The ultimate guide to the Coromandel Peninsula
The Coromandel Peninsula is a very diverse part of New Zealand which features some magnificent nature. The peninsula absolutely is worth a visit when travelling to New Zealand. In this article I will provide you an ultimate guide to the Coromandel with 10 things to do / places to visit.
Coromandel Coastal Walkway
The most beautiful activity to do in 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.
Hot Water Beach
Another highlight of the Coromandel is Hot Water Beach: a beach where you can dig your own hot-pool. Because of hot water sources under the sand, warm water will float upwards when you dig a hole in the sand. Keep into account that this often only possible is during two hours before or after low tide. You don’t need to bring your own shovel, as you can rent one on the beach. One tip: it can be very crowded at Hot Water Beach, especially in the months November until March, so try to avoid those crowds and go early or late on the day. Besides, Hotties Beachfront Eatery is a nice place to have lunch.
A trip to the Coromandel isn’t complete without having visited Cathedral Cove, as this is one of the images of New Zealand: you can find photos of Cathedral Cove all over the internet! From Hahei you can hike the Cathedral Cove Walk, which has a length of 2,5 kilometers and takes around 45 minutes. This hike ends up at a beautiful beach with cliffs and, of course, the well-known Cathedral Cove. Take into account that it can be very crowded here during the summer (around November until March).
Another fun way to explore Cathedral Cove, is by boat. From Hahei you can take a boat trip around the beaches, but also around big rocks and into caves. You come across several, unknown little islands and see Cathedral Cove from the water, which is a great way when it’s too busy at Cathedral Cove itself. Not only you’ll get to see amazing nature, but there is also a chance you’ll see some wildlife! During the boat trip I was on, we spotted some seals, which was a really nice experience. You can book a boat trip through Hahei Explorer.
Gold mine town Waihi
Waihi, located in the Hauraki district just outside the Coromandel, is the home of the richest gold mine in New Zealand, started in 1878 (and which is still in operation nowadays). If you would like to get to know more about the gold mine and the history of Waihi, you can pay a visit to the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre.
The Waihi Gold Discovery Centre is an interactive museum where you get to know more about the gold production by walking around, reading and doing some interactive activities. Those interactive activities consist out of rattling the drill, cranking the handles and pushing the plunger. It’s a fun museum for both young and old! You can also chose to go on one of the Waihi Gold Mine Tours, during which you visit a gold mine and learn how today’s miners get the gold out of the rock and into gold bars.
Coromandel Town & Whitianga
Both Coromandel Town and Whitianga are perfect starting points for exploring the Coromandel, but also nice towns to pay a visit to. If you’re hesitating about which place to stay at, it’s important to look at the distances from one place to the places you would like to visit.
Coromandel Town offers several accommodations, but the town itself is quite small: you can have a nice dinner in one of the restaurants or you can go shopping in one of the small super markets. Whitianga is a bigger town where you can find more shops, restaurants and bigger super markets. However, it still has the cosiness of a town.
The Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway
Close to the gold mine town Waihi, you can find the Karangahake Gorge. If you’re into hiking, the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway definitely is a recommendation. The hiking trail is divided into two sections. You can choose to hike the Rail Tunnel Loop only, which takes 45 minutes return and is around 2,5 kilometers long. You can also choose to walk a little more and hike the Historic Walkway to Waikino. This complete hike takes 4 hours return and has a distance of 4,3 kilometers. More information about the hiking trail can be found by clicking here.
Otama Beach may be one of the most beautiful beaches of the Coromandel! This beach has a fine, peach colored sand which has a quite remoted location. That’s also the reason why this beach can be very peaceful and quiet. You can make a short “coastal walkway” of 30 minutes, starting on the beach. You walk into the grass on the right side of the beach and upwards on a cliff. During the hike, you come along some magnificent views.
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, is driving towards Te Rerenga and after to Whangapoua.
The Hauraki Rail Trail
The Hauraki Rail Trail is a fantastic biking trail which route goes through several regions of New Zealand. It’s one of the easiest biking trails of New Zealand, at which you can chose for a day trip, but also for a four-day trip (with staying in accommodations on during the bike trip). The trail is divided into five sections, which makes it easy to choose a day trip which entirely fits your wishes. On your way, you come across all kinds of landscapes and places: from farmlands to forests and from caves to bridges. The best thing about the Hauraki Rail Trail is the fact that you come across all kinds of historical points: the route follows old railway lines between several historic gold towns.
If you would like to get some more information about the trail, the sections and how to plan your bike tour, click here.
Located close to Otama Beach, around a 10-minutes’ drive, you can find Opito Bay. It’s the perfect picknick spot, as there are tables all around the beach. It gives you a relaxing afternoon where you can enjoy some drinks and food. With beautiful weather, you can have a swim in the sea; it’s a beautiful beach as well.
Would you like to read more about New Zealand? You can find all our articles about this destination by clicking here.