The Coromandel, New Zealand

The Coromandel

The Coromandel peninsula is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the North Island of New Zealand, thanks to its proximity to Auckland, the stunning beaches, the lush native kauri forest and more. The peninsula is located in the Waikato region, north of Bay of Plenty forming a natural barrier for the Hauraki gulf both from the Firth of the Thames and the Pacific Ocean. Due to the rugged topography of the peninsula (it is bordered by the Coromandel Range on the south and Moehau Range in Northern Coromandel) much of it is isolated and uninhabited. In fact, only five towns in the area have a population of more than a 1000 people: Coromandel town, Whitianga, Thames, Tairua, and Whangamata. The peninsula was named after HMS Coromandel, a ship of the Royal Navy that stopped at Coromandel Harbour to purchase kauri spars.

The Coromandel has so much to offer, it’s hard to pick just a few highlights you should definitely not miss on your tour. The Odyssey Traveller North Island small group tour spends a few days doing a tour of Coromandel. This tour is offered to senior and mature travellers who like to travel with up to 12 like-minded people, keen to learn and use the services of our knowledgeable tour leaders and expert local guides. With that educational focus in mind, we arrive to the little town of Coromandel (famous for the Driving Creek Railway, New Zealand’s steepest railway) by ferry from Auckland, spend time in the Gold Discovery Centre of Waihi and other magical places before moving further south after our Coromandel tour to Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.

Highlights of the Coromandel

Arguably one of the most famous attraction of the Coromandel coast is Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own hot pool metres from the Pacific Ocean. Two hours either side of a low tide, you’ll see visitors flock the beach with shovels and spades frantically digging to allow the water from two underground fissures to escape to the surface. Then you can sit in your own pool and enjoy this natural wonder. But beware as the water can get as hot as 64 °C (147 °F)! Then high tide washes away everything making the beach ready for the next wave of visitors. You can also relax and enjoy mineral waters at The Lost Spring Geothermal Spa in Whitianga, where the thermal waters flow from a hot spring deep within the earth’s surface.

A beautiful morning to dig a personal hot tub at Hot Water Beach.

Another absolute favourite of the east coast is Cathedral Cove. Once you did your fair bit of hike to reach shore, the beach is sandy with shady pohutukawa trees along the foreshore – a perfect place for a picnic lunch and a swim. The coastal walk down to the Cove starts near Hahei Beach, which is quite an attraction on its own with its white sandy beach. Other, a bit less frequented but equally amazing beaches are Cooks Beach, New Chums Beach and Waihi Beach.

The Coromandel is also the dream of hikers. You can experience the natural beauty of misty rainforests on the Coromandel Coastal Walkway or the Karangahake Gorge Historical Walkway where you can learn about the area’s gold mining heritage while taking a quiet stroll around the abandoned mine.

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