Exploring the Coromandel in New Zealand

I arrived in the Coromandel Town and was trapped there for a few days because of the winter weather. After the weather passed, I moved my caravan to Colville and based myself there to explore the very tip of the Peninsula, before making my way down to Whitianga and beyond.

Places to visit in Coromandel

Below are just a few places I recently explored. There is a surprising amount to do in the area and this list could be a lot longer if I’d had more time and a better travel season.

Port Jackson

From Colville to Port Jackson, it’s a fantastic scenic drive along a gravel road and you’ll want to stop multiple times for photos. This is the left road that goes to the very top of the Coromandel Peninsula. Port Jackson has a campsite that’s empty in winter but I’ve heard it’s packed in summer. Beyond Port Jackson, you ford a river and eventually reach a beach carpark at Fletcher Bay and becomes a walk that connects to Stony Bay.

Tip: The walk from Fletcher Bay can get muddy.

Stony Bay

Stony Bay is… stony. It’s at the end of theCoromandel Peninsula, but on the right side. Again, it’s a gravel road, but with a few more houses and personally I don’t think it’s as nice as Port Jackson. Stony Bay has a DoC campground and is the other end of the walk from the Port Jackson side.

New Chums Beach

New Chums Beach is a popular spot. The walk starts at Whangapoua Beach and crosses a tidal river. The path is along the rocky beach and over the hill. I’m still confused about it’s popularity, as I’ve seen lovelier beaches in New Zealand. Do you think it’s because I visited in winter or that people like the difficulty in getting there?

Tip: Go at low tide and it can get muddy in winter.

Cathedral Cove

A big tourist spot – the main carpark was nearly full in the middle of winter. It’s a decent walk to Cathedral Cove, but worth seeing the rock formations.

Tips: The carpark gets busy in summer, but they have a carpark in town and a shuttle bus. You can walk to Cathedral Cove from Hahai beach, but it adds more time to the walk and starts straight up hill.

Hot Water Beach

Playing in the hot water was more enjoyable than I expected for such a touristy spot. You need to pay for parking, but the rest is free. I had no spade, and just dug a shallow pool in the surf. It sometimes became too hot and the odd wave made the temperature perfect. You need to go 2 hours on either side of low tide and most local businesses will have the tidal details. I was staying in Hahai, drove there and sat in a hot pool watching the sunset. One of the most relaxing experiences I’ve had.

Tips: Go 2 hours on either side of low tide. Find out more here.


Tips for the Coromandel

  • The Pinnacles hike was recommended to me multiple times, but it is closed for winter
  • The roads become gravel just beyond Colville
  • There are some impressively steep hills to drive up
  • Coromandel Town and Whitianga are the two main towns at the top of the Peninsular. Coromandel has a large Four Square and Whitianga has multiple supermarkets.

Have you been to the Coromandel? Do you have a favourite place? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

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