The Best Golden Bay Walks for Short Adventures

Step into the natural wonders of Golden Bay by taking a short walk to see the best landscapes this stunning region offers. This collection of the best Golden Bay walks has been chosen for their easy access and grades, making them accessible to many. Keep reading to discover the best short walks in Golden Bay and how to go on these adventures.

The huge trees and lush forests of Abel Tasman National Park

Te Waikoropupu (Pupu) Springs Walk

Vibrant blue water surrounded by lush forest at Pupu Springs- known for the clearest water in New Zealand.

Begin your adventure at the tranquil Te Waikoropupu Springs walk, locally known as Pupu Springs. This natural marvel has gone viral on Instagram and is on everyone’s South Island bucket list.

The waters are sacred to Maori and are New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs and among the clearest springs globally, with visibility exceeding 60 meters. 

At the entrance, you will find informative interpretation signs that explain the history, cultural significance, and legends surrounding the springs. Allow extra time for your visit to fully appreciate this place’s beauty and significance.

The 40-minute loop walk around the turquoise waters is a delightful experience for all senses. The tracks are well-formed and begin with a bush trail alongside creeks, leading to a platform overhanging the magical springs.

While the walk prohibits swimming or touching the water due to its sacred nature and to avoid introducing pests and bacteria, the surrounding nature trail offers an immersive experience.

This short Golden Bay walk is a must for those seeking captivating landscapes.

How to Get to Pupu Springs Walk

Access the Pupu Springs walk by driving along State Highway 60 and then taking a left onto Pupu Valley. Follow the signs to the Pupu Springs car park. Pupu Springs is approximately 6 kilometres northwest of Takaka (7 minutes drive time). 

READ NEXT – Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Golden Bay Beaches

Labyrinth Rocks Walk

Labyrinth Rocks track

There are many beautiful walks near Takaka. Labyrinth Rocks walk, minutes from Takaka’s town centre, is an excellent option for families and those who want an element of mystery on their Golden Bay walks.

The walk features unique geological formations, limestone outcrops and a labyrinth network of passages.

The 40-minute loop through the intriguing rock formations provides a sense of adventure and wonder. 

For those who love strolling with their furry pals, Labyrinth Rocks has one of the best dog friendly walks Golden Bay offers; many Golden Bay walking tracks do not allow dogs, including the other walks on this list.

How to Get to Labyrinth Rocks Walk

You can quickly reach the Labyrinth Rocks walk from Takaka. Follow the clearly marked signs from Takaka to the Takaka Hill Scenic Reserve.

New Zealand South Island Travel Insider Guide Tip: If it’s been raining, the ground can get wet and slippery. While it is an easy walk, the weather can make the paths hazardous. Wear good walking shoes and take caution.

Grove Scenic Reserve Walk

The Grove Scenic Reserve, NZ

Another Golden Bay walk offering mystery and intrigue is the Grove Scenic Reserve. 

As you wander through this reserve, you’ll find yourself surrounded by towering native trees, their lush canopies creating a serene atmosphere. 

The walking trail winds through a landscape that feels like a living canvas of ancient trees, nikau palms, moss-covered rocks, limestone outcrops and fern-fringed paths. 

One of the Grove Scenic Reserve highlights is the viewing platform looking out over Golden Bay farmland and out to sea. 

The Grove Scenic Reserve walk is a 30-minute return walk, following a loop track and extending over 1 kilometre. If you are in a hurry and do not pause to take photographs, you can complete it in 15 minutes.

Even though Labyrinth Rocks may offer a similar otherwordly atmosphere and rocky outcrops, the views out to sea are the point of difference of this walk. Anyway, you can easily do both in a few hours, including driving time.

How to Get to Grove Scenic Reserve Walk

The Grove Scenic Reserve is approximately 8 kilometres from Takaka, which should take you around 10 minutes to get there.

Start by driving northeast towards Pohara. Turn right onto Clifton Road and follow the signs to the reserve. 

Wainui Falls Track

Wainui Falls, Golden Bay, New Zealand

One of our favourite Golden Bay walks is the Wainui Falls Track, the most accessible and largest waterfall in Abel Tasman National Park.

Besides an easy, short walk to the falls, this walk allows you to see some of the old-growth forests of the Abel Tasman National Park.

The 3.4-kilometre walk takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes through a forest of ferns, nīkau palms and old-growth rata trees. Allow extra time for all the photo stops.

The views are epic, the waterfalls are grand, and the swimming hole for a refreshing swim is a bonus. In our books, this Golden Bay track is one of the best Abel Tasman short walks.

New Zealand South Island Travel Insider Guide Tip: This walk is easy, but there are sheer drops off the trail’s edge. Please supervise your children closely and make sure they do not run ahead.

How to Get to Wainui Falls Track

To reach Wainui Falls, drive approximately 18 kilometres from Takaka to Wainui Bay. The drive takes about 30 minutes, though there are some stunning coastal lookouts you will likely want to check out, so allow extra time for this.

Follow the road signs to Wainui Falls, and you’ll find yourself at a carpark at the entrance to the Abel Tasman National Park.

For our review and more detailed information on Wainui Falls, including photos of the walk and what you will see, please read our story –Travellers Love the Short Walk to Wainui Falls in Golden Bay, New Zealand.

New Zealand South Island Travel Insider Guide Tip: You can complete three walks in one day by doing them in this order- Labyrinth Rocks, Grove Scenic Reserve, and Wainui Falls walk.

Hawkes Lookout Walk

Man at platform lookout with views over green pastures, hills and the Tasman Sea on one of the Golden Bay walks.

Ok, we have another favourite for those who love very short walks that take under 15 minutes!

On your way to Golden Bay, discover the epic views of Tasman Bay and the Riuwaka Valley at Hawkes Lookout.

The walk takes you through the native bush on a well-defined path. This 400-metre Golden Bay walk, taking 12 minutes to return, is the shortest and easiest on this list of Golden Bay walks.

It is the perfect spot to see the elevation you have reached on your way to Golden Bay.

How to Get to Hawkes Lookout Walk

As you drive on State Highway 60 to Golden Bay, look for signs on the left (approximately 10 kilometres after the Kaiteriteri turnoff) directing you to this elevated vantage point, where panoramic views await you.

Cape Farewell Walk  

Rocky outcrop and natural sea arch seen from the Cape Farewell walk in Golden Bay.

Conclude your exploration of Golden Bay short walk adventures with the Cape Farewell Walk, starting from the Cape Farewell car park. 

This coastal walk provides panoramic views of the Tasman Sea and the rugged coastline in the northernmost part of the South Island.

The 400-metre walk takes 10 minutes to return. It takes you through farmland, leading to an epic lookout over Cape Farewell.

The short Cape Farewell walk is just one of many fascinating walks in the Farewell Spit and Puponga Farm Park area. Walks range from 10 minutes to 5 hours. Visit the Department of Conservation for information on these longer Golden Bay walks.

How to Get to Cape Farewell Walk

Begin a picturesque 30-minute drive approximately 28 kilometres from Collingwood. 

From Wharariki Road, follow the signs to the Cape Farewell Road end car park. 

Are These the Best Walks Golden Bay Offers?

As you explore these Golden Bay walks, you’ll quickly realize that Golden Bay is like a playground with many natural attractions, offering a bit of everything for everyone. 

Golden Bay offers a variety of walks that cater to different preferences and time constraints ranging from 5 minutes to 5 days.

We consider these the best short walks in Golden Bay. 

Each of the walks on our list offers a unique experience, from those crystal-clear sacred springs to the maze-like rocks and the peaceful groves to breezy coastal strolls. However, one thing each of these Golden Bay walks have in common is the epic natural wonders.

Enjoy the walk, take in the views, and appreciate the beauty that pops up at every turn. These Golden Bay walks will be the highlight of your visit to Golden Bay!

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