The Golden Bay towns: Takaka and Collingwood


The Dangerous Cafe – featuring live music almost every day.

We left our Takaka Area campsite without sentiment – it was kind of a last-minute camping site, since the DOC site was completely full and the other accomodation options we looked at were way out of our budget. This one was basically a cheapest privately owned camping ground we could find.
We visited a spot recommended by a few fellow campers (Kiwis) called The Groves – a beautiful little hideaway feauturing cool rock formations, interesting trees and plants, and a nice lookout over the huge rolling hills that make up the Takaka area. Then we headed to the quaint town of Takaka.

What an adorable town. Lots of home-grown shops, organic-based culture, and a market that made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Juice bar, empanadas, random Thai food, homemade olive oil soaps, and lots of locally-made clothes were packed together between a few buildings, accompanied by a few local musicians playing some low-key tunes. My personal town favorites were Wildflower, a hippie clothing shop, and The Dangerous Cafe – a large restaurant with open patios, live music, and the best vegan chocolate cake I’ve ever had. I look for vegan simply because I know there’s a dairy’free guarantee, so I get super excited when I see vegan options at restaurants. The cake was even fantastic by dairy-lover standards, so don’t be afraid of the “vegan” label.
In general, there were really friendly people populating the town, clearly a laid-back sort of atmosphere. It was certainly a hippie-friendly environment for those concerned. 🙂
We then drove out along the coast into the boonies, home to a couple “Hill Top Walks” leading to sand dunes located near to Farewell Spit(a long skinny peninsula that reaches way out into the ocean). We climbed a barnacle-covered mountain on the beach, then had to descend relatively quickly due to the rising tide. The climb down was actually pretty scary considering how terror-free it seemed on the way up. My fear of down-climbing (even while being tied in) continues.

After exhausting our sand-dune exploring urges, we headed up to Collingwood – a tiny little town, I believe the northernmost town in the area. Collingwood is located right on the coast, so a nice oceanic breeze constantly flows through the town. We found a lovely camping/cabin area with friendly receptionists – friends of the owners, who apparently took a holiday of their own. The property had really easy and close beach access, as well as access to nice bathrooms/shower facilities, a kitchen, and a cute little “community area” – which was basically a living room.
Since the price was reasonable – only $16/person/night – we decided to spent 2 nights to take a break from our hyper-nomadic lifestyle.

Rob and I took a few moments of the evening to explore the microscopic town – walking through the four-room museum, reading various historical boards, and planning which cafe we wanted to visit the next morning.