Swimming hole at Paynes Ford

Image: Cris Lovell-Smith | ©


Walk to some excellent swimming holes on a track that follows an old tramline.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

30 min one way Easy: Walking track

Dog access

Dogs on a leash only

About this track


The track follows the line of a tramline that operated between the early 1880s and 1905, and was used to take timber from the Takaka Valley down to Waitapu wharf. It provides access to some excellent swimming holes in the Takaka River as well as to rock climbing areas.

There is a large picnic area with a toilet beside the highway bridge.


With its impressive line of limestone bluffs emerging from a remnant patch of forest, Paines Ford is one of New Zealand's best rock-climbing areas. Climbers come from far and wide to enjoy the challenge of the sheer rock faces - these are definitely not for beginners!

Getting there

Entrance to the Paines Ford Scenic Reserve is at 1886 Takaka Valley Highway SH60, 3 km south of Takaka.

History and culture

Paines Ford Scenic Reserve takes its name from the original ford across the flood-prone Takaka River on the main road into Takaka. A modern bridge now replaces the ford.

Know before you go

  • Takaka River is dangerous when in flood
  • No fires
  • No camping 


Mohua / Takaka Office
Phone:   +64 3 525 8026
Email:   takaka@doc.govt.nz
Address:   62 Commercial Street
Takaka 7110
Postal Address:   PO Box 166
Takaka 7142
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