Motueka-Golden Bay

SH 61, 57 km, 1 hour

Written by      

Craig Potton

After Motueka, state highway 60 leads toward Abel Tas­man national park and Takaka Hill. Real fruit ice-cream and organic fruit can be bought from roadside stalls. shortly after Riwaka roads lead from SH 60 around the coast to kaiteriteri Beach and marahau. marahau is at the southern entrance to Abel tasman national park and is the base for sea kayaking, launch tours and day walks. With a beautiful beach, kaiteri­teri is very busy in summer and there are several cafés, a store and a campground.

Takaka Hill: The summit of takaka Hill is a fascinating land­scape of marble outcrops, sinkholes and caves. Though it is a slow grind to the top there are rewarding viewpoints. Before SH 60 descends to the takaka Valley is the new takaka Hill Walkway (2–3 hours) and harwood Lookout, with outstand­ing views of Kahurangi National Park. A left turn at Upper takaka leads to the Cobb Power Station, and then up a steep unsealed road (not recommended for campervans) to the Cobb Reservoir where there are several interesting day walk possibilities. Allow one hour to the reservoir.

Takaka: Takaka in high summer is the vibrant centre of golden Bay, with its weekend market and eateries including the wholemeal café, the Dangerous Kitchen and Brigands. Inland from takaka is the Anatoki Salmon Farm where you can have some fun catching your own salmon. From takaka, the road passes pohara beach (campground, beach) and from Wainui Bay is unsealed (suitable for campervans) as it climbs over a forested range to Totaranui.

Te Waikoropupu Springs/Pupu Walkway: Back on SH 60, 4 km west of Takaka is the turnoff to these renowned springs the clearest fresh water in the Southern hemisphere. The Pupu Walkway (2 hours) is reached via a gravelled road.

Collingwood: Between takaka and collingwood (27 km) SH 60 stays inland until parapara Inlet. Expect good hos­pitality and food at the Mussel Inn country café and brew­ery at onekaka. At collingwood you can organise tours to the farewell spit bird sanctuary and enjoy good food at the courthouse café. From collingwood SH 60 skirts Ruatani­wha Inlet and returns to the coast at Totara. The road follows a long sweep of beach to Pakawau where there is a popular campground. Just past Pakawau a road leads to Whanganui Inlet and Paturau River mouth on the west coast (32 km)—a five-star scenic drive, unsealed.

Puponga/Farewell Spit/Wharariki Beach: Farewell Spit Visitor Centre and the Paddlecrab Café are located a short distance from Puponga on a rise overlooking the spit’s high wind-whipped dunelands. The clifftop walk toward Whara­riki Beach is one of the best in Golden Bay.

A 10-minute drive north of Puponga leads to a 20-minute walk across grassy dunes to the beau­tiful Wharariki Beach—for many the highlight of a visit to Golden Bay. The track towards Farewell Spit climbs high onto cliffs and within view of seal haul out zones and nursery areas.

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