Able Tasman – my FAVORITE place! Across all South Island, the Southern Alps were stunning. Tasman Bay and Golden Bay TOPPED the charts. Maybe it was the joy of seeing new things after lockdown and/or the luxury of additional time. The experience was perfection.
In May (autumn) we stayed 10 days in Kaiteriteri, south of Able Tasman Park. No tramping on the Great Walk, but daily hikes and car trips with every turn a surprise.
Kaiteriteri & Split Apple Rock
Our house provided stupendous views of the valley and Tasman bay. Nearby trails were so pretty one couldn’t stop walking.
A short walk to Split Apple Rock Beach where tiny caves were works of art.
The Kaiteriteri Track – a short hike over a hill to the sea.
Kohi Track – A secret bush walk behind our house.
Takaka Hill Walkway
Takaka Hill Road is the mountain pass between Tasman Bay and Golden Bay. “The Hill” (257 corners) is winding, precipitous and stunning.
At the top of the pass is Takaka Hill Walkway, a 5.1k trail through scrub, karst landscape and beech forest. Payoff: Views of Kahurangi National Park and Takaka Valley.
Over “the hill” is Golden Bay
At the top of the South Island, Golden Bay is diverse landscape close to the sea – golden beaches, valleys, rivers, endless hills. Pohara is a small beach community in Golden Bay that like a magnet it drew me back and we returned December, 2020 – POST PENDING!
Harwoods Hole – LOTR (Lord of the Rings) Film Scene
Directions: From Nelson, follow State Highway 60 to the top of Takaka Hill. Turn right onto Canaan Road, just past the Ngarua Cave turnoff. Canaan Road is unsealed, windy and narrow to the Canaan Downs car park.
At the carpark is a walk through a deep moss-draped forest to Harwoods Hole – a huge hole, 357 metres deep (600 feet) with its entrance on top of Tākaka Hill. it is NZ’s deepest vertical shaft accessible only to cavers who abseil (rope down). There is no “peeking over the edge” into the giant sinkhole…but very possible to slip and tumble.
The forest walk is like no other. While several LOTR scenes were fillmed in the caves at the bottom of “the hole”, we were there for the walk…awesome and eerie through the dense beech trees, mostly flat with beautiful mossy boulders to crawl over and through. Filled with bird songs and you swear hobbits will appear.
A Surprise at Every Turn
Alpacas and Scottish Longhorn cattle – Canaan Downs Road
Things We Missed
- Stay in Pohara/Golden Bay (Lucky us! We returned in December *)
- Takaka *
- Use Aqua Taxi or Sea Shuttle (3-day passport) for Able Tasman Great Coastal Walk
- Wainui Falls *
- Mussel Inn lunch *
- Pupu Springs *
- Day Hikes – Able Tasman *
- Heaphy Track – Kahurangi National Park
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