New Zealand Trout Adventures

Finding Gold in Golden Bay

With summer on the way, many fishermen and women are comtemplating making the journey over the “Takaka Hill” to chase Kingfish around the flats West of Collingwood with fly rods. Last summer saw hundreds of fishers come to Golden bay to try their luck. This summer is likely to be even busier. This is piece investigates activities that the “non fishing” partner and their children can do in the area while the fishing is going on.

Golden Bay is two hours drive from Nelson and takes a scenic route over Takaka hill. The hill will take about 30 minutes to drive over and can be testing for unconfident drivers but the views from the top are amazing. The road descends down into Golden Bay via the Takaka river valley.
The main town in the bay is Takaka and is situated at the mouth of the river. There would be around 3000 people who live in the town and is the commercial center. There are two gas stations, a supermarket and two dozen shops on the main street. Collingwood is another 25kms down the road to the West. Collingwood has a gas station, pub, general store and two cafes.

There is a huge amount of activities that can be undertaken while visiting Golden Bay.

A vast amount of walking tracks are on offer for a wide array of fitness levels. Walks such as the Te Waikoropupu track take around 5 minutes and the Walk to Wharariki beach might take 10 minutes. Te Waikoropupu walking track and springs are one of the necessary attractions you need to visit. The springs are reputed to be the clearest water in the world and if not the world the southern hemisphere at the very least.
Wharariki Beach is a stunning West coast beach that has great sand dune formations and two offshore islands one has a hole that goes right through the middle of it! This is a great place to watch the sunset into the vast Tasman sea.
Other notable walks in the region are Wainui falls, Cobb valley and if you want the multiday experience the world renowned Heaphy track has an end near Collingwood.

Golden bay is a place that has art and artists at its core. Many galleries exhibiting all forms of artwork from pottery to paintings and sculptures to jewelry are scattered everywhere throughout the bay.
Mountain biking is one of the success stories of the Bay. There are a lot of quality trails that are easily accessible. The Rameka track is very popular as is the Aorere Goldfields trails near Collingwood. In recent years the Heaphy track has had a winter season for Mountain bikers wanting to take this diverse trail and utilize the well appointed Department of Conservation huts.

Rock Climbing has a large following in the region also. The Paynes ford site next to the Takaka river bridge reserve is very popular. Geologically Golden Bay is significant and the rock found here is very condusive to a quality rock climbing experience. Gear for hire is also available at Hang Dog camp ground next door.
Collingwood even has Tame Longfin eels that can be fed for a gold coin donation.

Anatoki Salmon is fantastic entertainment. Here you can try your luck to catch a Salmon for your dinner. Set in idyllic surrounds, the fishing pond is a great place to take the kids or to impress your partner with your hunting and gathering skills! Visit for more information.

Farewell Spit Eco tours run a daily bus tour out onto the unique Farewell Spit. This 25km long spit of sand is an interesting environment that is home to a massive amount of seashore birds from wading birds like Oystercatchers and Godwits to large ocean going birds like the beautiful dive bombing Gannets. To make a booking visit

To get a birds eye view of the bay take a flight with Mit. Based at Takaka airport, Mit and his comfortable plane will take you up and show you around the bay. See Farewell spit, Able Tasman, the magnificent Whanganui Inlet and beyond.

So you could always take a chartered fishing trip with Wildcat Charters in Pohara. Take it easy and enjoy a day on the water and bring home your own dinner. Trips can be day trips but can also be an overnight ordeal targeting quality fish offshore as well. Wildcat also have accommodation in the form of Motels. Get in contact and see what they can do for you.

Sea kayak around Able Tasman with Golden Bay Kayaks. Imagine cruising silently past the local seal population and watching them in their own watery environment. The coastline is amazing in this part of Golden Bay and is well worth seeing from water level.

For the horse riding enthusiast Hack’ n Stay is the place to visit. They have trail rides though the bush or take a run down the golden sands of the beach. You can swim in the rivers or the sea with your horse! Short, Day and Multi days rides are all available. Visit

For other activities that are not covered here are information about what’s going on in Golden Bay visit

So there you have it, Golden Bay a has a little something for everyone. There is plenty more to discover that could not possibly be covered in just one article.
So when the fisherman in the family says they would like to head to Golden Bay to chase Kingfish on saltwater fly…. Book that trip!!!

Anton Donaldson
NZ Trout Adventures