Takaka is famous for its rocks and they come in many shapes. Just next to town is Paynes Ford Scenic Reserve, a paradise for rockclimbers with a campsite (The Hangdog camp, 10$ per night. They hire climbing gear as well.) full of motivated climbing folks. No matter how cold, rainy or windy it gets, there are always people on the wall. We have been there a few times, with friends and colleagues from work, and we have only seen a fraction of what Paynes Ford has to offer. It is known for its big variety of grades and many tricky climbs with typical slopy holds.
Just five minutes from Takaka visitors can have a short walk through the Labyrinth Rocks (free entry), a natural maze of rocks with interesting shapes. On every corner you find some old puppets, toy figures, Disney & Cartoon miniatures or similar scurrilous objects. We most appreciated the beheaded Ronald McDonald halfway through the maze – a real artistic message there.
When we rounded one corner, we found ourselves in a graveyard of cattle skulls draped on the rocks. The best time to go there is probably at night to get the real maze feeling :)
Another interesting piece of the rock in the area are the caves. Up on Takaka Hill are the Ngarua caves and in the north of the Abel Tasman National Park, next to Pohara the Rawhiti caves with their fascinating stalactites.
The Grove Scenic reserve is quite small and unspectacular in comparison, but still a nice stop on the way. It offers a short walk through native bush and big rocks and opens up to a little lookout over the fields.