Golden bay is an incredible place filled with tons of fun actives. There are many gorgeous hikes, beaches, views, cafes and plenty more. It is well known for it’s superb outdoors. Since I love the outdoors so much, this post is dedicated to 3 places you MUST visit while travelling through the amazing and unique Golden Bay area.
1. Labyrinth Rocks
This is possibly one of the weirdest places I’ve been. It was nothing at all like I had expected. By the name I thought the rocks would be situated in isolation at the bottom of a hill or in the middle of a paddock, easy to see. But nope, I was wrong! The rocks take up a lot of space filled with long stretching passage ways that transform into a wonderful maze, featuring mossy trees and freaky little toys.
The rocks are located about 5 minutes out of Takaka on the way to Pohara Beach (a popular destination in Golden Bay), down Abel Tasman Drive – make sure your eyes are peeled for the sign as it isn’t very well advertised. Once you have found the turn off on Scott Road travel about 30 seconds and you have arrived. There is a small car park slightly past the entrance.
Make your way to the entrance of the walk and definitely take a map because there is a high chance you will get confused or maybe even lost! Throughout the walk there are creepy little toys situated in random spots. I was quite surprised with the effort someone had made…
The toys make the walk feel kind of airy and strange but add a little excitement. You will find you are immersed in a really cool part of nature between magnificent limestone rocks and canyons.
Take your time and enjoy!
Make sure you venture down to the end of the walk as there are fun cave/tunnels that take you to a far away land (If you have kids I definitely recommend taking them here!).
Every corner is a surprise and I never knew what to expect! Although I was intrigued and had a good time there was a down side…
The Down Side…
The down side I experienced while at the rocks were a few disappointing endings. Lots of the passages were closed off. I think they need to spend a few more dollars on the upkeep and then it may attract a few more souls. I guess it was winter and far from peak season in Golden Bay.
Nonetheless, it was a really great experience and I definitely recommend it!
2. Tata beach
This beach is absolutely gorgeous and booming in summer. The golden sand definitely gives Golden Bay its name.
The attractions around the area are great (Including the Abel Tasman National Park). Grab a kayak and go out to Ngawhiti and Motu islands you see in the above photo. If you are that way inclined, even go for a fish. There is a kayak stand towards the far right side of the beach (heading away from the way you came). The water is usually very still and dream like which makes for an easy ride. If you don’t feel like getting in the water then no worries, the sand is soft and a great place to take an afternoon nap in the sun.
Also, there is a walk up to a wee lookout on the hill to the right of the beach. Just follow your nose to the bottom of the hill that connects to the beach and you will find it. It’s located just up a path heading off the car park with the kayak stand. The walk gives you great views over the bay and the surrounding mountains.
The beautiful beach is located about 15-20 minutes from Takaka, down the scenic Abel Tasman Drive.
3. Rawhiti caves
These caves are incredible. They are situated up a secluded mountain. Such a great place to go and experience the wonders of nature (Golden Bay has a lot of them!). The caves have those long drippy things that always amaze me (Stalactite). There is also a pretty spectacular viewing platform that stretches out and over the cave, where you can get dripped on by the stalactite. You get to be right underneath the beautiful formations and feel as though you really are in the cave.
There is a sign on the viewing platform so you can gain some knowledge while you are there. Who doesn’t love a bit of education! (Even though I forgot the name of those long drippy things).
I still cant believe how amazing nature is and the unreal places you can see. These caves definitely reinforce my amazement.
The caves are roughly 10-15 minutes south east of Takaka. From Abel Tasman Drive head to Motupipi. Turn left onto Packard Road and follow it for a few corners until you see the sign for the caves. Follow the road all the way up past the farmers gate (someone will have to get out and open it), over the annoying pot holes and continue through to the car park. If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the big, ginger and fluffy cow just up the hill. Head on straight to the sign that marks your entrance to the cave walk.
To get to the caves you have to take a 45 minute walk up the tough hill… The walk starts rather cruisy next to a dried up river bed but soon gets steep and muddy. (It will be better in summer). You are welcomed by lovely green bush and views of the gigantic hill. The hill was kind of daunting and made me feel like an ant. I also felt as though I was far away from civilisation… which was rather nice.
Tip- Make sure you have good hiking boots, especially in winter as it was really slippery and muddy! (If you’re doing anything in Golden Bay then hiking boots are a key staple). They are particularly needed on the way down from these caves. However, I did see a few brave souls in sneakers, so don’t be too worried.
The walk takes about 45 minutes up to the cave, which you kind of just stumble upon. Just when you think you can’t take any more of the steep hill, BOOM there’s the caves.
Enjoy a well earned break!
Take a few minutes to go down to the platform and breathe in the beauty around you. When you’re done turn back around and start the 30 minute journey back to the car park.
The only down side we experienced about the caves was the fact there was a dead goat that had fallen down off the cliff face. So sad! But other than that the caves and the walk was a really awesome experience and I highly recommend it!
I hope all of you get the chance to go to these amazing places in the Golden Bay area. You honestly won’t regret a minute of it!
Want to see more? Check out 2 more amazing attractions in Golden Bay by clicking here.