Once a wild colonial gold rush town, Coromandel is a place to enjoy Victorian architecture, arts and crafts, beaches and forest walks.
Coromandel township is full of history from the early gold mining and logging days. Set on a natural harbour, the town was named after the ship H.M.S Coromandel, which called here in 1820 to collect kauri logs to make spars for the British Royal Navy.
A gold strike in the late 1860s saw the town's population shoot up to 10,000. Although the serious mining days are over, the town has New Zealand’s last fully functional stamper battery - still on its original site and working on a daily basis.
Today Coromandel is a quiet town and artists' haven. As well as galleries and craft shops showcasing the local talent, Coromandel has many restored Victorian buildings, a narrow gauge mountain railway and a mining museum. With a variety of accommodation and eateries, it makes a great base for local beach and forest explorations.
Coromandel Walking Tracks
To the south, a track off 309 Road leads to a popular swimming hole surrounded by beautiful native forest. Further up the road, another trail takes you to a grove of large kauri - one of the original stands on the peninsula. The grove contains two ancient kauri trees that are fused together towards the base.
Back in the township, a path next to 356 Wharf Rd leads you to the beginning of the Kauri Block Walk. The trail leads up to an old Maori pa (fortress) site, which provides spectacular 360-degree views of the Coromandel Ranges, offshore islands and the township. The trail then continues along a ridge through regenerating forest and native plantings until it emerges at Harbour View Road.
North of Coromandel, a walking track in the Papa Aroha Scenic Reserve meanders through a typical coastal native forest of puriri, kohekohe and pohutukawa before emerging onto an attractive swimming beach.
Functional facts: Approx. population 1500, i-SITE Visitor Centre, good range of shops.
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