The Coromandel’s sub-tropical native rain forest offers a myriad of walking tracks and trails for hikers of all ages and abilities. A guided bush tour offers the opportunity to discover an untouched natural wonderland, unknown to many.
Full day: Flora and Fauna in the Puketui Valley
Kiwi Dundee Adventures offers world class guided walks and hiking tours and their One Day Wilderness Adventure Walk will soon become your standout holiday highlight. Near Tairua & Pauanui, you can explore Puketui Valley. What was a gold mining town in the 1890’s is now a regenerating ferny forest replete with historic mining tunnels and relics. Walk alongside crystalline rock pools, ancient Kauri and Rata trees and the sparkling Tairua River as you marvel at sheer volcanic rock walls rising 200metres skyward from the river below. Kiwi Dundee Adventures will show you the secret spots where glow worms dwell, and help you identify the singular notes of a diverse choir of native birdsong echoing throughout the valley.
Heading north of Puketui Valley make time to stop off at Heaven and Earth in Tairua, New Zealand’s Most Amazing Gallery of Crystals, Minerals, Gems, Jewellery, Art, Books, Gifts, Fossils, Geodes & More. Flock Kitchen and Bar is a great stop for divine refreshment as is Manaia Cafe across the Road. If time permits we suggest heading next door to check out The Little Gallery, a perfect gift stop for that someone special.
Full day: Bush and Heritage in Southern Coromandel
Another wonderful hiking area between the Southern Coromandel towns of Waihi and Paeroa is Karangahake Gorge. Home to a spectacular regenerating forest and hiker’s paradise, it is an absolute-must for any nature enthusiast. The gorge is filled with old gold mining relics which stand alongside massive Mamaku ferns, swift streams, the stunning stairacase Owharoa Falls and vast rock faces. Hiking the trails of Karangahake Gorge offers a glimpse into the dramatic nature of the area’s landscape and history. Up in the hills behind the village of Karangahake at Bullswool Farm Park, is the Bush Discovery Trail. Here you will earn about native birds and trees, and also visit their Museum, which tells the story of the Southern Coromandel's early Kauri and mining heritage.
The Falls Retreat, just near the Owharoa Falls offer a superb dining experience and the Waikino Hotel and the Waikino Station Cafe provide great lunch options. Within a sort distance a meander through the Victoria Battery, a lovely way to spend the afternoon or catch the Goldfields Railway into Waihi before exploring the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre.
A day in the Marine Reserve
Te-Whanganui o Hei Marine Reserve is a protected marine area of 9 square kilometres of coastline and outlying islands off Cathedral Cove on the Mercury Bay. Only accessible by boat, kayak or foot, a day spent experiencing the rich and varied habitats of Te Whanganui-O-Hei offers unlimited opportunity for learning, fun and adventure. A scenic tour by boat will bring you up close and personal with the reefs, caves and bays of the marine reserve. The one hour scenic tour with Hahei Explorer (which departs from the beach at Hahei) seats just ten passengers, making it ideal for family groups and those who appreciate a personalised tour experience.
Tours departing from Whitianga include Cathedral Cove Scenic Cruises, Cave Cruzer Adventure Tours, Sea Cave Adventures, Ocean Leopard Tours and The Glass Bottom Boat who all operate daily tours of the coves, caves and coastline of Te-Whanganui-o-Hei, the marine reserve. Te-Whanganui-o-Hei has its own snorkel trail at Gemstone Bay; designed to help people experience the amazing marine life from under the water. Suitable for snorkelers of all ages, the trail includes information buoys with handles attached for snorkelers to hold on to. Cave Cruzer Adventure Tours and The Glass Bottom Boat both offer the opportunity to snorkel and swim during your excursion.
Cathedral Cove Dive and Snorkel and Dive Zone both offer guided snorkel and dive trips every day throughout the summer season. Experience breathtaking underwater subtropical scenery with experienced guides taking you to the best dive spots in the reefs, bays and islands of the Reserve and further off the coast.
Cathedral Cove Kayak Tours offer a terrific way to discover Te-Whanganui-o-Hei if you prefer to be a participant rather than a spectator. Paddle through sea caves, interact with marine life and pull up at Cathedral Cove where your guide will make you a well-earned hot cappuccino while you explore the famous stretch of beach.
Land-lovers can still experience the majesty of the marine reserve on an easy walking track to Cathedral Cove, Gemstone and Stingray Bays. The main track is 2.5km and takes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes return. There is also a walking track from the western end of Hahei beach up to Cathedral Cove car park to connect with the track to Cathedral Cove. Allow an extra 20–30 minutes for this walk.
Cathedral Cove Water Taxi provides a ferry service between Hahei and Cathedral Cove, every 30 minutes over summer. The journey takes 10 minutes and is bound to be the one of the most picturesque taxi rides you’re ever likely to take.
While in Hahei enjoy a visit to The Coromandel Brewing Company, a boutique brewery making local craft beers to wash down some local seafood and delicious wood-fired oven pizza. Cathedral Cove Macadamias is just up Lees Road where you can take in the beautiful surroundings on a stroll around the orchard. Visit the orchard shop to purchase a range of Macadamia Products and seasonal produce. A short drive back out to the main highway will take you Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own spa right on the beach. Hot Waves Cafe and Hotties are cafes well worth the stop for lunch.
Full day: The remote Northern Coromandel
Feeling the pull of nature’s trails, Coromandel Adventures will put you in the picture of one of New Zealand’s most majestic groves of giant Kauri. Departing from Coromandel Town, their Guided Kauri Forest Experience can be completed in less than half a day. Footbridges and walkways provide access right into the heart of the Coromandel’s stunning Kauri Grove. It makes an easy and achievable hike for most people. See the majestic Kauri trees for yourself and listen to local guides share the important story and history of the spectacular giant of the New Zealand native forest.
Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat is the place to go if all you wish to hear is the sound of birds and the breeze through the tress. Home to over 50 wild kiwi, Tangiaro also offers Kiwi experiences walks.
If time permits you might also like to head into Coromandel Town for a visit through the 1.6-hectare predator free fenced wildlife sanctuary and sculpture park at Driving Creek or take a night barbecue glowworm tour (in summer only).
While in Coromandel Town you might also enjoy a visit to The Waterworks and we suggest you grab a bite to eat at The Mussel Kitchen, Coromandel Oyster Company or Peppertree Restaurant.
For those with with more time, head right to the top of the peninsula and navigate the Coromandel Coastal Walkway, a full day coastal walk. Or better still, take a tour with Hike and Bike, and let your guide drive you up the spectacular (but narrow) coast road and set you on your way.
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