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Golden Bay


Discover Golden Bay


Golden Bay has an incredible variety of scenery from the seashore to mountain crags.  We have listed a few favourites that can be easily enjoyed.  Divided into 5 sections, we provide brief descriptions of some of the most magnificent landscapes and attractions in the bay.                   dt=drive times.


  • Close by The Sandcastle
  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Farewell Spit area
  • Kahurangi National Park
  • Others



You can find the Sandcastle by heading towards the Abel Tasman National Park (as shown in the map below).

Maps of the Sandcastle

Drive until you get to the beach, then take the first road on the right (Pohara Valley Road – you’ll see the Sandcastle sign) and then right again into Haile Lane. We’re at the end – you can’t miss us…

Pohara BeachPohara Beach – a beautiful and safe swimming beach just a few minutes’ stroll from the Sandcastle.

Sunset on Pohara Beach
Pohara Beach at sunset.

Aerial view of the Sandcastle & Pohara Beach
The picture above shows an aerial view of the Sandcastle in the foreground and the easy walk to Pohara Beach.

Pohara also offers a Golf Course, Tennis Courts, Boat Ramp, Bars & Restaurants, and places to buy alcoholic beverages. Nearby, you’ll find plenty of beautiful places to explore, relax and enjoy life.

See Golden Bay

Virtual Nature Photographs of Golden Bay. Sea Kayak hire and tours.
The Original Farewell Spit Safari Tours and nature watching.
Department of Conservation Caretakers for NZ’s natural treasures.
Kahurangi Guided Walks Safe, unique, wilderness experiences.
Kahurangi Buses Travel to, from and within Golden Bay.

Galleries & Attractions

Golden Bay Records Local music label.
The Mussel Inn The best pub in the world.
Lilies In Bloom Flowering lily plants and lily bulbs.
Bencarri Farm Park & Cafe Good food in a relaxed, great outdoors setting.
Anatoki Salmon Catch your own salmon and have it smoked at the same time.

More Info on Golden Bay

Golden Bay Index Golden Bay links and information.
Golden Bay Organics Tasty, affordable, organic food and information.


Close by ‘ The Sandcastle’


Pohara beach:  Safe swimming and a great beach walk-only five minutes walk from The Sandcastle to the beach.  If you want a long beach walk you can walk as far as Rototai sand spit, return across the golf course and back along the beach.(approx two hours return)


Abel Tasman Memorial:   Just past Tarakohe harbour – dt 3min.  A short climb to enjoy wide views of Golden Bay.   Information panels tell the story of the first visit to New Zealand by Europeans.


Ligar Bay & Tata beach:  Looking for the perfect beaches?  Tata beach has excellent swimming at any state of the tide.


The Grove Scenic Reserve:  Follow signs at Clifton – dt 5 min. A  20min shady walk among  limestone outcrops covered in native vegetation, including towering rata trees and nikau palms. The lookout has lovely views towards Motupipi sandspit and beyond.


Rawhiti Cave:  Follow signs at end of Packards Rd. – dt 12 min.  A 2 hour return walk(involving a steep climb but well worth the effort) that follows a dried gorge and climbs through totara forest to a spectacular cave entrance.  Take care exploring, as this is a slippy and fragile environment.


Te Waikoropupu Springs (PuPu):  Past Takaka, follow sign at bridge – dt 15 min.   A beautiful 15-min stroll along boardwalks.  The purest water in the southern hemisphere dramatically pumped from the earth. Also view old gold workings in regenerating bush.This is Golden Bay’s most visited attraction. A must-see.


PuPu Hydro and walkway:  Drive past springs turnoff – dt 20 min.  A 1 and a half to 2-hour loop walk, following an old gold sluice water race that’s now used for hydropower.  Return to Hydro station by a service track.  Great views, beautiful  native bush and the nearest access from here to the Kahurangi National Park.


Abel Tasman National Park


Wainui Falls:  Follow sign to car park past Wainui river – dt 15 min.  The one-hour return walk follows the river valley, through lush bush, for 20 minutes to the waterfall- spectacular  after a heavy downpour.  Look out for the massive Northern rata slowly engulfing its host. (One of our favourite short walks in Golden Bay.)


Taupo Point:  Follow coast to park gate – dt 20 min. A two-hour return walk). Follow the beautiful low-tide walk to this historic Pa site and golden sandy beach.  Wonderful on a hot sunny day. The charm is in the remote beach coves you will discover and the different perspective on the bay. Check tide times before undertaking this walk.


Pidgeon Saddle Lookout track:  Totaranui road, Park car at Pigeon Saddle (the top)– dt 20 min. Walking track starts on left side of road.  A short rough trail through a species rich area with some massive trees.  The rock outcrop offers views to Wainui Bay and beyond.


Totaranui beach:  dt 40 min, partly on unsealed road. One of New Zealand’s most famous stretches of sand.  Golden yellow against vivid blue sea.  A visitor centre at campsite contains information. Well worth a visit.


Separation Point:  Recommended to walk from Totaranui as you’ll pass the stunning Mutton Cove and Anapai bay but can also be reached from park entrance at Wainui.  Approx. 4-5 hour return full days walk.


Or Separation Point loop walk:  For a good day out leave the car at Wainui car park and take the bus to Totaranui.  The walk, following the coastal track past Whariwharangi hut, will take 4 to 5 hours back to the car.  Need to arrange the bus as it leaves about 9AM.


Birds clearing:  At Clifton follow signs to Abel Tasman Park – dt 30 min.  Follow an unsealed road up and up.  Not for the faint hearted but you will be rewarded by some amazing views.  Follow signs for the Abel Tasman inland walking track to follow as long as you wish.


Explore by Water Taxi:  By booking beforehand board a water taxi at Totaranui and visit bays deeper within the park. If arranged companies can advise on walks and collection times.  Details of companies  in reception.


Farewell Spit area


Wharariki beach:  Follow road at Puponga – dt 80 min.  A stunning, wide west coast beach with dramatic rock formations and wild seas.  Often baby seals spotted in the pools.  Some good marked trails to follow. A must-see!


Fossil Point:  Park at the Farewell Spit gate (below café) – dt 60 min.  A loop track(approx 1 hour return) across farmland to the coast. Back via the tidal sand flats of this internationally important bird sanctuary.


Walk on the Spit:  Go up the inside of the Farewell Spit and then follow a sign to cross it to return on the outside. Amazing dune systems and opportunity to spot sea birds (Godwits)


Farewell Spit Tour:  Travel by bus with expert guides and learn the history and observe natural world of this internationally important wetland and bird sanctuary.  The 2 companies who have concessions are contained in this folder.


Kahurangi National Park


Kaituna walk:  Park at Naked Possum café – dt 40 min. A benched walk following the river to a crossing that takes you deep into the forest of the Whakamarama Range.  Great views, massive trees and  old gold workings to explore.


Cobb Valley: Follow road from Upper Takaka – dt 2 hours.  After the Cobb Hydro station the road becomes unsealed.  The drive takes you above the tree line to the high alpine peaks.  Information available on tramps in the area from the DOC office.  This is a more serious excursion.

Heaphy Track:  Drive up Aorere valley – dt 2 hours.  Beautiful place to explore and follow the start of this ‘great walk’.


Westhaven Inlet:  Turn at Pakawau – dt 80min.  The road continues all the way to Anatori estuary.  Very remote giving a perspective on the untamed west coast.


Scenic Flight:  Take off from Takaka airfield to view the most memorable and dramatic scenery in the area.  Jim is a great guide and pilot and the trips are pretty good value considering what is on offer. (Ph 0800 150 338).


Aorere Goldfields:  A pot-holed track from Bainham – dt 40 min.  An easy trail meets the old water race to Druggans Dam passing caves and lush bush.  Historic site of the oldest and longest run gold workings in New Zealand.


Aorere River:  Follow the river valley to see Bainham store, site of Salisbury Bridge and some great swim holes.  A quiet farming area hemmed by National Parks.


Milnthorpe forest reserve: dt 25min.  On the road to Collingwood a network of mapped paths are marked in this area of regenerating coastal forest.  A good loop walk could include a stretch up this beautiful section of beach.


Harwoods Hole:  Top Takaka Hill – dt 40 mins.  An easy 40-min walk through high beech forest (features in the Hobbit) to view the massive hole at the end of Gorge creek.  A sidetrack takes you to a good viewpoint.  At the car park DOC has provided mountain bike trails.


Takaka Hill Walking Track:  Networks of tracks that lead you through a variety of high country landscapes.


A variety of attractions are well worth checking out.  Some brochures are contained in the folder with more information.  The Golden Bay promotions map is worth looking at.  A number is against each listing.


Labyrinth Rocks Park     Open as a council scenic reserve. A great excursion for children or the child within.


Bencarri Farm {91} dt 15 min.  Ever fed wild eels?  Lots of animals and a great café make it a worthwhile trip.  Keep your ticket as it will allow future visits.


Anatoki Salmon  {92}  dt 15 min.  Free entry to fish and then smoke to your taste.  Price of fish will depend on the weight of your catch.


Village Theatre  {56} We are very proud of our little cinema.  Variety of films most evenings.


Takaka Museum.  Free entry.  Check the scale model of Abel Tasman’s ship amongst much else.


Galleries.  The many artists in the bay produce a very comprehensive guide and map of all the galleries.  No obligation to pop in and chat to this wonderful group of people.  I will mention, the painter, Geoffrey Heath who works from his gallery in Haile Lane- about 2 minutes from your cottage.


Village Distillery.  Behind the Wholemeal in Takaka.  A unique venture that takes local fruit and distills it.  Visit, see and possibly sample the whole process.


Gardens.   If you like to visit gardens then you’ll love them in East Takaka.


Trug Maker.  Worth a visit just for the drive to this workshop on One Spec Road.  Buy a completely unique gift that will last a lifetime from a traditional craftsman.


Golden Bay Organics.  Ok not an attraction but if you are putting together a picnic why not check out our organic shop.  Started as a local co- operative it’s the place to be seen!


Golden Bay Kayaks.  Leave from Tata on either a guided trip or in your own group.  Just a short paddle takes you to some stunning coastline.  Penguins, seals and rays often spotted. Tel 525 9095


Come fly with Jim. Scenic Flights which allow you to see the incredible variety of Golden Bay from the air.  Great value for a brilliant experience. 525 6167 or 0800 150 338


The Quiet Revolution.  The experts on Mountain and road biking.  Operates from Takaka and can set up any trip to suit your need.  The Rameika Track? Tel 525 9555


Mountain Bike Transport.  Get your bike or hire one to the top of the Takaka hill and come down the Rameka track.  Much else offered by this passionate mountain biking company.  525 8783.


Takaka Icelandic horse treks. For all levels of riders who wants to experience this amazing breed of horse. Located close to Pohara. Beautiful beach rides Tel.525 9616.


Cape Farewell Horse Treks.  Fantastic riding on untouched west coast.  All experience catered for by this long established company. 03 524 8031


Make your own bone carving:  Chris Bone has a small workshop behind the Wholemeal café  is willing to help you make your own original piece of work.  You will require a booking.


JC’S Fishing Charters.  All bait and tackle supplied.  Sea fish with an expert. 03 524 8644 


Coffee Ship {the harbour} Meet Ollie and drink good coffee on Jacque’s original wooden hulled vessel.  A good place to watch the port activity from.


Totally Roasted (Pohara)  Fairly traded and organic. Fantastic coffee in a gallery,  Stock up on ground coffee for your trip.


Where to Eat.


This list could never be comprehensive but will cover local eateries  and our favourites.  If you have a good dining experience let us know so we can guide future guests that way!


Plan B. (Pohara)  Our newest venture in Pohara and by all reports excellent.


Ratanui Lodge (Pohara). Elegant dining in Pohara. Excellent food in a beautifully styled restaurant.Bookings essential by 12pm on the day.


San Souci. (Pohara)  A very special menu is served in a beautifully styled restaurant.  A place to linger and enjoy an evening.  Booking essential and worthwhile – we promise you’ll have some of the best food in New Zealand.


Penguin Café and Bar. (Pohara) Well presented fresh food in a café environment.


Wholemeal Café (Takaka)  Famous for good coffee, people watching and the notice board.  A Golden Bay instution that needs a look in.


Dangerous Kitchen (Takaka) Great Pizza, great atmosphere and much else.


Brigand (Takaka) Popular café/bar often with live music (Thursday Jam session) and meals.


Junction Hotel (Takaka) Good traditional kiwi style cooking, we love it!


Telegraph Hotel (Takaka) A good value feed in a local pub atmosphere with new owners.


Mussel Inn (Onekaka)  {37} This iconic pub needs no introduction.  If you’re keen on beer then arrange a designated driver, also a great menu.  Keep an eye out for the live music that happens here.


Naked Possum {21} Stunning bush setting for this conservation minded café.  Fantastic food and welcome.


Paddlecrab Kitchen {1} At the foot of Farewell Spit this cafe offers extensive views as well as a good menu.  Again new owners.


Golden Nugget Café {Mangarakau}  Take a trip past Westhaven inlet to the most remote café in New Zealand.  Set by an important wetland it is a truly unique experience to visit.  Only open in summer months

Langford Store,  Aorere valley. Where better for afternoon tea.






How does the Laundry work?  It is not coin operated but we do ask for $2 a wash in the glass bottle above the machine.  Our washers are top loaders and operate with cold wash only.  Just put in the dirty clothes, add powder and make selections – remember cold wash only.


Is the water safe to drink? Yes! Water  is piped from a limestone stream, settled in two concrete tanks, fed through a UV light to your cottage.   All precautions are taken to ensure it is pure.


Our furry friends.   Squeak and Amber, the horses, love attention but, please, do not feel tempted to enter the paddock.  If we are attending to their needs you are welcome to ask questions. Sal, huntaway/collie cross. loves to be played with and hanging out, but do not feed her. You can however drop some scraps into the chickens.  The sheep – well it is New Zealand and they help keep the grass under control.


What can we do if it rains? Golden Bay is beautiful with its lush, vibrant green and magnificent rivers which means it does rain from time to time. Visit the many galleries, check out the museums in Takaka, Collingwood,  or the machinery museum at Rockville, walk in the forest, (best results for photographs) take a drive to Bainham and Rockville- both have cafes. Check the cinema for what is showing, visit library or … find a good book, kick back and enjoy your cottage.


If I want a  Sauna/spa what need I do? We are very proud of our little complex and it is usually available.  The Spa is normally hot, operate by push pad.  If it does not look clear enough please tell Steve so it can be dealt with.  For the sauna, book with Steve to arrange a time.  Always shower before using the sauna and spa.


What does the bay offer children?  On a sunny day Ligar Bay is magic for warm pools,  explore Labyrinth Rock park, Bencarrie Farm Park – feed eels and pet the many animals, lots of short walks, play crazy golf in Pohara, hunt for fossils in the rocks on the sea shore, collect shells, map read the woodland footpaths at Milnthorpe. Have an ice cream at Pohara Store.


Can I use the BBQ and Pizza oven? Yes, the oven is easy and fun. Ask Steve how to get the best delicious results – we can provide the pizza base.


When can I get a Massage?.  We have a number of qualified, skilled therapists on call who use the onsite ‘Sandcastle’ studio.  I have never had anyone disappointed by the treatment they receive.  Please talk to us if you would like to gift someone special or are celebrating – then why not rest up in your cottage or have a spa.


When are the Yoga classes?  Every Friday at 5.30pm and Thursdays at 6pm in our purpose-built yoga hall. If otherwise we will let you know.  If you wish we can pass on details of the yoga courses at The Sandcastle throughout the year.


Also, there is a table tennis table in the hall for your use and we are happy to put on a film on the big screen for children in the evenings or on wet days on request.


Milk, vegetables, bread – Village Milk at Motupipi sells delicious raw milk straight from the cow via a vending machine for $2 per litre. You have to take your own clean bottle  – some  bottles can be found in the reception for your use.

For  fresh vegetables try Rocks World near The Grove, at Clifton, Waitapu Gardens in Takaka, the Community Gardens or  Golden Bay Organics on the main street of Takaka.  Beautiful European-style Bread is freshly made daily at Takaka Infusion teashop in the centre of  the township.  Every Saturday morning Takaka has a market and there is also the Fresh Choice supermarket.  Pohara Store stocks essentials, lovely ice creams and has a great little take away outlet.


The Sandcastle reception has plenty of information about Golden Bay.  There is  also a book exchange to check out, and a bell (left of the door) that will summon Steve or Hayley – maybe to order breakfast, a sauna or a massage?


Breakfast. A simple breakfast of croissant, toast, honey or jam, and coffee or tea is $8. A cooked breakfast, including egg and bacon or sausage, tomato or mushrooms is $12.  Where possible we source what we can from our hens, garden or bees.  Please order the night before  and we will deliver the tray to your cottage at whatever time you choose.


Cottage serviceRubbish and recycling is collected daily and towels exchanged if required.   When you wish a change of towels please leave them on the outside table for us to find.


Checking out. If you prepaid we would love to say cheerio before you head off. Any feedback on the Sandcastle is always welcome as it is our wish to meet all our guests’ expectations.  Please leave the key in the door and we will do the rest.  Also, find us on Facebook and you can follow all that happens here. Finally, do tell your friends about The Sandcastle!