Holidaying in the Coromandel

If you’re visiting New Zealand’s North Island and looking for a holiday destination with a relaxed costal vibe, pristine beaches and natural wonders aplenty, look no further than the Coromandel Peninsula. Located approximately 2.5 hour drive from Auckland or a glorious 2 hour ferry ride across the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, the Coromandel showcases the very best of New Zealand’s contrasting geographical splendour.

Explore the best of the Coromandel with these five must-do experiences.

Kayak Cathedral Cove

Located a short distance from the village town of Hahei and only accessible by kayak, boat or walking trail, Cathedral Cove is one of the Coromandel’s most popular attractions.  Named for the cathedral-like tunnel that leads to Mare’s Leg Cove and showcasing some of the Coromandel’s most beautiful and secluded coastline, Cathedral Cove is also a place steeped in Maori significance and is known to the local indigenous people as te-whanganui-a-hei (The Great Bay of Hei).  Experience the jewel in the Coromandel’s crown from a unique perspective with a kayak tour and view the marine reserve just offshore, which is home to seals, dolphins and an abundant array of colourful fish.

Snorkel in the Orua Cave

Located close to Cathedral Cove is the stunning Orua Cave, famed as New Zealand’s second largest sea cave and accessible by a number of boat tours which depart from Whitianga and cruise along the eastern volcanic Coromandel coastline,. Visitors can marvel at the cave’s spectactular acoustic effects and bath in slithers of sunlight that make their way through small spaces in the cavernous roof before experiencing the cave's underwater beauty with a snorkel or a swim.

Discover New Chum Beach

Wainuiototo Bay on the northeast coast of the Coromandel Peninsula is home to New Chum Beach, a protected reserve which is regularly voted as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The beach is considered a must-see for visitors and New Zealand natives alike but despite its popularity, New Chum (otherwise known as Wainuiototo Bay) remains a true ‘hidden gem’ with no buildings, roads or infrastructure. The beach can be accessed via Whangapoua on the Coromandel’s east coast; visitors are encouraged to check tide times, surf and beach conditions before setting out on the 30-40 minute walk to the bay.

Hike the Pinnacles

Explore the rugged forest of the Pinnacles on foot with a walking adventure on the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail. The trail takes hikers through the stunning Kauaeranga Valley, located up river from Thames and can be done by fit walkers in a day. Summit the Pinnacles and be regaled by 360 degree views of the Coromandel. For those looking to immerse themselves in one of New Zealand’s most popular hiking terrains, overnight hiking tours are also available with the Pinnacles Hut offering a place to take stock and appreciate the stunning valley sunrises and sunsets.

Climb Mt Paku

Located in the town of Tairua on the eastern side of the Coromandel Penninsula, the volcanic peak of Mt Paku offers visitors the opportunity to experience stunning views of the Coromandel while taking in an abundant array of stunning native flora and fauna. A small, separate island connected to the peninsula by a small land bridge, the summit is accessible via a short, steep walk from the southern end of Tairua Beach and is suitable for people of most fitness levels.

Words by Rebecca Walker. Title image courtesy of Pixabay, in-article images courtesy of Maryann Turner and Pixabay - Published 31 March 2019
Quick Facts 
Population 1.415 million
Area 1,086 km2
Time Zone GMT +12
Languages English (official)
Currency New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Electricity 220 – 240v 50Hz
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