Coromandel Scenic Highlights
Rustic and unspoiled, in Coromandel, New Zealand you can experience the blue dazzle of the Pacific Ocean and calming greenness of the kauri forest in the same day.
Coromandel Scenic Highlights Overview
The Coromandel's landscapes are hugely varied—from the dead flat Hauraki Plains to the rugged peaks of the ranges; from the crashing surf of the east coast to the tranquil bays on the Firth of Thames.
Catch the Ferry to the Beaches of Cook's Coast
From Whitianga Wharf you can catch a ferry to the Stone Steps Wharf, the start of Cook's Coast. Front Beach, Flaxmill Bay, Shakespeare Cliff, Lonely Bay and Cooks Beach are all within easy reach. At the base of Shakespeare Cliff to the south is Flaxmill or Homestead Bay. Providing sheltered anchorage for small boats, a Flaxmill Bay once had a mill operating on its foreshore. It was here that Captain Cook was said to have careened the Endeavour.
To the south side of the bluff are Lonely Bay and Cooks Beach. Lonely Bay is a small bay cut off by cliffs and totally unspoilt—it's accessible only from the Cook Memorial via a short steep walking track.
Dig Your Own Spa at Hot Water Beach
Hot Water Beach is as good as its name. Hot pools can be dug out of the sand at low tide near the rocks and in places where steam can be seen rising from the open sea at high tide. Volcanic activity is no longer prevalent on the Coromandel Peninsula—the hot mineral pools are a legacy of an exciting geothermal past. Hot Water Beach is also known as a good surfing spot.
Bush, Birds and Views of Thames
While you're in Thames, look for Rocky's Goldmine Trail—a three hour bush walk. Take Victoria Street to Dickson Holiday Park where the walk starts. You'll see excellent views of the Firth of Thames, regenerating native forest and swimming holes.
To spy on the local bird life, find the Karaka Bird Hide by the Goldfields Shopping Mall, Brown Street. Take the board walk through the mangroves to the Hide, where you can sit and watch birds in the Thames Firth. The War Memorial Monument at the top of Waiotahi Creek Road offers great views of Thames township.
There's no better way to see the Kauaeranga Valley than to go by mountain bike. The road follows the Kauaeranga River, passing a couple of excellent swimming spots on the way. You can also cycle up the coast road to the Square Kauri Tree, one of the largest and oldest on the Coromandel Peninsula. This tree is located on the road between Tapu and Coroglen, about two hours ride from Thames.
Kauaeranga Valley - Mountain Biking
There's no better way to see the Kauaeranga Valley than to go by mountain bike.
The road follows the Kauaeranga River, passing a couple of excellent swimming spots on the way. You can also cycle up the coast road to the Square Kauri Tree, one of the largest and oldest on the Coromandel Peninsula. This tree is located on the road between Tapu and Coroglen, about two hours ride from Thames. This cycle is for the experienced cyclist.
Wentworth Valley Waterfall
Wentworth Valley offers several walks—the old mines walk (30 minutes), the five hour walk—Maratoto-Wentworth, or the ever-popular walk to the waterfall (two hours). This walk follows a well-maintained track that meanders beside a stream.
You have to cross the stream a couple of times (it's only ankle deep) before you reach the viewing platform, but the spectacular waterfall is well worth the effort!
The Beach World of Hahei and Cathedral Cove
Hahei is an attractive beach fringed with pohutukawas and drifts of pink shells at the northern end. Offshore islands provide a breakwater for ideal swimming, boating and fishing.
To get to Cathedral Cove, you'll need to take a hike. The Cathedral is a gigantic arched cavern that penetrates the headland between two coves. It gives an air of grandeur to the whole of the beach. The headland is the site of an ancient Māori pa (fortified village). The beach is sandy with a pohutukawa backdrop—a perfect place for a picnic followed by a swim.
Offshore a little way is a large pinnacle of pumice breccia known as "Te Hoho". Delicately sculptured by wind and water to form a most impressive and unusual sight, it looks a bit like the prow of a large ship steaming into the beach.
Useful Coromandel Links
To help plan your Coromandel holiday choose from the main categories below:
- Coromandel Accommodation
- Coromandel Tours
- Coromandel Attractions and Activities
- Coromandel Transport
- Coromandel Dining
- Coromandel Shopping
- Coromandel Visitor Information
Coromandel Region Information
Key information and facts about the Coromandel region.
Major activities and attractions in the Coromandel region.