Cathedral Cove, photo credit Andy Belcher and Tourism New Zealand

The Coromandel, New Zealanders favourite destination, is within an hours drive of the major centres of Auckland and Hamilton and their International Airports and yet the region is a world away from the hustle and bustle of those cities. Fabulous golden and white sand beaches with magnificent coastal scenery, a rugged, forest cloaked interior waiting to be explored are just some of the natural attractions that have people returning to The Coromandel time after time. Framed by native Pohutukawa trees on the western side, beautiful white sandy beaches on the east and divided by ranges cloaked in native rainforest, the Coromandel's 400kms of coastline offers the visitor a truly distinctive blend of experiences. A walkers paradise with a range of trails to explore, from short coastal walkways to multi day treks, the region will delight you at every turn. Go for a swim, take a launch trip, sea kayak, be fascinated by the amazing seascapes of our marine reserves, visit an artists studio or reflect in one of our museums on the heritage of a region first discovered by the two great navigators, Kupe and Cook. Evidence of some of the earliest Polynesian settlement in New Zealand exists on the Coromandel.

Historical interest points exist around every corner, telling the stories of the two great navigators Kupe and Cook and those who followed in their footsteps. Captain Cook visited the area in 1769 and observed the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun hence the names of some of the region's beaches and bays - Mercury Bay and Cook's Beach. In the nineteenth century the peninsula teemed with human activity associated with the exploitation of timber, gold and kauri gum. Eventually the kauri and the accessible gold were exhausted and the gum market destroyed. The Coromandel lapsed into an economic and social decline that was eventually halted by the gradual growth of farming, fishing, horticulture and tourism. The land slowly "mended" and a new era of people moved into the area, one that valued the environment. Thirty four percent of the land on the peninsula is now administered by the Department of Conservation.

Scenic Highlights:

Hot Water Beach: Some volcanoes develop huge underground reservoirs of superheated water. Over time, this water will escape to the surface — cooling on the way. There are two fissures at Hot Water Beach issuing water as hot as 64?C (147?F) at a rate as high as 15 litres/minute. This water contains large amounts of salt (NOT salt water), calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluorine, bromine and silica. There are other hot water springs nearby but the location of these two springs on the beach make them unique. The hot springs are only accessible at low tide, however more often than not two hours each side of low tide, will still provide you with an opportunity to dig your own spa. Spades are available for hire at a local store

Cathedral Cove Walk: There are several scenic tracks on land adjacent to the reserve, including the 2hr return walk to Cathedral Cove track, which gives access to Gemstone Bay, Mares Leg and Cathedral Cove. Foot access to the Cathedral Cove car park is at the western end of Hahei Beach and vehicle access is up Grange Road (turn left past shops and go all the way to end of Grange Road).

Thames Coast: A scenic drive along the Pohutukawa coast offers beaches, and the Rapaura Water gardens at Tapu. There are also many bush walks in the area. Contact the Information Centre or Dept of Conservation to find out more. Totara Pa - a stronghold site for Ngati Maru tribe, who were defeated by Hongi Hika in 1821. The cemetery features the grave of Hotereni Taipari who opened Thames up for mining.

Activities:

- Visit Hot Water beach and dig your own Jacuzzi!
- Cathedral Cove - Accessible only on foot or by boat, famous Cathedral Cove is one of the “must visit” sites on the Coromandel Peninsula.
- Visit the many art and craft galleries the peninsula has to offer from fine art to wood carvings
- Go for a ride on the Driving Creek Railway and soak in the stunning views along the way
- Try the trapeze and other daring stunts at High Zone Adventure in Whitianga
- Walk along the many scenic walking tracks and coastal walking trails the Coromandel has to offer
- Take a coastal journey by mountain bike
- Walk the fascinating old Paeroa to Waihi railway line, around Karangahake Gorge
- Mercury Bay Museum - located in the old Dairy Factory, the museum offers fascinating relics from the areas past.
- Swim in the many beaches and coves along the Coromandel coastline.
- View the fantastic marine life that is abundant in the Peninsula by going diving or snorkeling
- Go canyoning in some of New Zealand’s most spectacular rain forests, jumping, abseiling or go sliding down a giant cascading set of waterfalls
- Or just sit back, unwind and relax in this wonderful coastal treasure of New Zealand.