Staying at the beach in Golden Bay
Last time I visited New Zealand, I checked out the Golden Bay region in the south island's north. As is my habit, I sought somewhere to stay that was out of town and scenic, yet still convenient ... and I found it at Pohara Beach.
Although I want this website to focus on places, rather than places to stay, I can't help mentioning some of the accommodation I've stayed in which stand out for some reason. One of these is the Pohara Beach holiday park. It sits in a rural setting 10 km from Golden Bay's main town of Takaka, but, as its name suggests, it also sits right alongside a beach. A rather nice one too.
Staying at a beach might not be the first thing you associate with New Zealand's south island, especially in winter. Golden Bay, however, is at the mildest part of the south island, and its waters are sheltered. After weeks of cold and frost further south, and the dampness of the west coast, strolling on Pohara's golden brown sand felt balmy in comparison. It demonstrated once again what a land of contrasts New Zealand is. Yes, that's a cliche, but it's true - you can have snowcapped mountains in the morning, sand and surf in the afternoon.
I enjoyed the soothing sound of waves rolling onto the beach, something able to be enjoyed from inside the accommodation since it is so close to the sea. Because I indulged myself by staying in a small cabin, I even had a view of the sea out my window. Not all accommodation options have the view, but the ocean-side ambience is still there.
The Pohara Beach holiday park is part of the Top Ten chain, and shares the high standard of facilities common to parks in this chain. The amenities were as good and clean as any I've found in caravan parks. Prices are also high by caravan park standards, but then you usually get what you pay for.
My stay in a cabin didn't quite fit "budget" category, even with winter rates, but for a short stay I felt it was worth it for the location. Exploring the Golden Bay area required a local base somewhere, and finding one so comfortable and right on a pleasant beach made it special.
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