Grove Scenic Reserve
Time: 20 min one way
Rock crack at Grove Scenic Reserve
From Takaka, drive north-east towards Pohara Beach. At Clifton turn right and follow the signs (for about 1 km) to a small carpark and picnic area.
From here a 20 min walking track makes its way easily upwards to a viewing platform through a series of limestone blocks, some sculpted into wonderful shapes by water. The tentacle-like roots of northern rata trees that hang down many of the blocks create an eerie atmosphere. Nikau palms are also a feature of the reserve.
Usually, northern rata begins its life in accumulated forest debris high in the branches of a tree. At the Grove, however, sufficient plant material is available on the limestone blocks for rata to take a hold there. As the rata trees get bigger, they send roots down to the ground, enveloping their rocky hosts like a giant hand.
Rata is a favourite food of the possum, New Zealand's most prolific forest pest. The Grove is now the subject of the South Island's first 'Project Crimson' programme, an initiative designed to protect rata trees and their close relative the pohutukawa.
No camping, fires or dogs are allowed in the reserve.
Time: 30 min return
Just north of Parapara Inlet on public conservation land is an interesting experiment in forest regeneration, managed by an Incorporated Society under an agreement with the Department of Conservation. Here, a variety of hardy but non-native trees has been planted on very poor soils. The idea of the project is to restore the area's natural forest cover faster than would be possible using only native species. The project began in 1974 and now much of the area is covered in tall trees. The shade beneath them provides just the right conditions for native species to take hold.
Turn right just north of Parapara Inlet (22 km north of Takaka) and then left, following Nelson Street and then Kendal Street. A shaded area at the road end provides a wonderful place for a picnic. The nearby estuary and coast provide good swimming, although swift currents develop as the tide moves in and out. Many walking tracks allow you to explore the forest, estuary and beach.
Te Waikoropupū Springs
Time: 30 - 45 min return
Viewing platform, Waikoropupū Springs
Follow State Highway 60 north from Takaka on the road to Collingwood, turning left just beyond Takaka River. Follow Pupu Valley and Te Waikoropupū Springs roads to the springs' carpark, 7 km from Takaka.
Te Waikoropupū Springs are New Zealand's largest freshwater springs and the largest cold water springs in the southern hemisphere. They contain some of the clearest water ever measured and are set in a reserve that protects gold workings, regenerating forest and a fine patch of mature bush.
To Māori the area of Te Waikoropupū is a taonga or treasure and a wāhi tapu, a place held in high cultural and spiritual regard, both locally and nationally. The legends of Te Waikoropupū are told in the stories of Huriawa, its taniwha (guardian spirit). In Māori tradition the springs are waiora, the purest form of water and provide water for healing. In the past, the springs were a place of ceremonial blessings at times of birth and death and the leaving and returning of travellers.
A platform that sits partly over the water with a large viewer allows visitors to see the springs under the water. A suite of interpretation signs at the springs tells the full story of this fascinating and beautiful place.
The viewing platform and immediate surrounding area at Te Waikoropupū Springs is closed to the public for the construction of a new platform. It should be completed by 4 November 2013.
More information: Visit Te Waikoropupū Springs
Takaka, the main town in Golden Bay, is 107 km northwest of Nelson on State Highway 60.
Public notice 1 February 2006
The waters of Te Waikoropupū Springs, including Fish Creek and the Springs River, are closed until further notice to all forms of contact, to prevent the introduction of the invasive alga didymo and other aquatic pests.
Contact includes fishing, swimming, diving, wading, boating, kayaking, or any activity where parts of the body or equipment contact the water.
Te Waikoropupū Springs Scenic Reserve remains open for visitors to view the springs.
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