Welcome to Coromandel
The Coromandel Peninsula, with a population of 27,000, is one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations. Just an hour and a half drive from Auckland, the region stretches from the southern towns of Te Aroha and Katikati, through Thames and down the eastern side of the peninsula to Waihi. Coromandel is one of the last few unspoiled destinations, offering a relaxed lifestyle with its white, sandy beaches on the eastern side and on the western side the steep hills and the beautiful, native pohutukawa trees which flower in December. The eastern and western sides of the peninsula are divided by native rainforest with volcanic hills. The coasts of the Coromandel are waiting to be explored, whether it’s by glass bottom boat, diving, snorkeling or just swimming in the crystal clear waters. There are plenty of walks, whether you take a guided tour or find your own way. The Coromandel was the first recorded location of gold being discovered and there are plenty of mining relics to be seen, and even gold to be panned in its 100 year old gold processing museum.
Thames is known as the gateway to the Coromandel, and most of the region is within one to one and a half hours’ drive of the town. Visit historic Grahamstown in the north of Thames with its colourful and entertaining market every Saturday or the Butterfly and Orchid House which has butterflies from all over the world.
Located at the base of the peninsula and on the Pacific Coast Highway, Waihi is situated between Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty. Waihi boasts one of the safest surf beaches in New Zealand with its nine kilometres of beautiful, white sand, surf and sea fishing.
Whitianga and the Hot Water Beach
On the east coast of the Coromandel is Whitianga, the main town of Mercury Bay. Named by Captain Cook, the bay boasts the famous Hot Water Beach -a truly unique Kiwi experience that every New Zealander should experience at least once in their lifetime!
How it works…an underground river of hot water flows from the interior of the earth to the surface in the Pacific Ocean at Hot Water Beach – a long beautiful white beach located between Tairua and Whitianga.
Two hours either side of low tide visitors flock to the usually deserted Hot Water Beach to find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. Families, kids and couples can be seen digging their own spa pool in the sand to lie back in and relax while the steam from their hot pool envelops them. With the ebb and flow of the tide each individually created hot pool is washed away clearing the way for the next influx of visitors.
Famous for being the home of L&P (Lemon and Paeroa soft drink) this country town is situated on the edge of the Waihou River with the Ohinemuri River running through its centre. The L& P café is a great place to stop for a bite to eat and to buy some L&P souvenirs. The Bullswool Farm Park in Paerora has animals for the children to meet and pet and, if you are in Paerora in February, check out the Coromandel’s answer to The Edinburgh Tattoo at their Highland Games and Tattoo at the Paerora Domain.