Swimming & Snorkelling
Snorkelling gear is free to use at Shambhala. A beautiful reef is located directly off shore and is wonderful to explore in calm weather conditions.
There are good long beach walks in both directions starting from Shambhala. Walking 5 kilometres towards the right takes you down to the coastal settlesment of Paton Rock. During low tide, you can walk left all the way down to Collingwood.
Bus: There is a daily summer bus between Takaka and Heaphy Track. Golden Bay Coachlines leaves Takaka 9.15am daily and returns through Collingwood at about 11.10am. Hitch hiking is a common practice in the Bay.
Car hire and mountain bikes are also available.
If you have time to visit one place in Golden Bay, let it be Wharariki Beach. It is a beautiful beach, wild at times with huge sand dunes, magical landscape, wind-blown trees, and caved down at the south end of the beach. It is only a 15-minute walk from the car par across a sheep farm.
To go out onto the spit, you need to take a 4WD tour based from Collingwood.
It’s a 30-minute drive by car to Farewell Spit and Wharariki Beach. Hitching a ride out is possible, but if there is a few people get together and hire a car.
Farewell Spit lighthouse can be seen at night in the centre of the bay.
Farewell Spit and Wharariki walks
Wharariki: Direct track 10-15 mins. Loop track 1 hour (low-mid tide)
Wharariki visitor centre: 3-4 hours
Farewell Spit loop track: 1-2 hours
Pillar Point Lighthouse: Walking from road 20 minutes. It is sometimes possible to drive up to 5 minutes walking distance from the lighthouse.
Abel Tasman National Park
The north end of the Abel Tasman National Park is the most beautiful and uncrowded part of the park. The walk from Totaranui to Separation Point is a 2-hour (one way) walk along golden beaches and through bush. It’s a beautiful walk and separation point is rugged rock outcrop housing a seal colony and sometimes small blue penguins.
Another walk is down to the Awaroa Bay, but has a tidal estuary to cross. There is a nice place to stay and eat called “Awaroa Lodge & Cafe”.
To drive to Totaranui takes about 1 hour. There are buses from Takaka with connecting mail bus from Collingwood.
Another walk is from the car park in Wainui Bay along the coast (off the main track). These beaches are still in Golden Bay itself.
Parapara Peak Track
It’s a 5-hour walk up and 4 hour walk down. If you just want to do the first hour of the walk, it goes along a river and then up a gorge thorugh native bush. It’s down the higway 4-5 kilometres to Takaka. Look for sign on mountain side of the road.
Te Waikoropupu (Pupu) Springs
This is a fresh water spring, reportedly the biggest in the southern hemisphere. It’s main feature being the clarity of the water. The flow varies from 7-21 cubic metres per second. It’s a few kilometres before Takaka and a few minutes drive from the highway to a 5-minute walk to the springs.
Westhaven & Beyond
There’s a magnificent drive through Westhaven and down the coast to Anatori River along a bendy gravel road.
The first hour is an interesting walk along a river, old gold workings can be seen. At the river forks the track goes straight uphill for a 3-hour climb to the top.
The Grove Scenic Reserve
Situated up Rockland’s Road, sign posted limestone outcrops amongst nikau palms.