Cycling & Hiking in Golden Bay

Whether you prefer to hike or cycle in scenic Golden Bay the options and chocies of track are boundless!

Throughout the beautiful Golden bay there are trails that lead through scenic forest parks like the Milnthorpe Park reforestation project Scenic reserve to the surreal sometimes windy and wild beauty of Wharariki Beach. From breathtaking waterfalls to feats of Engineering marvel. There are such an array of adventure and fitness most stay several days to try and do or see as much as they can.

Some of these are strictly walking or tramping trails while others lend towards the hardier mountain-bikers and can provide a challenging ride for even the more experienced riders. A symbol for cyclists is shown where mountain biking is allowed  and this must be strictly enforced as it is not always possible to mix walkers or hikers and mountain-bikes on the same trails in a safe manner.

Fortunately the Heaphy track enables the mix of the two, however not at the same time, during the summer or peak season when it is strictly only for those on foot. During the colder wetter months is open for those mountain bike enthusiasts who don't mind a cooler climate while sweating over the rougher parts of the track.


Tracks are developed to different standards to cater for a variety of experience. Chose the type of track that matches your level of experience eg your fitness level, your skill level and your experience level, be realistic, safety is your responsibility.


Walking Track


  • Easy to moderate walking from a few minutes to a day.
  • Track is mostly well formed, some sections may be steep, rough or muddy.
  • Suitable with people with low to moderate fitness and abilities.
  • Clearly signposted, stream and river crossings are bridged.
  • Walking shoes or light Tramping/Hiking boots required.


Tramping Track


  • Challenging Day or Multi-Day tramping or hiking
  • Track has large sections that may be muddy or steep and not marked or formed.
  • Suitable for experienced trampers who are skilled in high country survival and are fairly fit.
  • Track has markers, poles or rock cairns and unbridged river or creek crossings.
  • Tramping or Hiking boots are required.




  • Challenging day or multi day tramping or Hiking.
  • Track unformed and natural, rough muddy or very steep.
  • Only suitable for people with a high level of fitness and ability including survival and navigational skills.
  • Complete self sufficiency required, will need to carry all supplies including tent and survival, first aid gear, sleeping bag etc.
  • Track has poles, markers or rock cairns and un-bridged creeks or rivers.
  • Sturdy Tramping or Hiking boots are required.


Paynes Ford Scenic Reserve

30 minutes walking

Just 3 km’s south of Takaka off the Main State Highway 60 Paynes Ford was named due to the original Ford that was used to cross the Takaka River, however as this river was flood-prone a bridge was soon built to make the trip into town for locals a lot easier.

Paynes Ford is one of the Best Rock Climbing area’s with its impressive Lime stone Bluffs, they emerge from a remnant patch of forest and have set the scene for many challenging encounters for the more experienced climbers, However, they are definitely not a setting for beginners!. Non-Climbers can enjoy a visit as they area invites Picnickers, and swimmers alike to enjoy the crystal clear swimming hole and large area beside the highway bridge or further up the Takaka River, there is a toilet located at the Southern end near where the Historic Paynes Ford Tram line begins. This old Railway line operated between the early 1880’s and 1905 and was mainly used for carting the boundless supply of native timber that was being removed to make room for farming and was used for earlier home building, the timber was carted down to the Waitapu Wharf.

Strictly no Fires or Camping allowed in this Reserve!

Rawhiti Cave Route

1 hour walking

A 15 Minute drive in total, you Leave Takaka and drive east on the Main Road towards Pohara Beach, at Motupipi Turn right onto Glenview Road and then Left onto Packard Road. You will see the signpost for Rawhiti Cave near the end of Packard Road, the track into the informal car park follows the Main road over private farmland, please be sure to leave all gates as you find them so stock dont get out onto the road. On leaving the car park you immediately cross what it called Dry River, this is not always the case, during rain it often floods and can be very dangerous to cross, do NOT attempt to do so when it is raining. The marked Route continues up the valley for 30 minutes, a sharp right continues the track up a steep climb for the next 30 or so minutes zig zagging up to the Cave entrance, you need to be reasonably fit and have some tramping experience for this track and good footwear is recommended.

Rawhiti Cave has possibly the most diverse and extensive entrance and twilight Zone Flora of any cave in New Zealand. This Flora infuences the growth of Calcium-based features in the cave, hense the Stalactites on the cave ceiling grow outwards towards the sunlight. Some of the most significant features produced this way occur on the entrance slopes and cave floor where they are usually overlooked and trampled on by visitors! Ensure you stay on the beaten track and viewing structure to protect these significant bickarst features. (Exert from DOC website “Walks in Golden Bay”)

The Grove Scenic Reserve

20 minutes walking

Drive North East from Takaka towards Pohara Beach. At Clifton turn right and follow the signs for about 1 km to a small carpark and picnic area, the track starts here and takes about 20 minutes, shaped by the water and the tentacle like roots of the Northern Rata tree’s and Nikau Palms are a feature of this reserve. Oddly Rata would usually begin its life in accumulated forest debris high on the branches of a tree, however at the Grove there is sufficient plant material available on the limestone blocks that enabled the Rata trees to take a hold, as they get bigger their root span envelopes their rocky hosts like giant hands.

Strictly no Fires or Camping allowed in this Reserve!

Abel Tasman Memorial

5 minutes walking

About 12 Km’s North East of Takaka on the road to Totoranui, the Abel Tasman Memorial is located beside the main road in an outlying section of Abel Tasman National Park just beyond Port Tarakohe

A easy 5 minute walking track leads to the memorial and viewing platform which stands on a limestone outcrop above the sea.

Abel Tasman was a dutch navigator whose expedition made the first European sighting of New Zealand in 1642. The memorial was built in 1942 to commemorate the centenary of Tasman s visit and was reopened by the Queen in 1992 by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands when panels interpreting the story of Tasman s travels from the Dutch East Indies – Indonesia to Golden Bay and of the Maori meeting the strangers that arrived off the two large ships. On returning to the car park you can walk on along the narrow concrete pathway for a view of Port Tarakohe.

No DOGS allowed on this walkway!

Wainui Falls

30 minutes walking

The Accessibility of Waterfalls is not common in Golden bay so this track is very popular, the track starts from the Car-park in Wainui Bay 20 Km”s North east from Takaka. You follow the route to Pohara beach and continue on around past Port Tarakohe and on past Ligar bay and Tata beach.

Approx 300 metres after crossing the Wainui River Bridge you will see the sign directing you to Wainui Falls car park, from here you cross farmland before entering Forest and the rapid climb see’s you viewing the river below from quite a height.The forest walk is full of Nikau palms, Rata Tree’s and ferns and is home to the giant Snail (Powelliphanta) “Look but dont touch”, just after crossing the swingbridge you will hear the falls which seem to appear magically enshrouded in a spray of water, keep your eye on little ones as the track has some dangerously steep drops of some parts.

No DOGS or Fires permitted in this area.

Pupu Hydro Walkway

1 hour 50 minutes walking (loop)

The Walkway begins 9 kns from Takaka at the end of the Pupu Valley Road, follow the road to Waikoropupu Springs, turn off to the right just before the bridge crossing the Waikoropupu river.

The Pupu Hydro Walkway retraces the old Gold-mining water race which was reused for power generation. Botanically the walkways vegetation varies from mixed young Beech and Rimu forest to Mature Beech-Podocarp Forest. There are also a ixtrue of cold climate plantings including Silver Pine, Mountain cedar and Mountain Toatoa and a very rich fern compnant, one fern Blechmum Fraseri looks like a miniature tree fern, while one of the mosses, Dawsonia Superba is the tallest Moss in the world!.

The Birdlife is also fantastic with a mixture of Tui’s, Bellbirds, Weka and Kereru (Native Pigeon) to Robins and Fernbirds that live in the Pakihi vegetation above the track.

The Waterway stretches for more that 3 kilometers above the track and was begun in 1901 and finished in 1902 though only taking the eight men 6 months to complete, this amazing water-race was built along steep hillsides and has a drop of 123 metres to give the Gold sluices the pressure to work the river gravels of the valley floor. The manager of the Gold-Mining company was Charles Campbell after whom the creek and the race were named, the company mined until about 1910 and then abandoned the workings, in terms of dividends paid for capital invested, this claim was the richest in Golden bay.

In 1929 Golden bay Electric Power Board built a small Hydro electric power station which took water from the race. About half the length of the existing race was used and the rest was left derelict. many Golden bay residents were uncertain whether or not to take the electricity generated, the power board had to run a promotion campaign in order to convince them of the advantages of the new technology. In June a fault developed which engineers called a “Flash over”, the generating equipment was extensively damaged and the power board decided that it was too expensive to repair. At that time it was thought that Pupu Power Station was the smallest linked to the National grid. The Pupu Hydro Society restored the station and built a viewing area to allow visitors to see the station operating it began generating again in 1987.

Pupu Hydro Walkway is classified as a walking track and although the climb to the water-race is a little steep the first section, across Waikoropupu river to the power station is an easy grade and suitable for all ages. Beyond the power station there is a 30 minutes walk where the track climbs upwards crosses Campbell creek and zigzags upwards to reach the race. The track then levels out for a distance following the water race to a lookout point above the power station., It is strongly advised that any young children be carried in a backpack and others watched very carefully as as a fall into the race is potentially dangerous. The water-race which follows the steep contours of the hillside was quite an engineering masterpiece in its time is part channel and part Aqueduct. If you look carefully you will probably see the large “Koura” or freshwater crayfish.

Keep following the race for 30 minutes or so to the Weir or “water intake” this marks the end of the track and is a wonderful picnic spot. The Weir channels the creek water into the race and the large shutter varies the amount of water let into the race, the Hydro Society have a 4WD access track from the Weir which makes the Loop walk 50 minutes.

NO Dogs or Fires Permitted in this area!

(Extract from DOC website on “walks in Golden Bay” this information can be found on the DOC Website on http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/nelson-tasman/golden-bay/)

Te Waikoropupu Springs (Pupu Springs)

20 minutes walking

Follow State Highway 60 from Takaka on the road the Collingwood, turning left just beyond Takaka River (Sign posted) Follow Pupu Valley and Waikoropupu springs roads to the springs carpark just 7 km’s total from Takaka Township.

Te Waikoropupu Springs are New Zealands largest freshwater springs and the largest cold water springs in the southern hemisphere. They contain some of the clearest water ever measured and are set in a reserve that protects gold workings, re-generating forest and a fine patch of Native Bush

To Maori Te Waikoropupu Springs is Taonga or Treasure and a Wahi Tapu a place held in high culture and spiritual regards, both locally and nationally. Legends of Te Waikoropupu are told in the stories of Huriawa, its Taniwha (Guardian Spirit) in Maori tradition the Springs are Waiora, the purest form of water and provide water healing of the past.The Springs were the place of ceremonial Blessing at times of Birth or death and the leaving and returning of travelers.

The Waters of Te Waikoropupu Springs including Fish Creek and Springs river are closed to all form of contact to prevent the introduction of the invasive alga Didymo and other aquatic pests.

Contact includes: 

  • No Swimming
  • No Fishing
  • No Diving
  • No Wading
  • No Boating
  • No filling of drinking water containers or any other activity where parts of the body or any equipment touch the water

The cold swift water of the springs are very dangerous please keep small children close to you at all times.


Parpara Peak

9 km’s - 5 hours one way


The Route to Parapara Peak starts from the carpark in Ward-Holmes Road, Ward-Holmes road is just past Puramahoi travelling North Towards Collingwood.

This full day tramp is suitable for Trampers with a high level of fitness it takes 4-5 hours to reach the alpine tops of parapara peak of 1,240 metres. Carry your own drinking water. The best views of Golden Bay are from the ridge running north to the Trig station

Milnethorpe Park

Various different lengths of tracks & walking times


Just North of Parapara Inlet on Public conservation land is am interesting experiment in forest regeneration, managed by an incorporated Society under an agreement with the Department of Conservation. Here, a variety of hardy and but non-native tree’s have been planted on very poor native soils. The idea of the project is to restore the area’s natural forest cover faster than would be possible only using native species, the project began in 1974 and now much of the area is covered in tall Tree’s. The shade beneath them is helping in the growth of the native specimens planted.

Milnethorpe has a series of wonderful short tracks through this area, the longest is the walk from Collingwood up the whole beach line and into the forest, this walk takes approx 40 minutes to reach the main entry into Milnethorpe,

No Cycles, No Dogs, No Fires allowed in this area!

Aorere Gold Fields Track

3 hour Circuit Walking (also cycling/4WD)


From Collingwood follow the Aorere valley inland towards Rockville, after 7 km’s turn of the main road at Rockville where the devils Boots and the Aorere Goldfeilds are signposted. Follow the orad and rough track past Devils Boots for another 2 km’s until you reach the gold feild carpark.

The track is a 3 hour Loop which gives access to explore some of the more accessible gold mining remnants including the Slate River Sluicing Company Dam (Druggans Dam)and the Aorere boots and a degree of fitness is advised. There is very little shade along the route so a sun hat and sun cream will be also be advisable.

From the car park and old 4WD track passes an old ground sluicing claim worked in the1880’s and continues into the large open area partly covered by vegetation which is known as Druggans Flat, following this track you will pass by the old track to Stantons creek and part of the old benched miners track. You go straight through the first junction past the end of the water race and the old tunnel until you come across the short side track to Staffords cave. Staffords cave and the Ballroom cave can be accessed here and further on by short side tracks and can be explored if you have the appropriate clothing a torch and some care, early miners recorded their names on some of the formations within the caves it is asked that no-one disturb these please. The ballroom cave was evidently used for dances once upon a time hence the name ballroom cave.

It is another 20-30 minutes on to the dam on a great day the views from the track of the Wakamarama and Burnett ranges Ruataniwha Inlet and North to Farewell spit are quite stunning. Immediately prior to the Dam there is the dam outlet, a tunnel cut into the rock terminating in an iron gate, Please do not enter this tunnel it is extremely dangerous to do so!!

The reservoir is a great place to stop and picnic follow the track to the left around the waters edge past the race intake control on top of the top of Druggans Dam. You can follow the track around the waters edge it is steep in some parts and after 20 minutes you will find yourself at a junction in the track, 4wd or mountain bikes can continue from here or you can take the shirt cut witch links back to the first junction so you are on the original track from here on.

The original 4wd track makes it excellent for mountain bikes and about a 4 hour round the loop ride, you need to be fairly fit and have technical ability this track is not for the faint hearted!


Respect Others


  • Stay in Control
  • Give way to walkers
  • Signal your approach and pass with care
  • Ride shared use tracks in small groups


Respect the Rules


  • Always be prepared for anything, ensure you have plenty of food, warm clothes and a good first aid kit.
  • Leave gates as you find them
  • Obtain permission from land owners
  • Ride only where permitted


Respect the Track


  • Don't skid, cut corners or cut new lines
  • Avoid riding in the wind and rain
  • Take rubbish home
  • Clean your bike to stop the spread of Dydimo or other weeds


Rameka Track

The Rameka Track is a classic Nelson single track trail that combines some spectacular terrain with stunning views of the Abel Tasman National Park.

more info ...

Rameka Project Great Expectations

This great addition to the Rameka Experience has been built by the volunteers and helpers of the Rameka Project in conjunction with the Golden Bay MTB Club.

more info ...

Gibbs Hill

It is graded as an intermediate-level mountain biking track. No more than eight riders are allowed in a group.

more info ...

Canaan Downs Loop

This is a very scenic and fun recreational ride that suits a variety of riders.

more info ...

Kill Devil Track

This challenging single track in Golden Bay is one of the region’s best.

more info ...

Heaphy Track

Heaphy Track Mountain Bike Ride.

more info ...

Some of the information gathered for this page was sourced from the DOC Department of Conservation Website


Collingwood Holiday Park
6 William Street
Golden Bay 7073
New Zealand

+ 64 (03) 524 8149



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