The Coromandel Peninsula is a paradise located around two hours from Auckland. It is a popular tourist destination in New Zealand, known for its beautiful beaches, misty forests, and a laid-back atmosphere. It’s also the home of New Zealand’s most famous mascot, the Kiwi. The Coromandel boasts hundreds of hideaways, making it an ideal place to unwind especially if you’re not a fan of crowded places. And thanks to its coastal position, the Coromandel is perfect for those who like fishing, surfing, diving, swimming, or wandering along beaches. Plus, you may also hike the forest routes in the hills.
Not sure where to start when planning your Coromandel adventure? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Keep reading to plan a stress-free Coromandel Peninsula holiday (and don’t forget to check out our New Zealand holiday budget for costings information),
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getting to and around the coromandel peninsula
The Coromandel Peninsula is around a two-to-three-hour drive from central Auckland, depending on your final destination (for example, it’s 2.5 hours from Auckland to Coromandel Town). This drive is quite spectacular once you get onto the Peninsula, however you’ll need to keep your wits about you as driving conditions can get tricky, with windy roads right along the shore and through mountainous terrain, and varying weather.
We do recommend driving as once you’re on the Coromandel you’ll need to be able to get around. We particularly like DiscoverCars for finding the best car rental rates, and JUCY Campers for camper hire.
If driving isn’t an option, Go Kiwi Shuttles offer services to Coromandel.
Best places to stay on the coromandel peninsula
The Coromandel Peninsula is quite big, and there are so many places to stay. You’ll find accommodation tends to be in the form of bed and breakfasts and lodges rather than traditional hotel-style.
Here are some of my favourite options for accommodation on the Coromandel Peninsula.
This property is a “motel” in name but I would say it’s more like an upscale bed and breakfast. It features four individual units with incredible views over the Firth of Thames – three one bedroom units, and one two-bedroom unit which we found absolutely perfect for a family of four. The units are modern, spacious, and well-equipped, with a fully-functioning kitchen as well as a barbecue on the deck.
The best bit? The two-bedroom suite features a hot tub on the deck, so you can enjoy a spa overlooking the sea!
Coromandel Seaview Motel is located at 150 Huihana Lane, Long Bay RD1, 3581 Coromandel Town. Rates start from around $175 AUD / 120 USD per night for the one-bedroom suite.
Jacaranda Lodge is a super cute little bed and breakfast known for its pleasant, friendly, country-style accommodations. We particularly like the green expanses of farmland to enjoy while sitting on the porch. Relax in one of the spacious guest lounges, take a stroll through the gardens and see the native birds, or explore Coromandel’s galleries, unique attractions, and stunning coastline. Breakfasts, which include fresh organic vegetables from Jacaranda’s orchard, are highly rated by guests. The bedrooms are spacious, bright, and comfortable. The fully equipped communal guest kitchen is an added feature.
Jacaranda Lodge is located at 3195 Tiki Road RD1, Coromandel Town New Zealand. Pricing starts at $145 AUD / $95 USD for a King Room.
Hush Boutique Accommodation is a lovely guesthouse in Coromandel Town. The tranquil beaches, peaceful bush hikes, and a small town full of nice browsing shops and wonderful cafes surround the enchanting sanctuary. In addition, the Driving Creek Railway, Pottery, and Zipline are located directly across the street and provide pottery classes, which is a must try! Hush is not your typical motel – their cute cabins provide a real getaway from the rush and bustle of daily life. Hush is perfect for couples looking for a getaway but also ideal for families larger groups.
Hush Boutique Accommodation is located at 425 Driving Creek Road, 3506 Coromandel Town, New Zealand. Prices start from $145 AUD / $97 USD for a Studio with private bathroom.
The Olive Motel is a small, family-run, centrally located motel that is perfect for both international and local travelers. Perfect for a family vacation, a fishing trip, a work break, or simply to relax, unwind, and enjoy. Heat pump air conditioning, free view TV, netflix, prime video, neon, disney+, and free WiFi are available in all of their accommodations. There is also a Spa and Wellness Centre at The Olive Motel. They also have amenities for disabled guests. Plus, you may relax in the comfort of each studio or apartment while being only a short walk away from Coromandel Town’s cafés, bars, and boutiques!
The Olive Motel is located at 245 Tiki Road, Coromandel Town, New Zealand. Rates start from approximately $180 AUD / 120 USD for a Studio with Queen Bed.
Best Things to Do On Coromandel Peninsula
The Coromandel Peninsula is without a doubt one of the most stunning places in New Zealand. With white-sand beaches, lush native forest, and stunning mountain ranges, it’s no surprise that this is one of New Zealand’s most popular vacation destinations. Not only that, but this beautiful coastline region has plenty of fantastic activities to offer. So here’s a list of things you can do when visiting the Coromandel Peninsula!
Hike the Pinnacles Track
The Pinnacles Walk is a popular day and overnight hike on the Coromandel Peninsula. The Pinnacles Track in the Coromandel climbs across ruggedly stunning mountain ranges. The journey usually takes at least three hours one way since the route requires significant climbing and the use of ladders.
On your way, you’ll pass the Pinnacles Hut. You may arrange the Pinnacles Hut ahead of time if you want to stay the night and enjoy the view and sunrise. Alternatively, you may hike down on the same day if you don’t want to rent the hut.
Wine Tasting at Mercury Bay Estate
This wine tasting is a great way for wine enthusiasts visiting the Coromandel Peninsula to chill out (and regular readers of A Winter Escape will know how much we appreciate wine!). Mercury Bay Estate, in Whitianga in the Peninsula’s east, specialises in Pinot Noir grapes due and its location is great for wine production. You may sample their wines and take in the views of Mercury Bay at the on-site cellar door.
They provide a wide range of wines to try, including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and the delightful Lola Sparkling Rose. The food here is also excellent! The food has an Italian flavor due to the owner’s Italian ancestry. After tasting the finest wines, relax at a table under the vine-covered pergola or on the terrace and take in the scenery.
They are located at 761a Purangi Road Cooks Beach, RD1 Whitianga New Zealand. The opening schedules vary so it is best to visit their site.
Kayak to Cathedral Cove
A kayak tour allows you to see The Coromandel’s iconic Cathedral Cove from a fresh perspective. Look for seals, dolphins, and colorful fish in the surrounding marine reserve’s crystal-clear water. The best part about this tour is that when you arrive at Cathedral Cove, you will be served hot drinks and cookies! Who can say no to hot drinks and cookies? You can also do it yourself when you rent a kayak, however this is only recommended for experienced paddlers.
Click through for more information about the kayak tour.
Driving Creek Railway
Driving Creek Railway, a narrow-gorge mountain trail decorated with unique and colorful ceramics, is located within regenerating native forest near Coromandel Town. It’s all aboard for a spectacular one-hour train ride up to the ‘Eyefull Tower,’ where sweeping vistas of the Hauraki Gulf and Islands await. Your driver will teach you about the history of the area as well as the history of this unique mountain railway as you travel to the top of EyeFull Tower. During your train ride, you’ll pass through natural forest, over viaducts, and through tunnels, and keep an eye out for unique pottery sculptures strewn along the way! The owner was a well-known potter that is why pottery played an essential role in the construction of Driving Creek.
They are located at 380 Driving Creek Road, Coromandel 3506, New Zealand. You can visit their site for more information about the tour.
Camping on the Coromandel peninsula is a must for anybody who enjoys the great outdoors. Imagine waking up in your tent to some of the nicest beachfront views on the North Island. Walking barefoot, listening to the sounds of nature, running around outside, reading a good book, cooking on a BBQ, playing a game of cards at night and drinking a cold beer. When you think about it, it’s hard to beat camping!
Shelly Beach Holiday Park, Stony Bay, Hahei Holiday Resort, Opoutere Coastal Camping, and Coro Camping Whitianga are just some of the best spots in Coromandel for camping.
Coromandel Coastal Walkway
This is one of the most stunning coastal walks in New Zealand. During your trip on this wonderful coastal walkway, you will discover magnificent beaches, tranquil nature, and glittering bays. The trail will take most likely about 3 and a half hours each way to finish.
The long walk will take you between the picturesque Fletcher Bay and Stony Bay. However, it is important to remember that there is an extremely steep area near Poley Bay. This route was created by early pioneers and is an important part of the area’s history. You will pass through rolling farmland, coastal woodlands, and several stunning views along the way, including views of Great Barrier Island and the Pinnacles!
You may also schedule a guided tour. With this handy guided day tour of the Coromandel Coastal Walkway, you can hike along one of the Coromandel Peninsula’s most magnificent remote trails without getting lost! Book your tour here.
Hot Water Beach
As one of the top beaches on New Zealand’s North Island, Hot Water Beach is definitely a must visit! A natural spring runs beneath Hot Water Beach, bubbling up and emerging through the beach as naturally heated mineral water. You may dig your own hot pool in the sand at the southern end of the beach. Relaxing in your own spa pool meters from the Pacific Ocean will surely give you an unforgettable experience!
Hot Water Beach attracts hundreds of tourists every day shortly before low tide. In fact, it’s preferable to visit Hot Water beach either two hours before or two hours after low tide. This is the only time when you can visit the hot water areas since during high tide, the hot water vents are hidden by the ocean.
Rapaura Watergardens is a 64 acres of lovely woodland in the heart of the Coromandel Forest Park. It is home to an enormous population of birds including the fantail, tui, and silver eye. There are also various walking pathways here, including one which brings you to a lovely cascading waterfall.
You might even see a range of exotic flowers in bloom depending on the season. They are incredibly colourful, particularly in the summer! There is also a lot of interesting artwork strewn throughout the gardens.
They are located at 586 Tapu-Coroglen Rd. They are open everyday from 9:00 to 17:00. The cost for adults is NZD $15.00, and $5.00 for children aged 5 to 15. They also have a family offer (2 adults + 2 children) for only $35.00! They are operating an “Honesty Box” system so it is best to bring cash.
The Lost Spring
The Lost Spring in Whitianga is the ideal place to unwind after a long day of visiting the Coromandel. These geothermal pools are super-unique and range in temperature from 32°C to 41°C. The backdrop of these pools is really stunning, surrounded by native flora and the sound of chirping. This is undoubtedly one of the most tranquil experiences in New Zealand!
They even offer a spa accessible for a full relaxation experience. There’s also a fantastic restaurant on-site, which is housed in a historic schoolhouse and gives incredible views over the lagoon and waterfalls.
The Lost Spring is located at 121A Cook Drive, Whitianga 3510, New Zealand. Opening hours and prices vary so it is best to check their site.
Mill Creek Bird Park
Mill Creek Bird Park has over 400 types of birds, like the cockatoo, wood pigeon, morepork, and even the big Canadian goose. You can even hold one of the macaws! The birds are housed throughout 45 separate aviaries, and the lories are contained in a giant walk-in aviary, and you may feed them. There are also plenty of farm animals like rabbits, goats, small horses, alpacas, emus, and the odd Kune Kune pig.
There’s also a tropical fish chamber as well as numerous reptiles such as the Blue Tongue Lizard, Bearded Dragons, Japanese Fire Bellied Newts, and much more! This is also perfect for all members of the family since they offer picnic spots and playgrounds to relax and play. They also have facilities for camping if you want to spend the night there.
The Park is located at 365 Mill Creek Road RD1, Whitianga. You can check their site for more information.
A 15-minute walk from Coromandel Town will take you to the small yet stunning Waiau Falls. This waterfall is only 6 meters high, yet it is surrounded by natural flora, making it more beautiful. It’s also a popular swimming place among locals. The Kauri Grove Lookout Track is located one kilometer from Waiau Falls. This is the Coromandel’s most mature kauri stand. A’siamese’ kauri also grows in the groove and branches slightly above ground. Watch out for them!
Waiau Falls is located at 995C Kauaeranga Valley Road, Thames 3577.
Best Places to eat on Coromandel Peninsula
Coromandel Peninsula has some really lovely places to eat. Here are our faves.
Salt Restaurant and Bar Whitianga
Address: 1 Blacksmith Lane, Whitianga 3510
Sit and enjoy a cocktail as you look out over the marina at Salt. We happened to have lunch here on a cold and rainy day (the view was still cool though), but if the weather is right, you can sit outside right on the marina and enjoy your meal. As you might expect for a place on the water, they do particularly good seafood. The staff were really great with the kids, too.
Salt is open Tues-Thurs 17:00 – 21:00 and Fri-Sun 11:30-14:30 and 17:00-21:00. They are closed on Mondays.
That Curry Place
Address: 45 Albert Street, Whitianga 3510 New Zealand
Price: $$ – $$$
The food that they serve here at That Curry Place is really delicious and authentic, which you don’t always get in more rural places. The Vindaloo is particularly good. Also, plus points to excellent customer service. I highly recommend this restaurant.
They serve lunch Mon-Wed: 12:00 – 14:00 and Fri-Sat: 11:00 – 14:00. They serve dinner Mon-Sat: 16:30 – 20:30.
Kaizen at GoVino
Address: 19 Captain Cook Road Rd1, Cooks Beach, Whitianga 3591 New Zealand
Price: $$ – $$$
The food selection of Kaizen at GoVino consists of sharing plates, in keeping with the restaurant’s philosophy. These platters are all the same size, unlike restaurants that have small and big sharing plates. The dish was really fantastic, with very creative flavors. They also have a delightful wine list and a large cocktail menu. This is a perfect place to eat with the family!
Purangi Winery Pizzeria
Address: 501 Purangi Road R.d.1, Cooks Beach, Whitianga 3591 New Zealand
Price: $$ – $$$
Purangi is at an amazing spot, with views down to the water. They only use what they grow in their liquors since they are located on an organic farm. The staff is fantastic, the music is vibrant and relaxing, and there are plenty of sitting options beneath kiwi fruit vine umbrellas. Don’t miss out on their “build your own” pizza!
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