The Coromandel, with its pristine beaches, native forests and laid-back vibe, is one of New Zealand's most popular and best-loved holiday destinations. A binocular’s view across the gulf from Auckland, the Coromandel is everything that a big city isn’t. Cloaked in native rainforest with dazzling white sand beaches, it is rustic, unspoiled and relaxed.
There are many great locations in the Coromandel for you to visit. Here's a few that shouldn't be missed.
Thames and Thames Coast:
There's lots to keep you busy when delving into Thames colourful gold mining history or experiencing our beautiful forests and coastlines.
- If you are after an adrenaline rush, Canyonz is the activity for you. Located inland from Thames in the Kauaeranga Valley Sleeping God Canyon is an unforgettable canyoning adventure that constantly keeps you on edge.
- Experience the local history by taking a tour of the Thames School of Mines & Mineralogical Museum, at the Bella Street Pumphouse and Thames Historical Museum.
- Marvel at the variety of nature at the Butterfly and Orchid Garden, Rapaura Watergardens and Karaka Birdhide.
- Enjoy numerous biking, walking and tramping opportunities on offer on the Hauraki Rail Trail, Kauaeranga Valley, Thames coastal walkway and Rocky's Goldmine Walk.
- One of the most popular overnight tramping tracks in this area is The Pinnacles, located in the Kauaeranga Valley. The Pinnacles climbs through rugged mountain ranges, and the views from the top are nothing short of breathtaking.
- Drive the scenic Thames coastline while exploring the beaches, art galleries and cafes.
- Look out for the majestic Pohutukawa Tree's crimson flowers in full bloom from mid November.
- More than a 100 migratory bird species live around the edge of the Firth of Thames on the Miranda foreshore. Drive past them on your way to Thames.
- Visit Miranda Hot Springs for a therapeutic dip in the hot mineral water.
- Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the Miranda Shorebird Centre.
Whitianga and Mercury Bay:
The beach town of Whitianga makes an excellent base for explorations of Mercury Bay and the adjacent coast.
- At Hot Water Beach you can dig in the sand for hot spring water and make your own spa pool.
- Cathedral Cove is a magical beach framed by a massive natural rock arch.
- Go big game fishing, snorkelling or scuba diving.
- Indulge in a seafood feast at one of Whitianga's restaurants.
- Visit the numerous galleries and artists' studios along the east coast.
- Visit New Zealand's newest thermal hot pools at The Lost Spring.
- Explore the breathtaking volcanic coastline, magnificent sea caves and Cathedral Cove with a local scenic boat operator or kayaking provider.
- Catch the ferry and walk to Shakespeare's Cliff or stop off at some of the local beaches, such as Opito, Otama and Kuaotunu.
Paeroa is an ideal mid-journey stop between Auckland and Tauranga/Rotoroa. The home of the iconic 'Lemon and Paeroa' soft drink, Paeroa offers several fine cafes and some fascinating local attractions.
- Sample Lemon and Paeroa, New Zealand's most popular soft drink. As they say, it's 'world famous in New Zealand'.
- Paeroa is also a good place to shop for antiques. Take home a quaint souvenir.
- Break the journey back to Auckland with a refreshment stop in Ngatea - but make time to check out the water gardens.
- Make Paeroa, Thames or Waihi the starting point for your cycling tour along the Hauraki Rail Trail.
Tairua and Pauanui:
You have the best of both worlds in Tairua and Pauanui - spectacular surf beaches and a tranquil harbour for kayaking, paddle-boarding and family fun.
- Offshore Alderman Islands have big game fishing, snorkelling and diving.
- Discover the Tairua History Trail and walk to the summit of Paku, the volcanic peak that guards the Tairua Harbour.
- At the northern end of the 3km Pauanui Beach a choice of tracks lead you around the coast. Explore excellent fishing spots, beautiful bays or challenge yourself with the hill climb up to the panoramic summit of Mount Pauanui.
Surf's up at Whangamata:
The surf town of Whangamata is lively in summer and lovely the rest of the year. Aim for autumn or spring if you want to avoid the crowds.
- Visit the gifted local artisans on the Whangamata Craft Trail.
- Coromandel Forest Park and Tairua Forest are close by - there are walking tracks galore.
- Opoutere, Onemana and Whiritoa are picturesque holiday beaches.
The gold mines and golden beaches of Waihi:
Waihi town and Waihi Beach are separate destinations, but they're only a short drive apart.
- Learn about goldmining in Waihi at the Gold Discovery Centre.
- Watch the miners digging for gold in Waihi. The town of Waihi is home to the Martha Mine, a fully operational gold and silver mine. View the mine from the viewing platform.
- Guided tours of Martha Mine explain the past, present and future of gold mining.
- At Waihi Beach you'll find 9 kilometres of safe surf beach. Stunning coastal walkways invite you to explore further.
Visit the Waihi Art Market for contemporary and traditional art works.
Deep in the heart of Karangahake Gorge:
The beautiful Ohinemuri River runs through Karangahake Gorge on State Highway 2.
- The gorge is the site of Waihi's 1875 gold rush. Numerous walkways reveal the gold-mining history of the region. Old mine tunnels, stamper battery sites and other mining relics adorn the tracks.
- Take a step back in time and climb on board the Goldfields Vintage Railway, which travels between Waikino and Waihi.
Historic Coromandel Town is a haven for talented artists and craftspeople who are inspired by the tranquil atmosphere and spectacular natural surrounds.
- Arrive by ferry from downtown Auckland after a stunning journey across the Hauraki Gulf, or arrive by road along the picturesque Pohutukawa Coast.
- Indulge in the gourmet homegrown cuisine on offer at the many local restaurants.
- Take in the beauty and solitute of the surrounding coastline with The Coromandel Coastal Walkway, a 7-hour return journey traversing bush, farmland and beaches.
- Visit The Waterworks, an entertaining theme park where whimsical wonders are driven by the power of water.
- Marvel at the impressive Mature Kauri Tree Grove.
- Visit Driving Creek Railway - a remarkable 1 hour trainride on a world-class narrowguage mountain railway featuring engineering marvels and passing through kauri forests.