Discover the relics and stories of those who came before, and come away with a deeper understanding of the people and this place.

There is a strong sense of standing on the shoulders of those who came before in the Hauraki Coromandel area. From Maori fortified village sites to Thames’ old-world charm, to the Karangahake Gorge’s mining relics, there is a strong connection to the past and it’s people.

Being rich in resources and with easy access by sea and river, the islands of the region were likely some of the first points of landfall for early Polynesian adventurers. With the sheltered bays of the Hauraki Gulf, wide waterways and hidden coves, the fertile plains and dense forests sustained many small communities, as they do today.  The mountains and valleys of the region secrete a long line of sought after materials, from obsidian for tools and weapons, tall trees for timber and gum to the dull ore that attracted later comers.

The Coromandel was once a booming mining settlement, prosperous for gold and kauri gum.  People of many cultures flocked to the area to seek their fortunes, and lasting relics of this mining past serve as potent reminders of this time.  Times and attitudes have since changed, yet that feisty “can do” spirit remains a core Coromandel value.  There is true grit and challenge embodied in the landscapes.  It’s as if the mountains and ravines are testing the inhabitants to rise to meet the challenges posed by the rugged terrain.  Do with it what you will – if you dare!

The Coromandel has a proud and sobering heritage, and like all good stories, there are many chapters and perspectives to the region’s mining history, from boom to bust, to rebuild. Find out about the people who dared to be different. Discover and learn from their stories. This can be done in many ways – from visiting Waihi to exploring the Karangahake Gorge and the Puketui Valley.  Walk in the footsteps of those who shaped the destiny of the region.