Pohara, in Maori means poor which argues evidence of Maori sarcasm. Fertile lands, a coast abundant with kaimoana. Foothills of the Pikikiruna range sitting prettily behind, Motupipi River ambling to the sea at the far end of the four kilometre beach. This place has riches most of us could not dream of.
It is no surprise then that, today, Pohara is one of Golden Bays most popular holiday spots in the Nelson Region, of South Island, New Zealand.
With its population ballooning over summer, there is plenty of holiday accommodation on offer, the majority situated either on the landward side of the main road or nestled into the hills. The undoubted star of the
show is the vast tidal beach. It is a playground full of shallow water ideal for little legs and has enough firm sand for a World Cups worth of cricket. Further out in the relative depths of the bay there is another playground, this one full of boaties, anglers, kayakers, water skiers and irrepressible kids bouncing with joy on inflatables towed by boats.
Rather fortunately for us our destination for a couple of days RR is in Poharas primo seats. Pohara Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park occupies 10 acres on the right side of the road. All beachfront: a 100 m strip of grassy land and half a kilometre of sand literally on your doorstep. There is no arguing that when it comes to campgrounds, this is a big gun.
During peak times like our full moon visit in January, you could be joined by around 800 fellow campers. What struck us though, somewhat surprisingly, was that whilst it was busy it never felt crowded.
Where was everyone? Down at the beach of course.
At low tide the beach can be over 250 metres from sea to camp. That is an extra 30 acres of space to run around in. Room for everyone.
The pitches (that is campsite in Aussie) in the camp are all of generous size and never more than two deep, which helps to compound the illusion of space.
As a result, this is a camp where canvas rules. The army of colourful tents create a pleasant, more intimate environment, where you are more likely to commune with your neighbour, share a bottle of wine or even trade some of todays catch.
And that can only be a good thing. As one might expect from a TOP 10, the facilities are tip-top and plentiful, evenly spread throughout the park. There is no queuing for showers, kitchen sinks or stoves and everything is spotless.
Keeping toilet blocks and kitchens clean in a campground full of sandy feet is no mean feat, and a testament to the army of efficient staff and the amenities good construction/design?
The playground is decent and there is a TV/internet lounge that will keep most teenagers happy.
Pohara Beach at low tide (Bennett Slater)
At the far eastern end of the camp you will find most of the touring campervans and a collection of quality proper-roof-over-your-head accommodation. The finest of which sit snugly amongst the trees atop the dunes, virtually on the beach.
One in particular could rate as the best cabin in New Zealand. We would tell you which one but the lovely Blenheim lady whos family had been coming here for years would surely turn nasty of we divulged any more.
Pohara Top 10 accommodation options include:
Park Motel Units (2 bedrooms): all fully self-contained are ideal for families. Two bedrooms and a divan in the lounge they are fully equipped with kitchen, TV, radio, heaters, electric blankets and your own private bathroom with shower. Bedding is supplied. One wheelchair accessible unit is available.
Studio Motel Units: for a little more comfort, relax in one of Pohara Beaches' two deluxe Studio Motel units. Fully self-contained, ideal for couples or families. Queen bed, 2 single beds, kitchenette, TV, radio, heater, electric blankets and your own private bathroom with shower. Bedding is supplied.
Hailes - Seaside Motel Unit are absolute beachfront, newly-refurbished fully self-contained unit. Ideal for couples or families. Hailes is fully equipped with queen bed, set of bunks, kitchenette, TV, radio, heater and your own private bathroom with shower. Bedding is supplied.
Small Self-Contained Unit: The Small Self-Contained Unit has kitchen facilities, its own set of pots, pans, crockery, bowls, cutlery, tea-towels, dish brush, electric jug, toaster, TV, fridge, microwave and your own private bathroom with shower. Bedding is supplied.
Kitchen Cabins: have microwave, benchtop stove, fridge, TV, crockery, cutlery, kitchenware, jug and toaster. Kitchen Cabins have the use of the park's communal bathroom (coin-operated showers 50 cents for 6 minutes) and laundry facilities. Provide your own bedding.
Standard Cabins: each Standard Cabin has its own set of pots, pans, crockery, bowls, cutlery, tea-towels, dish brush, electric jug and toaster. Standard Cabins have the use of the park's communal kitchen, bathroom (coin-operated showers 50 cents for 6 mins) and laundry facilities. Provide your own bedding
Sundowners on Avenue C (Bennett Slater)
Next to the camp office is the local shop and it is a treasure trove for campers. Ready-made meals, pies, lollies, ice cream, takeaways (scallops in season!), and the daily news. It has got the lot. Close by in Pohara itself, there is a caf, bar and restaurant too. Add to that the rest of the Bays attractions including the Abel Tasman National Park only a short drive away.
Things to see and do:
Golden Bay is about outdoor activities like caving, kayaking, windsurfing, rock climbing, guided walks, tramping (hiking), horse treks, scenic walks, boat cruising - sailing, bird and wildlife watching, golf, tennis, mountain-biking and doing nothing at all.
The Heaphy Track is one of New Zealand's great walks through alpine country from Golden Bay to Karamea on the West Coast. While you are in Golden Bay, it is also well worth exploring up the spectacular Cobb Valley.
Pohara Top 10 is the closest holiday park to the more pristine northern end of the Abel Tasman National Park and an ideal place to begin or end an Abel Tasman experience.
It is no wonder Poor Pohara is such a top spot.
Who are they trying to kid?
Now, that's close to the sea (Bennett Slater)
Things to do in the Tasman region:
Paddle into the park in a sea kayak.
Walk the scenic bush tracks.
Swim, Surf, Dive.
Try you luck fishing.
Enjoy the local seafood and produce.
Wilsons Abel Tasman sightseeing tours.
Skydive Abel Tasman.
The Sea Kayak Company.
Tasman Sky Adventures - microlight flights.
Sea Limousines www.sealimousines.com
Kaiteriteri seal swim.
Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park.
Arts and Crafts.
Reach for mile high sky adventures
Tasman Sky Adventures at Motueka Airport is the only company in New Zealand which offers hang gliding from a mile high.
They use the latest tandem aero-towing techniques with the tandem hang-glider towed into the air by a specially designed tow-plane called a 'tug'.
Unlike hill launching, aero-towing allows their professional pilots to take passengers as high as they want.Their pilots are certified by the New Zealand Hang Gliding and Paragliding association.
The tandem gliders have heavy-duty landing gear and quality cocoon harnesses to ensure safety and comfort. Tasman Sky Adventures specialise in tandem hang gliding, and scenic microlight flights.
The cliffs at the eastern end of the camp glow in the evening sun (Bennett Slater)
The Nelson Tasman region will host three international rugby teams during Rugby World Cup 2011 in September.
Rugby enthusiasts can spend some time learning about why Nelson is the birthplace of Rugby in New Zealand.
They can also attend the re-created first Rugby game at the original ground before the first international game Italy vs Russia on 20 September.
The following week switch up the focus to support the Italy vs USA game on 27 September, just a few days later, Australia vs Russia on 1 October.
Editors Note: GoSee thanks Fergus Brown CEO of Holiday Accommodation Parks Association of New Zealand (HAPNZ) for providing the basis of this free Information Article for the benefit of GoSeers.