06 January 2022

G1 132 from Takaka to Karamea

One of New Zealand's most unlikely scheduled air services is operated by Golden Bay Air between Takaka and Karamea carrying trampers who have been walking the Heaphy Track. While there is a schedule for the service it can depend on the trampers and sometimes flights are direct flights operate between Karamea and Wellington or Nelson instead depending on the tramping parties and where they are headed.

Mainstay of the service is the Gippsland Airvan ZK-ZUG though the Piper Archer ZK-ZOG is also used. The company is introducing Britten Norman Islander ZK-EVO to its fleet in March and this will also be able to operate into Karamea. 

Flights normally operate "over the top" passing the Dragon's Teeth but if necessary the flights will operate via the coastal route. And on those West Coast days where there might be a bit of the West Coast rain the airline will arrange shuttle transport to drive trampers on the 375 km road trip between Karamea and Westport.

On Tuesday 4 January 2022 I took the opportunity to try out this most fascinating of scheduled services... Unfortunately the high cloud thickened for a time as we flew over - but still it is an amazing flight over some really rugged country.

My ride for my flight, G1 132 from Takaka to Karamea was Gippsland Airvan ZK-ZUG

Passengers numbers meant that Golden Bay Air's Piper Archer ZK-ZOG was also flying the service

Both the aircraft ready for start

Takaka traffic, Golden Bay Uniform rolling 36

Golden Bay looking towards Separation Point in the distance with Abel Tasman Point in front of it

Claire's front office in the Airvan

Looking towards Collingwood, The community of Patons Rock by the wing strut 

Takaka airport

A very thin coastal strip and then the mountains start

Parapara Ridge

The Dragon's Teeth

Adelaide Tarn

Lake Aorere

Lake Elmer

There was a layer of misty cloud forming towards the West Coast

Looking towards the Coast... a hazy day but Kongahu Point is visible


Looking north up the Coast to the start of the Heaphy Track

Karamea Traffic, Golden Bay Uniform short finals runway 19

The passengers for the return flight had already arrived as we taxied in

Thanks Claire for a great flight!


  1. Cool photos Stephen

  2. Good travel report thanks Steve. So by March they will have a 4th aircraft an BN Islander great they are able to expand their business in this challenging economy. Also that pilot Claire is really cute!

  3. So with a BN Islander coming they will soon have 4 aircraft in the fleet.

    1. No... the Islander will replace the Seneca

    2. Be great if they could keep that Seneca and expand their flying or open a new route eg Welly to Motueka.