From LAX, Air New Zealand has connecting service to Nelson, New Zealand. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $923.
From Nelson to Takaka, it's almost 70 miles, or nearly two hours on the road. Don't forget to drive on the left.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (international dialing code), 64 (country code for New Zealand), 3 (area code) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY:
Nearly every farm with a spare room in Golden Bay has a sign out welcoming backpackers.
Sans Souci Inn, 11 Richmond Road, Pohara, Takaka; 525-8663, www.sanssouciinn.co.nz. Gardens and vineyards surround the eco-friendly Mediterranean-style inn across from Pohara Beach. Communal bathroom. The on-site restaurant serves a sumptuous set meal each night for about $18. Doubles from $63.
Anatoki Lodge Motel, 87 Commercial St., Takaka; 525-8047, www.anatokimotels.co.nz. Every spacious suite in the clean, modest motel includes full kitchen facilities. Doubles $70-$89.
Windjammers Café & Bar, Abel Tasman Drive, Pohara; 525-7672, www.thetaste.co.nz/goldenbay.htm. Kiwis crowd the bar here. The cafe serves mussels as big as bananas along with local wines and a variety of beers. Dinners about $18.
WHAT TO DO:
Golden Bay Kayaks, Tennyson Street, Pohara Beach, Takaka 7183; 525-9095, vwww.goldenbaykayaks.co.nz. Has guided paddling or rents sea kayaks so you can explore the uncrowded northern end of Abel Tasman National Park on your own; $40 for a half-day guided tour.