The Not So Famous 5.
The Coromandel is known as Kiwi’s favourite holiday destination because of its natural attractions such as Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove, New Chum, The Pinnacles and Karangahake Gorge. A mix of seaside and heritage towns adds to the holiday atmosphere that makes this region so popular. Being so close to Auckland, Hamilton and Rotorua makes it an easy place to escape to. Iconic attractions aside, The Coromandel also has its fair share of lesser-known gems.
1. Paeroa, Antiques Capital of New Zealand
Paeroa has long been known as the town that’s world famous in New Zealand. Over the years it’s also established itself as the antiques capital of the country and is a treasure trove for those in search of something other than a photo next to the giant L &P bottle. Paeroa is in the middle of the section of the Hauraki Rail Trail that travels from Thames to Waihi and Te Aroha.
2. Offshore Islands, Whangamatā
Beautiful beaches, consistent surf, the Wentworth Valley bush walks and Beach Hop are just some of the attractions that contribute to Whangamatā’s popularity.
Most of Whangamatā's offshore islands are part of a Wildlife Sanctuary and must be respected as such. However, paddling around these islands makes for a great adventure in one of New Zealand's favourite playgrounds. Please note Whenuakura (or Donut Island) must not be landed upon, as preservation of this island is the priority.
Whenuakura Island, or Donut Island to the locals, has gained iconic status alongside other regional attractions like Hot Water Beach. A short paddle-board or kayak to Donut Island will be rewarded with scenes that inspire the imagination. A castaway or pirate would feel at home in the secluded serenity of in the heart of this island.
3. Port Jackson
Coromandel Town is an attraction in itself, however if you've headed up that way you should consider getting further off the beaten track and heading to Port Jackson. Along the way you might experience a Coromandel traffic jam with sheep, cattle and friendly farmers wandering the gravel roads. The further north you go the more intrepid you’ll feel and the more impressive the pohutukawa lined roads and crystal clear waters will get. Plan ahead if you want to stay the night in a peaceful campground or fishing lodge when visiting.
4. Coromandel Town
Just an hours drive north of Thames lies the peaceful Coromandel harbour and the historic township. Many of the buildings date back to the goldming era and the main street has the feel of many rural towns before the modern era. Home to mnay creative types the town has galleries and studios for you to browse. The seasonal ferry journey directly between Auckland and Coromandel Town is a great way to enjoy a leisurely journey without having to drive. The Coromandel harbour has many islands, and you will see some signs of the mussel farms in the wider Hauraki Gulf. The bounty of the sea can be enjoyed in Coromandel Town and your appetite replenished with homegrown dining from award-winning cafes and restaurants.
5. Fish and Chips on the Shorebird Coast
The typical route between Auckland and the Coromandel is via SH2 and the motorway. A recommended alternative is to cruise the Pacific Coast Highway which takes in the Shorebird Coast and rural plains. Stop off at the Miranda Holiday Park for a swim in the hot pools before tucking into the fresh fish and chips in Kaiaua.