Camping in Golden Bay. © Derek Morrison

Camping in Golden Bay: a pristine paradise


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 Tākaka Hill, look outwards to some supremely spectacular views or duck inwards to the Ngārua 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 Tākaka 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.

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.

Finding hidden gems in Golden Bay. This place truely blew my mind .. so stoked that there are still spots like this in NZ that really feel untouched. Thanks to @JetstarNZ for helping me explore such incredible parts of the country #jetstarnz #sp 🌊 Huge thanks to @shauna.hp for showing us this place and @barekiwi for helping me with the click 🌴 #ig_newzealand #newzealandvacations #newzealandguide #kiwi_photos #southislandnz #global_hotshotz #majestic_earth #splendid_earth #wildernessculture #earthfocus #fantastic_earth #earthpix #welivetoexplore #outdoortones #theglobewanderer #australiagram_neighbours #eclectic_shotz #mountaingirls #adventureculture #awesomeglobe #tourtheplanet #nakedplanet #earthporn #way2ill #earthofficial #discoverearth #lifeofadventure

A post shared by Rach Stewart | New Zealand (@rachstewartnz) on Feb 4, 2017 at 10:25pm PST

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’.

Explore more...

More stories like this

Find out more

Get outdoors

Golden Bay: sun, sand, and secession

At first sight of Golden Bay from Tākaka Hill, you get the feeling this is definitely a settlement that could live happily apart – one of the last, loveliest places on Earth. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Get outdoors

Camping country

In a country where we all live so close to nature, it’s little wonder we harbour a national passion for getting back to it. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Get outdoors

Loved by the locals: Golden Bay

A boutique movie theatre, iconic cafés unique geology and some of New Zealand's best beaches – discover a local's top picks for things to see and do in Nelson's Golden Bay. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Get outdoors

Awaroa Beach: the beach we all own

You may well not be aware of it, but we all own this beach. Well, kinda. Read the story . . .