Takaka Hill is a mountain pass at an elevation of 791 metres above the sea level, located in the northwest of the South Island of New Zealand. The summit is traversed by the State Highway 60, following the valleys of the Takaka River to the northwest and the Riwaka River to the southeast.
This road is very exciting and sometimes very exposed and unsecured driveway in innumerable twists and turns. Takaka Hill separates the coastal communities of Golden Bay from those of the more populous Tasman Bay to the southeast and because of its winding nature isolates Golden Bay from the rest of the South Island.This infamous road is tightly hairpinned and bumped, an exquisite winding mountain drive with sharp and blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading the traveler over the mountains. The road is difficult and it’s a nightmare in the wet or dark (or both).
The experience of using this road is very impressive. Takaka Hill isn't a scary road, but it is a very steep and winding road. The wide road surfaces is extremely well maintained and has numerous layoffs where slower moving vehicles can allow others to pass. It is a slow road to drive. There are numerous bends in the road, some almost 320 degree hairpins. Because of this, new comers to the road sometimes experience travel sickness. The road's winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. Exercise extreme caution when passing on-coming traffic, over-taking and around corners. Drive with your headlights on at all times as it is easier for oncoming vehicles to see you.
The road still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. A quick glance at the map, at its sheer drops and serpentine twists and turns, confirms that this is no hype. The area is noted for its unusual elevated landscape including spectacular marble karst rock formations. In clear weather you will see panoramic views over TasmanBay, GoldenBay and the mountains of Kahurangi National Park.The drive is definitely worth it. Don’t forget your camera! The road includes some steep sections.
The road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. Any barriers along the edge afford little more than token protection; large stretches should be taken at a snail's pace and a lookout kept for vehicles coming from the opposite direction! The road is certainly breathtaking and it has a fearsome reputation.
The surface of the road is asphalted, and chains or snow tyres can be required throughout the year. This road is usually open all year, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. Avalanches and heavy snowfalls can sometimes block some sections of the road and can be extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. Conditions can change quickly and be harsh. Road closures can be frequent, so check conditions before traveling to this area.