Boasting a mix of lush valleys, rolling hills, windswept bays, and fine-sand beaches, Golden Bay is a remote and laid-back area with a charm all its own. Golden Bay is home to many off-the-beaten-track beaches that offer safe swimming for kids, abundant sunshine, thrilling watersports, and scenic surrounds for hiking and wildlife viewing. You’ll even find beaches in the marine reserves and national parks, so you can immerse yourself in nature. Whether you’re looking for nature experiences, outdoor adventure, or family fun by the water, find out more about Golden Bay beaches to see which is the best option for your trip.
Tata Beach for coastal walks
Tata Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Golden Bay. Surrounded by a charming coastal community, Tata Beach has plenty of amenities like accommodation and dining. The beach itself is one of the most picturesque in New Zealand and offers golden sand and calm, turquoise waters that are safe for swimming and wading. Tata Beach is also the gateway to the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, a coastal pathway with sweeping views of the water and distant islands.
Pohara Beach for jungle adventures
Pohara Beach is a warm, sandy beach in Golden Bay near the Abel Tasman National Park. The beach is surrounded by lush jungle that offers shady areas and picturesque scenery. Many families flock to the beach to allow the kids to swim and wade, but you can find adventure on the water. Boating, fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, and blokarting are popular activities on the water.
Whanganui Inlet for wildlife encounters
The Whanganui Inlet is home to the Whanganui Inlet Marine and Wildlife Reserve, a spectacular wildlife reserve with tidal sandflats, wetlands, dune areas, seagrass beds, and underwater reefs that provide a habitat for a diverse array of wildlife to see with the kids. If you like nature and watersports, visiting the Whanganui Inlet gives you a chance to hike in the coastal forest or kayak on tidal channels. Birdwatching is also popular, due to the native populations of kingfisher, banded rail, and other seabirds.
Ligar Bay for family fun
Ligar Bay is a golden-sand beach with safe swimming waters that’s a haven for families and couples. The gentle surf is perfect for kids to swim and wade while you relax on the sand. The beach also has 2 nearby boat launches for boating, canoeing, and kayaking. On the edges of the beach, you’ll find grill and picnic areas, shady spots with tree cover, and grassy areas for the kids to play.
Wharariki Beach for outdoor adventure
Located west of Cape Farewell on the Tasman Sea, Wharariki Beach is the northernmost point of South Island and a lovely north-facing beach. The beach is sheltered by cliffs on both sides, giving it a flat, sandy area for sunbathing and swimming with little wind and waves. The Kahurangi National Park surrounds the beach and gives you a chance to explore the landscape with scenic hiking trips with the family. From the shore, you can see spectacular views of the Archway Islands.
Milnthorpe Scenic Reserve for kids' adventures
The Milnthorpe Scenic Reserve is a pristine conservation area of swampland, lagoons, and sandy beach areas. Located north of the Parapara Inlet, the Milnthorpe Scenic Reserve’s beach is remote and comfortable, so you can kick back and relax in the sunshine. From the shore, you can see the views of the Kahurangi National Park mountain ranges and the Abel Tasman National Park. After spending time on the beach, you can take the hiking trails in the reserve to see wildlife and lush native forest.
Taupo Point for swimming with young kids
Located in a remote area of Abel Tasman National Park, Taupo Point is a short walk from Wainui Bay and offers a quiet and picturesque beach area. While you’re there, you’ll see incredible natural rock formations that frame the beach and a high-tide walk with spectacular coastal views. At low tide, you can walk along the water and see local wildlife.
Totaranui Beach for water adventures
Totaranui Beach is a stunning beach in Abel Tasman National Park with golden sands and rough seas that are perfect for watersports and adventure. The beach is popular for outdoor activities like swimming, kayaking, fishing, and sailing. If you want to explore on land, you can take one of the many hiking tracks in the native bush in the surrounding parkland.