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Coromandel Peninsula holidays

Things to do

COROMANDEL PENINSULA? NO PROBLEM.

Holidays to the Coromandel Peninsula prove as popular among New Zealanders as they do among globetrotting international tourists. Just two hours from Auckland – either by car or by ferry – this half-tamed wilderness has long been the getaway of choice for locals looking to escape the City of Sails for a few days.

Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean for about 85 kilometres, from the western end of the Bay of Plenty, the Coromandel Peninsula forms a natural barrier between the Hauraki Gulf and the Firth of Thames. It’s bisected by the volcanic Coromandel Range and has two coasts which are markedly different. The east side is home to some of the North Island’s most spectacular white-sand beaches, like those at Cathedral Cove, and is the place to go if you’re keen to try some watersports during your Coromandel Peninsula holiday. The west coast, meanwhile, is far more rugged, and is peppered with picturesque stony bays and historic gold-mining towns. It’s also got a large community of artists and craftspeople – so if you’re looking for a memento to take back home, pop into their studios and you’re sure to find something unique.

When you’re not lazing on the beach, out on the water or shopping for souvenirs, you should find some time during your Coromandel Peninsula holiday to strap on your walking boots and go for a hike. The peninsula’s mountainous spine is criss-crossed with trails, while the Coromandel Coastal Walkway winds its way through pristine bush and rolling farmland, all the while offering spectacular ocean views. And if you’re up for a challenge, the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail – also known as The Pinnacles Track – is one of the best overnight walks in the country.

Holidays to the Coromandel Peninsula aren’t all about being active, though. The region’s geothermal waters allow for relaxing soaks, and foodies are sure to delight in all the fresh seafood on offer. And while the Coromandel’s not one of New Zealand’s famous wine-producing regions, there is a boutique winery over on Mercury Bay, as well as a couple of craft breweries where you can enjoy a cold pint or two.

Things to do

Cathedral Cove

Karangahake Gorge

Best time to go

Things to do on the Coromandel Peninsula

Something of an outdoor playground, you’ll find heaps of activities to keep you occupied during a Coromandel Peninsula holiday. Its golden coastline is packed full of beaches, where you can lay back and top up your tan, or splash about in crystal-clear water. You can also try kayaking, paddle-boarding, surfing, snorkelling or diving. Or, over at Hot Water Beach, you can even attempt to dig your own hot tub. A natural spring runs beneath the sand at this popular east-coast spot, and if you visit two hours either side of low tide you’ll be able to relax in your own pool, metres from the Pacific Ocean. Alternatively, those who aren’t a fan of the do-it-yourself approach can always visit The Lost Spring Geothermal Spa in Whitianga instead.

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Those interested in history can learn about ancient gold mining during their Coromandel Peninsula holiday with a visit to the Gold Discovery Center in Waihi or the Goldmine Experience in Thames. And if you’re into trains, take a ride on the scenic Driving Creek Railway – New Zealand’s only narrow-gauge mountain railway.

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Cathedral Cove

There are loads of beaches you can visit during a Coromandel Peninsula holiday, but Cathedral Cove is probably the most picturesque. Located near Hahei, on the eastern side of the Coromandel, it’s accessed via a lovely clifftop walking track, which then drops down into the cove. Here, a gigantic cathedral-like arch separates two secluded, and completely unspoilt, stretches of white sand. Shady pohutukawa trees line the foreshore, making for an idyllic picnic spot, while a large limestone stack, known as Te Hoho Rock, adds an element of drama to the whole thing. Standing slightly out in the water, it’s long been sculpted by the elements and now resembles the prow of a large ship heading towards the beach.

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The waters around Cathedral Cove are gentle enough for swimming – or you can explore them on a boat cruise or kayak tour. Either way, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for local marine life, including dolphins, seals, whales, penguins and tonnes of colourful fish.

Show More
Show Less

Karangahake Gorge

Sitting pretty at the southern end of the peninsula, this sharply winding canyon was the site of the Coromandel’s first gold rush. It was shaped by the Ohinemuri River and these days it’s one of the major highlights on the Hauraki Rail Trail – a 197-kilometre cycle path that runs along historic railway lines. You can peddle just a short section of the trail or, if you prefer to stay on foot, there are various excellent walks in and around Karangahake Gorge. Whether you opt for an hour-long stroll or a full-day hike, you’ll encounter some pretty epic sights. There’s everything here from swing bridges and sheer cliffs to pitch-black tunnels and old gold-mining relics. There’s even a rusty old tram trolley which still clings to the tracks and makes for a fun photo opportunity. And don’t miss the stunning staircase Owharoa Falls – a popular swimming spot, and also a lovely place to stop for lunch.

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Best time to visit the Coromandel Peninsula

With an oceanic climate, the Coromandel Peninsula enjoys long, warm summers and cool – rather than cold – winters. From December to February, highs are usually in the mid-twenties, although they can occasionally make their way up to around 30°C, so this is the perfect time of year to hit the beach. Just be aware that it’s also when you’ll encounter the biggest crowds. Autumn and spring are slightly cooler, although daytime temperatures are still in the mid-to-high teens. The weather at these times of year is great for outdoor activities like hiking and biking, and you’ll find that most places are quieter than during the peak summer season.

Show More
Show Less

Come June, temperatures drop again. However, even in the middle of winter they rarely get much below 10°C. While it’s not warm enough to lie about on the sand for too long, winter can still be a great time to visit Hot Water Beach and soak in your own private hot pool. Rain on the Coromandel is significant and, while July tends to be the wettest month of the year, a few wet days should be expected whenever you choose to book your Coromandel Peninsula holiday.

Show More
Show Less

Things to do

Things to do on the Coromandel Peninsula

Something of an outdoor playground, you’ll find heaps of activities to keep you occupied during a Coromandel Peninsula holiday. Its golden coastline is packed full of beaches, where you can lay back and top up your tan, or splash about in crystal-clear water. You can also try kayaking, paddle-boarding, surfing, snorkelling or diving. Or, over at Hot Water Beach, you can even attempt to dig your own hot tub. A natural spring runs beneath the sand at this popular east-coast spot, and if you visit two hours either side of low tide you’ll be able to relax in your own pool, metres from the Pacific Ocean. Alternatively, those who aren’t a fan of the do-it-yourself approach can always visit The Lost Spring Geothermal Spa in Whitianga instead.

Show More
Show Less

Those interested in history can learn about ancient gold mining during their Coromandel Peninsula holiday with a visit to the Gold Discovery Center in Waihi or the Goldmine Experience in Thames. And if you’re into trains, take a ride on the scenic Driving Creek Railway – New Zealand’s only narrow-gauge mountain railway.

Show More
Show Less

Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

There are loads of beaches you can visit during a Coromandel Peninsula holiday, but Cathedral Cove is probably the most picturesque. Located near Hahei, on the eastern side of the Coromandel, it’s accessed via a lovely clifftop walking track, which then drops down into the cove. Here, a gigantic cathedral-like arch separates two secluded, and completely unspoilt, stretches of white sand. Shady pohutukawa trees line the foreshore, making for an idyllic picnic spot, while a large limestone stack, known as Te Hoho Rock, adds an element of drama to the whole thing. Standing slightly out in the water, it’s long been sculpted by the elements and now resembles the prow of a large ship heading towards the beach.

Show More
Show Less

The waters around Cathedral Cove are gentle enough for swimming – or you can explore them on a boat cruise or kayak tour. Either way, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for local marine life, including dolphins, seals, whales, penguins and tonnes of colourful fish.

Show More
Show Less

Karangahake Gorge

Karangahake Gorge

Sitting pretty at the southern end of the peninsula, this sharply winding canyon was the site of the Coromandel’s first gold rush. It was shaped by the Ohinemuri River and these days it’s one of the major highlights on the Hauraki Rail Trail – a 197-kilometre cycle path that runs along historic railway lines. You can peddle just a short section of the trail or, if you prefer to stay on foot, there are various excellent walks in and around Karangahake Gorge. Whether you opt for an hour-long stroll or a full-day hike, you’ll encounter some pretty epic sights. There’s everything here from swing bridges and sheer cliffs to pitch-black tunnels and old gold-mining relics. There’s even a rusty old tram trolley which still clings to the tracks and makes for a fun photo opportunity. And don’t miss the stunning staircase Owharoa Falls – a popular swimming spot, and also a lovely place to stop for lunch.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to visit the Coromandel Peninsula

With an oceanic climate, the Coromandel Peninsula enjoys long, warm summers and cool – rather than cold – winters. From December to February, highs are usually in the mid-twenties, although they can occasionally make their way up to around 30°C, so this is the perfect time of year to hit the beach. Just be aware that it’s also when you’ll encounter the biggest crowds. Autumn and spring are slightly cooler, although daytime temperatures are still in the mid-to-high teens. The weather at these times of year is great for outdoor activities like hiking and biking, and you’ll find that most places are quieter than during the peak summer season.

Show More
Show Less

Come June, temperatures drop again. However, even in the middle of winter they rarely get much below 10°C. While it’s not warm enough to lie about on the sand for too long, winter can still be a great time to visit Hot Water Beach and soak in your own private hot pool. Rain on the Coromandel is significant and, while July tends to be the wettest month of the year, a few wet days should be expected whenever you choose to book your Coromandel Peninsula holiday.

Show More
Show Less

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