An hour’s drive in any direction from Hangdog and you’ll find the vast and stunning array of mountains, hills, rivers, lakes and deserted beaches that make up our two neighbouring national parks. In the middle resides a colourful, friendly, and extremely alternative community that not only provides a great escape from the outside world, but is also leading the way in New Zealand’s green promoting eco-tourism industry. For a general look at the Nelson/ Tasman region, and for lots of great idea’s for trip planning, visit the i-site page.
The Nelson region is a mecca for tramping and hiking- with 3 neighbouring National Park’s, there’s plenty of world class scenery to be found, including two of NZ’s famed “Great Walks” (The Heaphy and Abel Tasman tracks). From easy 1 hour stroll’s to 10+ days of sub-alpine adventure, there is something for everyone. For more information, visit the DOC website.
Although the roads get VERY busy in summer, there are some really lovely bike ride’s when it’s a little quieter. There is a strong local mountain bike scene in Golden Bay, and Nelson is rapidly rising through the ranks towards NZ’s premier mountain bike destination. Please be aware however that the National Parks are legally off limits to cyclists (except for the Heaphy Track during designated winter months). The Quiet Revolution cycle shop in Takaka is your one-stop-shop for all the local cycling info you need, or see the Nelson Mountain Bike Club website.
Whitewater: The Takaka, Aorere, Anatoki and Waingaro river’s all have quality runs on them, though of course it depends upon flow conditions. Check out rivers.org.nz for more info.
Sea Kayaking: Golden Bay and the nearby Abel Tasman National Park are a sea kayaker’s paradise. For experienced paddlers or first timer’s, we highly recommend that you try getting out for a paddle while you’re here. Golden Bay Kayaks are the local operators, talk to them about guided tours or renting a boat.
The marble and limestone bedrock that makes up significant sections of the Nelson/ Tasman region is literally riddled with caves. From Harwood’s Hole- one of the deepest vertical shafts in the Southern Hemisphere- to the 10’s of kilometres of explored passages beneath Mt Arthur… if you like going underground, you should definitely have a “deeper” look at what’s on offer here. Talk to the Nelson Speleological Group… they know a lot more.
It’s definitely possible (there’s beaches and rivers galore), but buggered if I know anything about it.
Beaches: In GB, it’s often easier to find a beach without anyone on it than it is to find an occupied one. From the idyllic stretches of golden sand in the Abel Tasman, to the wild wind swept dunes and bush clad hills of the west coast, and everything in between… just take your pick.
Rivers: Generally you don’t need to go further from Hangdog than the 2 minute walk to the “High Rocks” swimming hole in the Takaka River. Here you’ll find deep clear water, cliff jumps, rope swings, and some very challenging over-water bouldering problems. If you do get bored here though, there’s plenty more to choose from elsewhere in the bay, just ask around when you’re here.
The Village Theatre in Takaka is one of the classic examples of “funky community cinema”. Running since 1987, it’s small, charismatic atmosphere is superb on the wet nights, and makes a great alternative to the pub. Website: www.villagetheatre.org.nz
These are coming up like popcorn around Takaka so you shouldn’t have any problem getting on line. The library and most of the Cafe’s around town now offer wifi to some degree.
What holiday town would be complete without a menagerie of places to eat and drink? Takaka has a veritable circus of them, many running on the organic theme and sourcing local produce and ingredients.
Highly recommended: For a slice of Golden Bay culture and guaranteed good times, it’s recommended to visit both of the below places at least 17 times each during your stay:
The Mussel Inn: A nationally revered country pub offering award-winning craft brewed beers, large organic and locally sourced meals, a warm, hearty and family-friendly atmosphere, and regular national and international touring music acts. Visit their website musselinn.co.nz
The Naked Possum: A “wild” dining experience. Located in the back and beyond of a beautiful farming community surrounded by native bush, one must experience their wild game menu, regular national and international music acts and adjoined possum hide tannery/ art gallery. Visit their website nakedpossum.com
As small as Golden Bay is, it has an impressive music scene thrumming away- especially over the summer. Regular folk, rock, world and electronica performances can generally be found during any given week of the summer period, either within Golden Bay or elsewhere in the Tasman Region. There is a couple of established music festival’s (Luminate and Alien Nation), along with smaller regular and irregular dance party’s being organised in the region.