Explore the Northern side of the Coromandel, New Zealand
The Coromandel, a peninsula in New Zealand, is very diverse: you can find here beautiful beaches, green farmlands, but also high mountains and forests. The Coromandel has it all! However, much travellers still miss the Coromandel when travelling through New Zealand, because they haven’t heard of the peninsula or because they don’t have much time. When travellers go to the Coromandel, it’s most of the time for visiting Hot Water Beach or Cathedral Cove. Although these are beautiful places, the diverse peninsula of New Zealand has much more to offer. Especially the very Northern part of the Coromandel is one of my personal, favourite places. In this article I’ll tell you more about the reasons why I love this part so much.
How to get to the Coromandel
Most travellers who are planning on going to the Coromandel, are staying here for several nights. People mostly rent a car or campervan and drive towards the peninsula. From Auckland, the drive will take around 2,5 hours to get to Coromandel Town. The first part of the route is quite straight with 80-kilometer roads and lots of farmland surroundings. When you’re driving through the Coromandel, you’ll find more winding roads.
If you don’t have a rental car / campervan or you’re spending some nights in Auckland and don’t have time enough to travel to the Coromandel, you can travel by ferry to Coromandel Town for a day trip. Through the website of the ferry company Fullers360 you can easily book your ferry tickets. With a guided tour you can do a day trip and explore some places the Coromandel has to offer. The ferry trip is beautiful as well: it takes around two hours and on the way you come across several other islands, like Waiheke Island and Rangitoto Island.
How to get at the Northern side of the Coromandel
From Coromandel Town, you can drive all the way up to Colville. From here, you can drive further, but this route will have gravel roads. Take into account that most rental cars / campervans do not provide insurance beyond Colville. Therefor it’s better to go to the Northern side by a guided tour or shuttle.
The route towards Fletcher Bay is beautiful though! Gravel roads along the rocky shoreline with magnificent views over the ocean, driving along Pohutukawa trees. Thanks to the fact that the rental cars and campervans aren’t insured on this route, you only come across a few other cars.
There are several organisations which offer guided tours towards the Northern side of the Coromandel. One of the most well-known will probably Coromandel Adventures. They offer both day trips and multi-day (hiking)trips. Thanks to the fact that they’re established in Coromandel Town, it’s also easy to join a day trip from Auckland (with the ferry ride).
Another organisation, which offer private tours, is Explore Paradise. They are established in Whitianga, so it’ll be a little harder to do it as a day tour from Auckland with ferry ride. However, if you’re staying for a few nights in Whitianga, this will be the perfect day tour. From Whitianga you’ll drive to Coromandel Town, from where you go further to Colville and Fletcher Bay.
Coromandel Coastal Walkway
The most beautiful activity to do in the Northern side of the Coromandel, will probably be hiking. A very well-known track (and definitely a highlight!) is the Coromandel Coastal Walkway, which begins in Stony Bay and ends in Fletcher Bay. It’s a track of 10 kilometres (one way), which takes around 3,5 hours. You’ll need an average condition though, because you sometimes come across hills. Besides, the paths can be quite uneven too.
On the way you’ll come across beautiful, green landscapes and magnificent views over the water and other islands. When I hiked the Coromandel Coastal Walkway, I literally came across no other hiker, which created so much peace! At the end of the hike, you’ll be rewarded with the beautiful beach of Fletcher Bay.
New Chums Beach
On the East Northern side of the Coromandel you can find New Chums Beach: a spectacular beach which has been voted as one of the world’s top 10 beaches! It’s definitely a hidden pearl of New Zealand, because it’s not that crowded yet. This protected beach has no buildings, no roads, no infrastructure or camping; which makes it a pure and unique place. The easiest way to get here from Coromandel Town is driving towards Te Rerenga and after to Whangapoua.
Coromandel Town & Whitianga
Coromandel Town is a great starting point for exploring the Coromandel and therefor is a nice place to stay during your time at the Peninsula. There are several accommodations where you can stay at. The town itself is quite small and doesn’t have many big shops, but it has all you need. You can have a nice dinner in one of the restaurants or you can go shopping in one of the small super markets. The ferries from Auckland also arrive in Coromandel Town.
If you’re looking for a bigger town to stay at, than Whitianga may be a great alternative. This also is a great starting point for exploring the Coromandel. Here you can find more accommodations, restaurants and bigger super markets. However, it still has the cosiness of a town.
Is the Coromandel already on your New Zealand bucket list?