Golden Bay, New Zealand
Relax and enjoy the tranquillity
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. Unless you’re a migrating whale, you don’t go past Golden Bay on your way to anywhere. Golden Bay is New Zealand’s most diverse and appealing holiday destination. Imagine a region with endless variety, where golden beaches, alpine valleys and tranquil fishing rivers share a close proximity with the sea. Breathtaking scenery, arts and crafts, sporting activities.
The Bay’s wonderful outdoor environment attracts regular summer holiday makers year after year, but an increasing number of discerning visitors are discovering that the area can be enjoyed all year round. Mild spring and autumn weather, and even the clear, crisp winter days are ideal to experience the many short bush and beach walks in relative solitude.
You will find the start to this 30 minute walk a short distance from our homestead (out the door, turn left and over the cattle grate). The track cuts across farmland for a few minutes before entering the forest and climbing slightly. Soon the river is below you, and then you enter some real New Zealand jungle, with nikau palms, strangling rata trees and riots of ferns. A spidery but sturdy footbridge carries you across the Wainui River, which is choked here by enormous blocks of granite. After a few more minutes walk the falls can be heard, then, curtained in spray, they pop into sight with satisfying suddenness. After heavy rain, the falls are an incredible display of noise and power, but at any time of the year a trip up this pleasant little valley is well worthwhile.
Abel Tasman National Park
New Zealand’s smallest, sunniest, warmest National Park. The park features gently curved beaches of golden sand, separated one from another by rocky granite headlands. Native bush grows down almost to high tide mark. Birds such as shags, gannets, terns and blue penguins may be seen on coastal waters, while the large, open estuaries attract oystercatchers, stilts and herons. Much of the Park is covered in beech forest but on more fertile sites the jungle-like rain forest is found, with its vines, perching plants and tree ferns. Tracks start at Wainui Bay. You can also take a 30-minute drive from Wainui Bay to get to Totaranui campground, or to Awaroa by crossing the river at low tide. You can spend a few days exploring the Park and coastline from Totaranui or you can continue on around the world famous coastal track.