy Track. They also run shuttles to the northern end of the Heaphy Track and the Abel Tasman Park.

There's only one road into Golden Bay, over the Takaka Hill on State Highway 60—a spectacular hill road, which rises up 2,500 feet before plunging again to sea level to the tiny township of Takaka, a jumping-off point for Farewell Spit, Kahurangi National Park, and the Heaphy Track. This road is a 40-minute climb of twisting corners, steep drop-offs, and occasional passing bays, but don't be tempted to check the views while you're driving. Wait until you reach Bob's Lookout, on the Nelson side of the hill, and Harwood Lookout, on the Takaka side, for safe viewings. The Ngarua Caves, on the Nelson side of the summit, are worth a look, with their glittering caverns, stalactites, and moa bones.

Golden Bay begs to be explored, so if you take the trouble to cross the Takaka hill into this spectacular area, plan to stay at least two nights or you'll spend your whole time driving and none enjoying the rewards of your travels. Abel Tasman Coachlines runs daily services to Takaka, the Heaphy Track, and Totaranui (check times in winter).