The Coromandel Peninsula is a spectacular rugged promontory which extends nearly 85 kilometres into the Pacific Ocean from the North Island of New Zealand. Located just an hour and a half’s drive from Auckland, there are plenty of things to do in Coromandel, with fantastic beaches, relaxing hot springs, lush temperate rainforests and historic towns to visit.
Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve
Located in the north-eastern part of the Coromandel Peninsula is the stunning Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve. Also known as Te Whanganui-A-Hei, the marine reserve was established in 1992 and is maintained by the Department of Conservation. The park covers 840 hectares and features an iconic natural arch formed in the limestone cliff between Mare's Leg Cove and Cathedral Cove. The park is accessible by foot in a spectacular hour-long walk along the cliff from the small town of Hahei. There was once a large Maori Pa (village) situated at the south end of the white sand Hahei beach. Arriving at Cathedral Cove by boat is another great option, and offers a different perspective of the incredible scenery. There is also excellent diving around the natural rock stacks, Sphinx rock and Te Hoho rock, and there's even a marked snorkelling in Gemstone Bay.
Hot Water Beach
The two coasts of the Coromandel Peninsula offer many different beaches, but one of the Coromandel beaches that visitors will not want to miss is Hot Water Beach situated on Mercury bay on the East coast. Here you can dig a hole in the sand within 2 hours either side of low tide, and let the hot water rise to the surface and fill the pool. The water, which can reach 64 degrees Celsius, comes from two large underground fissures and the spot is one of the most popular geothermal Coromandel attractions. Enjoy relaxing in your home-made hot-tub, but do keep an eye on the incoming tide!
Northern coastal drive
The Coromandel Coast offers some dramatic scenery and breath-taking views. Take the coast road north from the town of Colville and marvel at the huge, ancient Pohutukawa trees which cling to the cliffs in a seemingly impossible manner. The Coromandel weather is mild year round, so anytime is great to visit, but if you happen to be there during the flowering season from November to January you will be treated to a spectacular display of rich crimson flowers which has earned the Pohutukawa trees the nickname of New Zealand Christmas trees. Don't be too distracted by the impressive sights though, the road is narrow, steep and windy.
The Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk) located in the Coromandel Forest Park offers the opportunity to enjoy some spectacular views over the Coromandel Peninsula. The complete Pinnacles trail takes 4-5 hours and can be done in one day, or with an overnight stop in the Pinnacles Hut. There is also the shorter Billy Goat circuit option which has visitors following historic packhorse routes and walking in the footsteps of the Kauri Bushmen as they travelled to the logging sites in the 1920s. Remains of skid roads can also still be seen, where logs were hauled out by teams of bullocks. A side trek of one km takes you to the 759-meter summit of the Pinnacles where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the peninsula.
Place of Love
The Maori name Te Aroha can be translated as "Place of Love" and you're sure to fall in love with one of the most magical Coromandel attractions. The Te Aroha Domain developed around the natural, hot soda water springs, and many of the original Edwardian buildings remain intact, with features such as the lakelets and the foot pool having undergone extensive renovations. While visiting Te Aroha be sure to visit the Mokena Geyser- the world's only hot soda water geyser.
A visit to the stunning Coromandel Peninsula is a must on any New Zealand getaway and there’s no better way to explore it than from behind the wheel of your own rental car. For visitors arriving in New Zealand’s largest city, collect your Auckland rental car from Omega’s city centre or Auckland Airport branches and start exploring!
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