Golden Bay

Golden Bay is nestled into the South Island’s north-west corner. A chain of steep and rugged mountains cuts its fertile river plains and valleys from the rest of the island.

The Bay’s wonderful outdoor environment attracts regular summer holiday makers year after year, but an increasing number of visitors are discovering that the area can be enjoyed all year round. Most of the time here it is sunny, warm, calm and quiet (except for the birds twittering!).

In this hidden corner of New Zealand are the Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks as well as the famous Farewell Spit and Te Waikoropupu (Pupu) Springs.

From Pohara in the east to Puponga in the west, there is a string of safe, shallow, fine sand beaches. To the west, Wharariki is one of Golden Bay’s gems – huge sand dunes, islands, caves and wild water.

The Heaphy Track is one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks”, and goes 82km through Kahurangi National Park from the hills above the Aorere Valley to the West Coast north of Karamea. It is typically a 4–5 day hike. www.heaphytrack.com.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

Farewell Spit

Farewell Spit is a sand spit more than 20 km long and is the main tourist attraction of the area. All but the 3km at the base of the Spit is a Department of Conservation Protected Area and only accessible to the public through licensed operators (Farewell Spit Eco Tours).

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Collingwood

Collingwood (population about 400), situated 8 km (5 miles) by road from Twin Waters Lodge is the main centre for the area. It is a very historic town and was once proposed as capital of New Zealand. Collingwood was built on the gold rush – up until the discovery of

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Aorere Valley

The Aorere valley follows up the river from Collingwood, at the river mouth, through Rockville and Bainham, to Brown Hut at the start of the Heaphy Track. Rockville is home to the Settlers’ Museum – in the former Rockville Dairy Factory – which houses a range of farm machinery and

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Whanganui Inlet

The Whanganui Inlet is probably the least known of the scenic attractions of Golden Bay. The Whanganui Inlet road starts nearby: just turn left after Pakawau (by the hall) about 5 km north of Twin Waters Lodge. After a few km through “the cut” you will come to the north

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Wharariki Beach

For me, this beach is the star attraction of Golden Bay. Yes, you have to walk there from the car park (15 – 20 minutes), but it is well worth the effort! I think Wharariki is probably not so well known by name because of the difficulty in pronouncing it.

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