Golden sands, clear azure waters, rocky headlands and lush native forest are all part of Golden Bay's charm. The region is made for outdoor adventure, with hiking and sea kayaking among the forest-rimmed bays in Abel Tasman National Park among the most popular activities. En route to the park, you can stop at Motueka to enjoy the crafts or fish for trout in the Motueka River.

Takaka is Golden Bay's main centre and has a thriving café and craft scene. The town is close to many of the bay's main attractions including Waikoropupu Springs (the world's largest freshwater springs), the tame eels at Anatoki, the Ngarua limestone caves and the sprawling Kahurangi National Park - a haven for hikers. Golden Bay is sheltered on its northern side by Farewell Spit, a 24km long sandspit with wetlands and a bird sanctuary. Pakawau Beach is an attractive holiday spot midway between Collingwood and Farewell Spit which has safe swimming, kayaking and fishing.