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Your guide to Pōhara
All About Pōhara
Nestled between Mohua (Golden Bay), rolling green hills, and snow-capped mountains, the small village of Pōhara is a popular beachfront retreat at the northern reaches of New Zealand’s South Island. Pōhara’s golden stretch of coastline stretches to the size of an airport runway at low tide, and its waters are a haven for swimmers, kayakers, and boating aficionados — you can even cruise along the shoreline on a windsurfing board.
The fishing that takes place farther offshore draws visitors from around the country, and you can arrange for either a local or a deep-sea boat trip in search of tarakihi, blue cod, and albacore tuna. The village lies close to the northern gateway of Abel Tasman National Park, home to little blue penguins and bellbirds. Pōhara is also only a few miles north of the nearby town of Takaka, where you’ll find a movie theater, a museum devoted to the region’s history, and an aerodrome for domestic air travel.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Pōhara
Temperatures on the north coast of the South Island never veer toward the extremes — in fact, they rarely stray outside a 20-degree Fahrenheit range. Pōhara accommodation is popular year-round, but you’ll find that the village is at its busiest in the summer and winter seasons. The summer months of November through February bring warmer temperatures accompanied by balmy coastal breezes. While chillier, the winter months (May through August) offer a unique backdrop in the form of snow-capped mountains juxtaposed against the coast and green hills.
Events to keep an eye out for during a trip to the Pōhara region include the annual Golden Bay Harvest Festival in Takaka in March, featuring fresh produce, local musicians, and pizzas made on-site with locally grown ingredients. A visit in December will coincide with the Golden Bay Santa Parade — a joint local effort dedicated to bringing festive cheer to the Golden Bay area, headlined by a parade of floats and Santa himself.
Top things to do in Pōhara
Te Waikoropupū Springs
Just a 15-minute drive from the village, Te Waikoropupū Springs is one of the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand. The South Island Māori community considers it to be a sacred spiritual and cultural site, and so visitors aren’t permitted to make contact with the springs themselves. However, as you stroll along the walkways and viewing platforms, you’ll encounter breathtaking views of the clear water.
Totaranui Beach, located inside the Abel Tasman National Park, is a 45-minute drive due east of Pōhara. The long, curving golden beach itself is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. But it’s also a great place to park the car and explore the park. You can catch a water taxi down the coast as far as Bark Bay, passing the Tonga Island Seal Colony on your way. Or hike the 35-mile-long Abel Tasman Coastal Track from here, either heading several miles north to the secluded Anapai Bay or slightly farther south to Waiharakeke Bay and the Aoware Bay Inlet, which you can cross over at low tide.
Jutting out 34 kilometers from the northwestern tip of the South Island, Farewell Spit is one of the world’s longest natural sand spits, home to undulating, grass-topped sand dunes in varied shapes and sizes. Birdwatchers head here to spot curlews, who make the journey from the Northern Hemisphere for summer. Four-wheel-drive tours are a popular way to explore — personal vehicles are not permitted.