Our first stop in the South Island of NZ was Pohara, in Golden Bay. We spent 10 days there between May and June 2016.
The drive from Picton – where the ferry from the North Island stops – to Pohara, where we stayed, was long (around 4 hours) but it is a beautiful drive. It was super tiring, though. If we were to do it again, we’d stay for a day or 2 in Picton before heading to Pohara.
We spent the 10 days at the Sandcastle. It consists of 6 chalets and the owner’s house, with sea views and with native bush around.
We found it quite complete. We had a bit of trouble with the panel heaters, but Steve, the owner, quickly fixed it for us. Then we had problems with the internet and Angelo spent a day with Steve trying to make things work – and it did.
We found it far from Nelson, but so close to many amazing spots that the drive was worth it!
We got there and I had 2 sick days in bed. Then we had a nice week, and by the end of our stay, the rest of the family got sick. We still had a week full of walks at the beach, drives around the Abel Tasman National Park, little walks and loads of rest time, because everyone needed it.
Here’s a list of the things we enjoyed most, all of them were free:
– Totaranui Campground and Beach – amazing orange colored sand, contrasting with a super green and blue sea, amazing mountains and rocks. It was super cold, but we had a super nice time. We found many starfishes, Australian Gannets, and crabs. Really cool.
– Pohara Beach – It’s a blue penguin zone. We didn’t see any but people in the other chalets saw them.
– Tata Beach – we were planning on kayaking, but never got to it. Such a shame. It’s a beautiful beach, with calm waters and amazing sunset.
– Awaroa Beach – in full tide it must be amazing. We only caught it with a super low tide and we couldn’t even see the water. Check the tide before going. The drive to the beach isn’t recommended for caravans and buses.
– Abel Tasman Memorial – it’s a super short walk, that ends up on an amazing elevated spot. It’s a great place to watch the sunset.
– Pupu Springs (Te Waikoropupu Springs) – Oh my! It’s a spring (obviously) and a short walk around it. The water is unbelievably clear. It’s said to have a visibility of 63 meters. We were amazed. We spent a lot of time just trying to control ourselves and not jump in it because you’re not supposed to touch the water.
– Labyrinth Rocks – as the name says, it’s a labyrinth in the rocks. You don’t get lost, they provide a map at the entrance. Amazing rock formations all over, with caves and water slides. It gets a bit muddy and slippery at times. There were a lot of toys hidden in places, and they were kind of creepy. It’s fun, but not for everyone.
– Abel Tasman National Park – it’s a forest, with many walks and hikes. We didn’t do any of them because we weren’t in our best health at the time, but we drove through the forest and, at sunset, it’s a piece of art.
This is all we saw of Golden Bay. Hope you enjoyed it!
If you did, just leave us a comment!