Patons Rock Beach near Takaka. © Lazing Bee

Camping in Golden Bay: a pristine paradise of golden beaches, alpine valleys, tranquil rivers and ocean

View the map


It’s a different world, Golden Bay. On the way to pretty much nowhere in particular, and that’s how the locals like it.

There is so much to do in Golden Bay, and it’s all kinda far flung, so if you have your own transport, you’re sorted. What you spend on unleaded 91 can be saved by camping — the area is festooned with canvas sites. And the weather is totally about the most predictable in the country, so you can go to a gazillion brilliant spots and pitch a tent.

Head up Takaka Hill, look outwards to some supremely spectacular views or duck inwards to the Ngarua Caves, where you can see fossilised moa bones. How many days end with you being able to post ‘checked out some extinct creature’s bones today LOL.’ ’Xactly. If you want to go downwards, you can have a look at the 400m deep Harwood’s Hole, also on Takaka Hill — but don’t get close to the edge, seriously. It’s a long way down, and for ultra-experienced cavers only. But it’s more than worth a peek.


Really, the whole Golden Bay area is just worth drifting around — it throbs, gently, with heaps of artists and potters and lifestylers, often selling their wares.

A coloured sign at the side of the road might just be your next knitted sleepwear, Stu. There are heaps of amazing beaches, many of which have right-by-the-sand camping facilities. And there is loads of organic/gluten-free/safe-as-houses food; at multiple cafés in the little towns and around them, and at side-of-the-road stalls and stands. Fresh as can be.

Yep, it’s all here and it’s all grand. You can see why so many city dwellers visit here and then text the real estate agent back home with one word: ‘Sell’.

Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Things to do > Must-Do's

Must-Do's Hawke's Bay: art deco, wine and the largest gannet colony in the world

Traverse beautiful coastline, riverbeds, rolling pastures and native bush before taking in panoramic views and experiencing the exhilarating sight and sound of 20,000 gannets.

Find out more

Things to do > Must-Do's

Must-Do's Auckland: the show never stops

Summit the city's most iconic volcano, as well as its youngest and largest.

Find out more

Things to do > Must-Do's

Must-Do's Queenstown: New Zealand's adventure capital

Queenstown Hill, just out of town, is more than worth a peek, and you can make its peak in an hour if you get a wriggle on, and check out the series of information panels showcasing the past, present and predicted future of this stunning part of the world.

Find out more

Things to do > Must-Do's

TranzAlpine: the rail journey considered one of the best in the world

Feast on one breath-taking view after another as you travel from Christchurch to Greymouth on one of the greatest rail journeys in the world, drinking in rolling farmland, snow-capped mountains, deep gorges, serene, ice-fed rivers and lush rainforests, all from the comfort of your seat.

Where to stay in Golden Bay

Show me all Places to stay

From $52
Sunflower Motel

RIGHT ON THE BEACH! Sunflower motels are separate, self-contained motel units that sit right on the beautiful Pohara Beach in Golden Bay, a ten-min...

From $30
Collingwood Camping Ground

Collingwood Camping Ground is a small, clean friendly camp located in the heart of Collingwood and right on the Estuary and Sea front with stunni...

From $44
Pohara Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park

Welcome to Pohara Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park. As the closest Holiday Park to the pristine northern end of the Abel Tasman National Park where golden...

9 /10
From $125
Golden Bay Motel

Gary and Karen welcome you to Golden Bay Motel. Set in the township of Takaka - right in the heart of Golden Bay. Offering friendly personal servi...

Book now