Located around two to two and a half hours drive from Auckland , the Coromandel Coast is a sub-tropical paradise. Thames is the largest town in the region, and has many historic buildings and several museums. Other towns in the region include Whangamata, Paeroa, Waihi and Whitianga.
For those wanting to base themselves in Auckland, we have a great day trip to the Coromandel region.
Click on the following link to view a wide range of Coromandel accommodation.
Download our free PDF Guides courtesy Destination Coromandel
Unspoilt Paradise - The Coromandel Coast
If you are into scenic walks, this is the place for you. There are dozens of walking tracks that meander through the valleys and hills of the Coromandels, showing traces of the region's gold mining and kauri logging past.
And along the extensive 400 kilometres of coastline, choose from a never ending array of unspoilt beaches. Stunning settings for sun drenched holidays and water based experiences.
Seafood is a speciality of the region where oysters, mussels, scallops
and other foods are grown and harvested sustainably offshore.
Locals are famous for a relaxed and welcoming style. Inspired by the natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle, the region's resident artists help fuel the area's quirky, creative vibe.
Coromandel Coast - Heritage
Ancient Maori village sites along the region's coast are evidence of New Zealand's earliest Polynesian settlement.
The British explorer Captain Cook visited the region in 1769 to observe
the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun. His
mission is commemorated in the names of local beaches such as Mercury
Bay and Cook's beach. Lured by Cook's descriptions of the towering kauri
trees, early European settlers came to mill the forests.
Gold was discovered in the area in the late 1800s, New Zealand's first recorded gold discovery and gold rush. The goldfields produced 16 million tonnes of gold ore between 1862 and 1952.
Life was pretty tough for the early settlers and although they lived in a beautiful location, relics such as the Cornish Pumphouse give an insight of what it was like in those early days.
Coromandel Coast - Nature and Wildlife
Various species of unique New Zealand wildlife inhabit the region's coastland and rainforests. And in fact, several conservation projects for kauri, kiwi and other birds originated in the region, where 34 percent of the land is under Department of Conservation (DOC) protection.
Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat is nestled in the heart of the Moehau kiwi
sanctuary - one of New Zealand's first kiwi sanctuaries. Visitors can
sit on the deck of a luxurious bush hut at night and listen to kiwi
Te Whanganui a Hei marine reserve is a community-led project off the Hahei coastline and iconic Cathedral Cove. This area has been a no-take zone for 20 years and marine life is thriving. Glass bottom boats reveal many types of marine life including fish, seals, crayfish (lobster), stingrays, blue penguins, dolphins and orca.
Coromandel Coast - Adventure / Outdoors
Outdoor adventures include scuba diving, sea kayaking and fishing, short and long forest treks.
The "Windows" walkway in the Karangahake Gorge follows the old Paeroa -
Waihi railway line, exploring gold mining relics and river scenery.
The 'Pinnacles' overnight walkway through the Kauaeranga valley was originally constructed for horses carrying supplies to kauri loggers, gum diggers and gold miners in the early 1900s. Walkers stay in a DOC hut where an early morning rise reveals the sun's first rays on the Pacific Ocean and 360-degree panoramic views.
Cathedral Cove's iconic limestone archway and pristine golden beach featured in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
To get to the
cove, there's the option of a two-hour return walk, or a guided kayaking
trip. The cove is an idyllic location for swimming, snorkelling,
picnics and relaxing under pohutukawa trees.
At Hot Water beach, where underground thermal activity supplies bubbling hot water, visitors can create a personal natural jacuzzi in the wet sand during low tide.
Coromandel Coast - Seasonal Highlights
The sunny climate makes the region a year-round holiday destination for visitors.
In summer, Kiwis flock to the region to stay in baches
(holiday homes) and camping grounds but
throughout the year there are also regular events and festivals that offer visitors a chance to indulge in the local way of life and environment.
The Coromandel Pohutukawa Festival is a celebration of New Zealand's native 'Christmas' tree and its symbolic ties to New Zealand beach culture.
Held in late spring to coincide with the trees' flowering, the
region-wide month-long festival hosts art exhibitions, café crawls, dive
events and open-air concerts.
In winter, the region celebrates the scallop harvest at the Whitianga Scallop Festival. This large outdoor food festival combines local food, wine, entertainment and family activities. If you have a taste for fine seafood this event is highly recommended.
And There Is Lots More To Do On The Coromandel Coast
Here are a few of the many things to do in the region:
* Visit the Driving Creek Railway and potteries. The train journey takes you through native rainforest and offers stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf.
* Take a trip to the secluded New Chums beach, voted one of the world's top 10 beaches!
* The beautiful Cathedral Cove area is a water lovers paradise. Take a
scenic boat tour, or immerse yourself in the clear waters with a
kayaking, snorkelling or diving adventure.
* For a bird's eye view of the region, why not take a scenic helicopter flight?
* See the underwater delights with a glass bottom boat tour of the Te Whanganui A Hei Marine Reserve.
* If fishing is your thing, guided ocean and fly fishing trips are available.
* For the ultimate view of the region, take a tandem skydive.
* How about a trip to local art and craft galleries? The region is home to thousands of artists .
* Several local museums feature displays detailing the rich history of the region.
* Fancy a game of golf? There are numerous courses including the championship Lakes Resort course.
Some Interesting Things About The Region
* Thames (current pop: 7000) - gateway to the Coromandel Peninsula - was once New Zealand's biggest town, boasted more than 100 pubs, and was proposed as the country's capital city.
* Thames colonial architecture goes back to its gold mining heritage.
* Coromandel's name has an Indian origin. HMS Coromandel - the first European ship to bring settlers to the region - was named after India's 'Coromandel Coast'.
* Foodies consumed more than 100,000 scallops in one day at the 2008 Whitianga Scallop Festival.
Visit the Tourism New Zealand website for more information on the Coromandel Coast.