Skip to Content

Rawhiti Cave, Golden Bay

Rawhiti Cave, Golden Bay

Like the teeth of a snarling beast, thousands of stalactites guard the entrance to Rawhiti Cave. It’s accessed via a steep and muddy track through the forest a short drive from Tākaka — a great place to seek out on your next trip to Golden Bay.

Getting to Rawhiti Cave

The track starts a 15-minute drive from Tākaka. You’ll pass through some farmland (don’t forget to close the gate) and soon reach the car park.

Road to Rawhiti Cave, Golden Bay, New Zealand

From there it should take around 60-90 minutes for the return journey. The track is steep and since I walked it after a lot of recent rain it was a muddy mess. Still, not too difficult though as long as you take your time (and wear good hiking boots). You’ll get an occasional view of the valley and also Dry River, which you’ll cross early on (the name is accurate so don’t worry about getting wet).

Rawhiti Cave Track, Golden Bay, New Zealand

Rawhiti Cave

The mass of stalactites peering through the trees provide a striking first view of Rawhiti Cave. Walk a little closer and the whole cave entrance comes into view. What a sight! I’ve been to a few caves around the world but I’ve never seen such a cool entrance before.

Rawhiti Cave, Golden Bay, New ZealandRawhiti Cave entrance, Takaka, New Zealand

You can walk a little way into the cave down a slippery wooden boardwalk. From there you’ll get a good look at the inside of the cave, with thousands more stalactites looming over the abyss. I read that you used to be able to walk further into the cave, but how it is now is impressive enough. It doesn’t take long to visit the cave, and then you’ll have a slippery walk back down the hill to the car park.

Spectacular cave entrance at Rawhiti Cave, Golden Bay, New ZealandStalactites at Rawhiti Cave, Golden Bay, New Zealand

Places to See Nearby

Takaka is close to heaps of unique nature spots, including Te Waikoropupū Springs, Tākaka Hill (more caves, walks, viewpoints) and Labyrinth Rocks / The Grove. You can also drive to Abel Tasman National Park via Tākaka — we reckon Totaranui (and the nearby beaches) is one of the best places to visit along the Coastal Track and it’s great to be able to drive there for a day trip or for overnight camping.

Te Waikoropupū Springs, Golden Bay, New Zealand

Are you planning a trip to Golden Bay? Check out our Nelson Itinerary — it has heaps of information about travelling the top of the South Island.

The following two tabs change content below.

Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.