Takaka to Abel Tasman National Park
Golden sandy beaches follow the road beneath rugged limestone cliffs towards the stunning abel Tasman National Park.
is the centre of this district, with cafés, bars and a shop for supplies. Swimming here is wonderful for children because the water is very shallow and warm. The beach is a favourite for long walks in the late afternoon.
Abel Tasman National Park
is renowned for its golden beaches, sculpted granite cliffs and steep forested hills. There are tracks to suit all levels of fitness.
Visitors can start their tramp in Wainui Bay or take a 30-minute drive from Wainui Bay to get to Totaranui campground, or to Awaroa provided they cross the river at low tide.
The Clifton Cemetery and Reseve
was the first European cemetery in Golden Bay. It is at the end of the Pohara cycle/walkway.
The Takaka Golf Club
in Clifton is a nine-hole links course adjacent to Pohara beach (visitors welcome). www.takakagolfclub.co.nz
The Grove Scenic Reserve
in Clifton is a 10-minute walking track which winds through the narrow canyons in the limestone ending up at a dramatic
lookout. Picnic spot available.
has a safe golden sandy beach and shady picnic spots.
has deeper water for waterskiing. The boat ramp is suitable for use at mid to high tides. Tata Islands, with their steep limestone cliffs, archways and seabird colony, are popular destinations for kayakers.
is a great beach for collecting mussels, exploring the rock formations and shady picnic spots. A favourite walk is at low tide to Taupo Point. Wainui is the western starting point of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.
is a beautiful 40-minute bush walk with a swing bridge. The track follows the river and you enter some real New Zealand bush.
“We’ve been coming here every summer for years, generation after generation.”
Getting to Pohara
Leave Takaka via Motupipi Street (when approaching Takaka turn right just after the i-SITE) or Meihana Street (drive through Takaka township and turn right at the high school). It will be a 10-minute drive to Pohara.
An off-road cycle/walkway runs from Pohara Hall along the beachfront, behind the golf course, arriving at the Clifton Reserve.
• Tarakohe Harbour has an all-tide boat ramp, floating pontoon, marina, boat storage and boat wash-down facility.
• Tata Beach has a boat ramp and water-skiing lane.
• Fishing off the rocks at Tarakohe is popular and sometimes the penguins will join you.
Greenshell mussel farms can be seen at wainui Bay and off-shore at Pakawau. This is a growing industry in Golden Bay.
Established in 1986, Onetahua Marae in Pohara is used by the whole community for tangi, hui and wananga (educational base). It is the home marae for three local iwi: Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama, and Te Atiawa, but it operates as a multicultural marae with the wider involvement of the whole community. The protocol (kawa) there is Taranaki. “Onetahua” is the Maori name for Farewell Spit and translated means “heaped up sand”.
Pohara is one of the main holiday centres of the Bay, with a beach that must rank among New Zealand’s safest. It is also a popular centre for windsurfing and kayaking. Hire equipment is available for those who forgot their own. Every standard of accommodation is available (book early!) from a large camping ground right on the beach to motels, cottages and B&Bs. For the sports enthusiast the golf club, tennis courts and bowling club are all located Pohara Beach. Dances and other entertainment are held at the Pohara Hall throughout the festive season and each year Pohara Beach Holiday Park organises the Tinbum Triathalon which is enjoyed by an increasing number of local and visiting athletes.
Enjoy the scenic drive along the coastline from Pohara to Ligar Bay and beyond. The beach-side road crawls beneath rugged limestone cliffs covered in part with remnants of original native forest. See the summer flowering rata trees but please, once you have passed the appropriately named cafe, watch out for penguins crossing the road. You could see them anywhere for the next few kilometres.
Turn left at the crossroads in Clifton and a couple of minutes’ drive brings you to the Clifton Cemetery and Reserve. Set in peaceful, picturesque surroundings with a backdrop of saltmarsh and estuary shallows, this area was the first European cemetery in Golden Bay, burials being recorded as far back as 1856. European settlement and development of the Bay have taken many twists and turns in the century-and-a-half since then.
Adjacent to the cemetery is the popular golf course (visitors welcome), whose sweeping fairways and landscape of maturing trees and immaculate greens are only a short putt’s distance from one of our most well-known beach resorts, Pohara. Turning right at the crossroads in Clifton will bring you to The Grove Scenic Reserve, but do take time to check out the narrow side roads around here. There are arts and crafts, fruits, vegies and salami to be tasted, all amongst some interesting scenery.
This rock-walled harbour was built by the Golden Bay Cement Company for shipping bulk cement made out of limestone from the adjoining quarry. Whilst the quarry and works have closed, the wharf and harbour are still used for barging dolomite that is quarried elsewhere in Golden Bay. The fishing and scalloping fleet unloads and anchors here, and there is a sizeable marina for commercial and pleasure boats.
The Pohara Beach Boating Club has its clubhouse on the harbour edge and nearby is an all-tide boat ramp for public use (launching fee in the honesty box please). A floating pontoon provides easy embarkation, even for the less agile. There is also a boat wash-down facility nearby.
In 2009 50 nesting boxes were installed at Tarakohe Harbour to provide “affordable housing” for penguins. They were dug into the newly created breakwater to discourage the penguins from crossing the road in search of nest sites, and to provide a safe place for them to live.
Boat services from Tarakohe serve points on the Abel Tasman Coast Track, a convenient way to start or finish your walk.
The Golden Bay Cement Works at Tarakohe was a part of Golden Bay’s history from 1908 – 1988, employing a large proportion of the community and was one of the main industries of Golden Bay’s economy.
Ligar Bay, Tata Beach and Wainui Bay
The first corner after the Abel Tasman Memorial reveals the golden sandy beach and curving shoreline of Ligar Bay, now a mix of old baches and newer holiday homes.
The road then hugs a small sheltered estuary where a few keen boaties can usually be seen working on their craft. A couple of left turns off the main road then brings you into Tata Beach which must be one of the fastest developing settlements in Golden Bay, a lifestyle choice for many permanent residents and lots of rentable holiday homes and B&Bs.
These two favourite swimming beaches, Ligar Bay (safer for the family) and Tata for the more serious swimmers who prefer deeper water, are often thought to have put the ‘golden’ in the name of Golden Bay. A lovely thought, but of course it actually comes from the early gold mining activities.
Highlights of staying overnight at Tata Beach are the beautiful views looking out over the Tata Islands. These islands, with their steep limestone cliffs, archway and seabird colony are a popular venue for kayakers.
Wainui beach is a great beach for swimming or exploring the rock formations. Wainui Bay is best known for its beautiful bush walk to the Wainui Falls. Adjacent to the Abel Tasman National Park, Wainui is the starting point of the Abel Tasman Walk.