Golden Bay, NZ, with kids

Sunset at Abel Tasman National Park

Sunset at Abel Tasman National Park. It was just stunning… Don’t you just love sunsets?

Our first stop in the South Island of NZ was Pohara, in Golden Bay. We spent 10 days there between May and June 2016.

It was winter and it was lovely. I can only imagine how stunning it must be during summer…



Driving from Picton to Pohara

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, because we took the ferry from Wellington to Picton (4 hours of a nightmare) and then drove to Pohara… If we were to do it again, we’d stay for a day or 2 in Picton before heading to Pohara so I could enjoy the views.

At Labyrinth Rocks Park!

At Labyrinth Rocks Park! Check out Angelo’s photobomb!

Golden Bay Accommodation for families

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.

They’re close to each other, but there’s still privacy.

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.

So, this is one great Golden Bay accommodation in Pohara.

To find accommodation for your family in Pohara, click here!

Things to do in Golden Bay, New Zealand, with kids

  • 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 lovely time. We found many starfishes, Australian Gannets, and crabs. Really cool.
Perfect beach!

Perfect beach! This is on the top of our list for the first New Zealand summer we can ever get!

  • Pohara Beach – It’s a blue penguin zone. We didn’t see any but people in the other chalets saw them. To be really honest, when we were walking there, we saw people pointing and all, but we couldn’t see anything at all. Very sad.
  • 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 sunsets. Must be perfect for families to swim and enjoy a day at the beach or even to give kids time to learn to swim!
  • 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 – it’s a very narrow and scary road.
  • Abel Tasman Memorial – it’s a super short walk from the car park that ends up on an amazing elevated spot. It’s a great place to watch the sunset and enjoy the views of the stunning Golden Bay from above.
The water of Pupu Springs....

The water of Pupu Springs… It’s very, very sad that we can’t go in that water, but it’s understandable, isn’t it? They want to keep it as clear and clean as it is!


  • 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. Good thing it was winter – easier.
  • 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 lots 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. Next time, hopefully, we’ll manage to fit a few of those hikes on our Golden Bay itinerary!
Rock tunnel in Pohara

Rock tunnel in Pohara, and the whole area is filled with incredible stuff like this one!

To finish it…

This is all we saw of Golden Bay. There was just so much more to be seen, too bad our health didn’t help. Let’s just hope for a better second time!

  • City / Country
  • Minimun Stay
  • $ ~ $$$
  • Child-friendlyness
  • Best local transport option
  • Safety
  • Do we recommend it?
  • Golden Bay / NZ
  • 3 days, but a week is better!
  • $$$
  • Super family friendly, though we didn’t do the hikes to know about them!
  • Car
  • Super safe
  • Yes!

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2 kids going toward the water at Totaranui Beach, in Golden Bay, NZ. Golden Bay is on the North of the South Island of NZ and it's stunning! Click for more!

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] we had a long stay in Pohara, Golden Bay. Such a beautiful place! Totaranui beach was our favorite place in the area and we’re planning a […]

  2. […] We took 4 hours (246 km) from the ferry to Pohara, where we spent 12 days. It’s a small town in Golden Bay, just by the Abel Tasman forest. We weren’t in our best shapes: I was sick for the first 3 days […]

  3. […] the pups) run to the middle of the road. We saw many car-hit fur seals while driving from Golden Bay to Kaikoura. Too […]

  4. […] were driving from Golden Bay and around 20 km before we entered the city, we saw the first fur seal. One grown one at the rocks […]

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