About 10km northeast of Takaka is pint-sized Pohara, a beachy village with a population that quadruples over summer. It has more flash holiday homes than other parts of Golden Bay, but an agreeable air persists nonetheless, aided by decent food and lodging, and a beach that at low tide is as big as Heathrow's runway. Look out for Golden Bay Blokarts.
Pohara lies close to the northern gateway of Abel Tasman National Park. The largely unsealed road into the park passes Tarakohe Harbour (Pohara’s working port), followed by Ligar Bay. It's worth climbing to the Abel Tasman lookout as you pass by.
The next settlement along is Tata Beach, where Golden Bay Kayaks offers freedom rental of kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, as well as guided trips (including multiday) into Abel Tasman National Park.
Signposted from the Totaranui Rd at Wainui Bay is a leafy walk to the best cascade in the bay: Wainui Falls. It's a one-hour return trip, but you could easily take longer by dipping a toe or two in the river.