Design your New Zealand Holiday!

Off the beaten track


Our kiwi combo’s give you the chance to get off the beaten track. I was fortunate enough to explore the top of the South Island, Labour Weekend. New Zealand’s Labour weekend marks not only the implementation of a 40 hour working week, but equally importantly the start of summer.

What a perfect time of year to get off the beaten track. We we headed out of Nelson, hugging Tasman Bay before we went up and over the Takaka Hill. Stunning vistas in all directions. The grass was so green, as were the trees, not to forget the distinct smell of summer wafting through the open windows. As we were headed into Takaka, we diverted off the main road and headed to Pohara, what a fabulous little oasis, skimming Golden Bay. We had a look at the Pohara Beachfront Motels – I had put many clients there and wanted to see for myself, I was not disappointed, rightly named they are on the beachfront, just imagine sitting on the deck over looking the bay, sun shining, a long cold beverage loaded with ice and mint and whatever else takes your fancy . We didn’t stay but do want to come back.

We moved onto the small village of Takaka with its ecliptic range of colourful stores. By the way coffee was great at The Wholemeal Café. From Takaka it was a short drive and walk to Pupu Springs. I could go into great scientific explanations as to why this spring has some of the purest water in the world, but that would be a bit boring, yes it is crystal clear and is an absolutely amazing place, vivid blue water surrounded by native bush. You need to visit this spot whilst it is still some of the purest water in the world, let me know I can get you there, and give all the scientific details then.


From Pupu Springs we head to Collingwood, basically it is the last town (albeit little) before you hit the Northern most tip of the South Island – farewell spit. A great place to get a hokey pokey ice cream and watch the black swans cruising around the bay.

From Collingwood we headed to Westhaven Inlet, and our final destination for the day. As we skirt the inlet the tide is out, but on its way in. The gravel road was not a problem, as there was no other traffic. All of a sudden my husband stopped in the middle of the road, actually a causeway, imagine being able to just stop in the middle of the road, there was silence apart from the birdlife. We spotted a White Heron in all her glory (must have been a female, as so elegant) – the heron did not look real standing proud in the estuary, first time I had ever seen a heron, the perfect photo op.


As we were watching the majestic bird, we look up and view the surroundings, dense bush to the water, rugged country, and to our surprise we spotted our accommodation for the night, at the top of the peninsula across the inlet. We continued our travels around the inlet and got to Westhaven Retreat as the sun was setting. The lodge is a gem built on a privately owned 1000 acre harsh, raw, peninsula, an untouched environment, remote and comforting and in harmony with the surrounds. Bear the most beautiful Maremma Sheep Dog, welcomed us with dignity and grace.

The Westhaven Retreat is just that, a retreat from the hustle and bustle of life, set in the most beautiful of landscapes. Certainly why it is worth getting off the beaten track. Our visit there was like staying with close family friends. Everything was well appointed, and the food was exquisite. They even sent us off on our way the next day with a packed lunch, by the way it was delicious. We didn’t want to leave but it was time to do some more exploring, the whole family and Bear the dog came and sent us on our merry way, with hugs all around. A real retreat that not many have the privilege to visit, as it is off the beaten track, but a must do. We can arrange that for you.

We retraced our steps around the inlet, heading to Wharariki Beach, this is a 40 minute walk through farmland, seals dot the beach, and on a clear day you can almost see Australia (yeah right). The rock formations can be explored at low tide, as it is a West Coast Beach the sunsets are amazing, but we were there at lunch time, having our picnic….. we will need to return. After Wharariki we headed to Farewell Spit, did a very short walk to view the spit, it was not clear enough for us to see the North Island, but there is something special about seeing the very tip of the South Island, sticking out there dividing the Tasman Sea and Cook Strait.


So we hit the back roads on our brief Labour Weekend getaway, let us at Kiwi Combos put together an Off the Beaten track tour for you to suit your requirements. I love showing off what we have here in New Zealand and would love to show you.

Written by: Heather Collins