The Coromandel Peninsula is an outdoor recreation wonderland that extends 85-kilometres off the west end of the North Island of New Zealand. At the broadest point, the peninsula is 40 kilometres wide. On a clear day, you can see the peninsula from Auckland, which is 55 kilometres to the west.
The peninsula gets is name from the HMS Coromandel, which was the first European boat to dock at what is now Coromandel Harbour in 1820. The sailors aboard the ship were hoping to trade for kauri spars.
The peninsula is steep and hilly and is mostly covered in lush temperate rainforest. The spine of the peninsula, the Coromandel Range, rises to nearly 900 metres at its highest point. Despite the peninsula’s close proximity to large population centres in Auckland and Tauranga, it is rugged nature has allowed the central and northern portions to remain largely undeveloped.
In fact, there are only five towns on the peninsula that have populations of over 1,000 people, Coromandel Township, Whitianga, Thames, Tairua, an Whangamata. Much of the interior of the peninsula is covered by a lush forest park. The Coromandel Peninsula has long been a desirable home for those in search of an environmentally friendly, back to the land movement type lifestyle.
In the 1970s, devotees of the counterculture lifestyle flocked to the peninsula. This remains the case, however it has also become increasingly common for affluent Aucklander’s to move to the peninsula.
What to Do – Coromandel Peninsula
As one of the country’s most stunning regions, there are a number of different attractions for visitors to the area. The coastline circumventing the peninsula is home countless beaches, bays, and other secluded areas that are perfect for any number of things. Anglers will enjoy the abundant fishing in the waters around the peninsula.
There are a number of wonderful fishing spots that visitors can travel to by themselves. If you are looking for more guidance and want to get a bit farther offshore, there are also a number of charters available that will take visitors to some of the best fishing locations in the area.
If you are looking for a great beach, the Coromandel Peninsula has you covered there too. Between Waitete Bay, Opoutere Beach, Cathedral Cove, Tairua Beach, Waihi Beach, Long Bay Whangamata Beach, Oamaru Bay, Waikawau Beach, and McGregor’s Bay, and that list doesn’t even cover all of them, the Coromandel Peninsula provides visitors with numerous wonderful coastal areas.
Whether you want to swim, fish, kayak, surf, relax on the beach, enjoy a nice coastal walk, or just take in a stunning view, there is a beach on the peninsula that will provide you with exactly what you are looking for, and more! Many of the coastal areas provide adventures and excursions as well, such as boat trips or cave explorations.
The Coromandel Peninsula is more than just a bunch of beaches though.
There is also the beautiful and enchanting forested interior area as well as the quaint townships along the way. Some of the townships are home to fascinating historical relics of years gone by, such as the Cornish Pump House and Victoria Battery, among others.
The Cornish Pump House is a remaining part of the original mine in Waihi, which was the richest gold mine in New Zealand in 1878-1952. Victoria Battery was constructed on the south bank of the Ohinemuri River to process ore from the Waihi mine.
There is also the Tairua History Trail, which is great for both history enthusiasts as well as those looking for a different and interesting walking experience. Tairua is a township with a rich and fascinating history and one of the best ways to explore the township and learn about that history is on the Tairua History Trail.
Of course if history is not for you, there are a number of other ways visitors can enjoy the inland portions of the Coromandel Peninsula. The forest and hills are lined with a wonderful network of walking trails that are suitable for all ability levels. These trails will take visitors through all of the most beautiful parts of the interior of the peninsula as well as take visitors to some of the best viewpoints on Coromandel, such as the top of Mount Paku.
From the top of Mount Paku near Tairua, visitors will be able to see over the towns of Tairua and Pauanui, the estuary, the coastline, and the offshore islands north of the peninsula.
The Coromandel Peninsula is also home to the very popular Pinnacles walking track. This 12 kilometre track can be done in one or two days.
It follows steps originally constructed in the early 1900s for packhorses transporting goods through the forest. The track has a rich history from the area’s kauri logging, gum digging, and gold mining days.
There are also a number of different ways to enjoy the peninsula from above or to enjoy the pristine starry skies above, for those looking for a different activity on their holiday. There are a number of helicopter companies that offer areal tours of the Coromandel.
If you can afford it, this is a truly breathtaking way to take in the island. There are also a number of nighttime stargazing tours that allow visitors to enjoy the beautiful star filled skies the Coromandel enjoys.
Where to Stay – Coromandel Peninsula
The Coromandel Peninsula is filled with a number of unique accommodation options. Campers will enjoy the many campsites dotting the peninsula. If you are looking for a rugged holiday, these campgrounds are the perfect way to take in the wondrous beauty of the peninsula’s natural area. If you are looking for a bit more comfort than a camping trip, the towns along the Coromandel provide a number of hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and self-contained rentals as well.
Travelling from Abroad?
Travellers from abroad will find it very easy to travel to the Coromandel Peninsula. It is located only 55 kilometres west of Auckland, the capital and the largest city in New Zealand. Auckland is home to a large international airport that is serviced by a number of different international destinations, making it an easy transit point for those wanting to visit the Coromandel from abroad.