Paines Ford Scenic Reserve

(Paynes Ford)

Paines Ford Scenic Reserve



10 Rankers Reviews

9 Face-to-Face

12 Golden Bay

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Time: 1 hour return

This is an EXTREMELY popular rock climbing area and is known for its impressive line of limestone bluffs. There is a large picnic area beside the highway bridge. At the southern end of this area is a toilet, where the Paynes Ford Tramline Track (a 30 minute walk) begins. There are awesome swimming holes to hang out in while you watch the lithe climbers do their thing (or not)...... And when you have had enough, cruise down the road for a coffee in Takaka. Primo.


Feature Value Info


DOC Nelson/Tasman

Central government organisation


South IslandNelson RegionGolden Bay


  • Climbing
  • Walking
  • Free


Tom Teuber's avatar

Tom Teuber


Ranking: 9/10

Perfect limestone walls for climbing. So many spots to climb. Amazing.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Max's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

Go to Paynes Ford if you love climbing! Many walls and routes from all levels!! Very nice people to meet and you can even swim in the river for relaxation. You can rent gear at the Hangdog Campground.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Jan's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

Climbing for every level.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

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Steph's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

I have limited experience with rock climbing but there was loads of crags with different gradings, really friendly climbers - stay at Hangdog campsite for meeting climbing buddies and location - just a short walk to Paynes Ford. Also an amazing river just across the road to cool off in after a climb!

Reviewed about 6 years ago

Loic Deltier's avatar

Loic Deltier


Ranking: 10/10

Those lime stone walls are just perfect! Everything was well indicated. I will be stopping there on my way back through, for sure!

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Guillaume's avatar



Ranking: 7/10

Great place and good moment.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

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Galen Licht's avatar

Galen Licht

United States

Ranking: 9/10

Great climbing and great community. One of the best swimming holes in New Zealand.

Reviewed over 8 years ago and experienced in March 2013

Patrick O'Connell's avatar

Patrick O'Connell

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Spent four days climbing at Paynes Ford near Takaka. Great climbs and even better people.

Reviewed about 9 years ago and experienced in February 2013

Ruben Kunze's avatar

Ruben Kunze


Ranking: 10/10

Across the bridge, 3km before you arrive in Takaka. Nice climbing, nice camp (hang dog)

Reviewed over 9 years ago and experienced in March 2012

mnm's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

the ultimate place to go rockclimbing - beautiful surroundings, a swimming hole nearby, campground nearby, small town with great eateries nearby, challenging climbs more in the upper grades, steep and slopy limestone. Perfect day in summer - climb all day, go for a swim, go into town for a meal, then back to camp for some beers. RIP Willy.

Reviewed over 11 years ago

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick