The Coromandel is a popular destination for kiwi’s in summer with stunning unspoiled beaches, clear turquoise waters, native rainforests and laid back vibe, but there are also some great experiences you can still do in winter. Book your rental car online or give us a call for your next Coromandel roadtrip.
This “must visit” location is located close to Hahei. There are several scenic tracks on land adjacent to the reserve, including the 1.5hr return walk, which give walking access to Gemstone Bay, Mare’s Leg and Cathedral Cove. The best way to experience Cathedral Cove and to discover the volcanic coastline from which it is formed, is to approach on the water, by boat or by kayak.
The Karangahake Gorge is located between the Coromandel and Kaimai Ranges near Waihi. The Karangahake Gorge historic walkway follows the old Paeroa to Waihi railway line with the remainder of the track following the banks of the Ohinemuri River. Old mine buildings and machinery can be seen from a number of locations on the walkway. There are a range of walking options from short walks to full day hikes, venture into old tunnels and discover the gold mining history hidden in the gorge.
Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary
Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as Donut Island and located in Whangamata. The island is 600 metres off the coast and has a turquoise lagoon in the centre and surrounded by native bush, Whenuakura is an ancient volcano that has eroded over time. Accessible through a cave by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. You are not allowed to step onto the Island as it is a wildlife sanctuary and “Tapu” meaning sacred in Maori.
The Coromandel Walkway takes you along the Northern part of the Coromandel Penninsula. Take in the stunning sights of along the path which runs along the coastline, the walk takes about 3.5 hours and is about 10km in each direction. Starting at either Stony Bay or Fletcher Bay, you will cross through farmland and coastal bush where you can peer down the cliffs to sparkling blue water below.
The Pinnacles Walk follows the original steps constructed for packhorses which carried supplies for kauri loggers, gum diggers and gold miners who plundered the area in the early 1900’s. This stunning 3 hour walk to the base of the craggy Pinnacles winds it’s way through groves of nikau palms, huge rata trees, and across streams and swingbridges. You can stay overnight at the 80 bed DOC hut, so you can get up early the next day to climb The Pinnacles for 360-degree views of the Coromandel. Allow an extra 40 minutes one way from the Hut to the sumit of The Pinnacles. On the return walk you can follow the Billygoat tramline which also transported logs from the hills, past the Short Trestle and Billygoat falls before emerging back at the Kaueranga River.
The Seabird Coast located between Kaiaua and Miranda is an excellent place to see some of New Zealand’s birdlife including Godwits and Wrybills. The vast salt marshes attract thousands of migratory birds along the white shell chenier shoreline. The Shorebird Centre is a great place to learn about these international travellers, and the bird hide at the Robert Findlay Wildlife Reserve is a great place to view them.
Driving Creek Railway in Coromandel Town is a narrow gauge train journey through regenerating forest with pottery sculptures and tile murals lining the track. Up the “Eyeful Tower” lookout you can enjoy views over the Hauraki Gulf and Islands. This train journey takes about an hour and fifteen minutes, while you are at Driving Creek take an optional Zipline or Conservation tour.
Take a nostalgic ride on a heritage railway through beautiful farmland between Waihi and Waikino at the eastern end of the spectacular Karangahake Gorge. Experience a section of what used to be known as the East Coast Main Trunk Line which stretched from Auckland to Taneatua south of Te Puke. Enjoy an area rich in history, including historic goldmining which shaped much of this part of the Southern Coromandel. This round trip takes about an hour.
Soak in Geothermal Waters
Enjoy a soak in one of the hot pools in the Coromandel. Try The Lost Spring in Whitianga which is a luxury day spa and Geothermal pools. Relax amongst a tropical setting as you soak in the 16,000 year old mineral spring waters while you sip a cocktail. Unwind with a massage or treatment in one of the tree-top therapy rooms, then grab a bite to eat poolside in the restaurant.
Hot Water Beach
Grab a spade and dig your own spa pool at Hot Water beach, where an underground river of hot water flows from the interior of the earth to surface in the Pacific Ocean. Make sure you check the tides as this can only be done two hours each side of low tide. Hot Water beach is often referred to as one of the best beaches in the Coromandel, and this is a unique activity that everyone should experience.
Learn about gold-mining history
Discover New Zealands rich gold mining history in Waihi which is the richest gold mine in the country and still operates today. The Waihi Gold Discovery centre allows a hands on experience with modern gold mining techniques. Take a deep dive into a gold mine or walk around the pit rim.
Explore an operational 19th century Stamper Battery and venture into one of the richest goldmines of the time at the Goldmine Experience in Thames, a photographic museum with mining relics, steam powered machines and you can even have a go at gold panning.
Many relics of The Coromandel’s goldmining history are still evident today, such as the Victoria Battery at Waikino, the Crown Mine at Karangahake, and The School of Mines in Thames.
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