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Whitianga and Mercury Bay
The beach town of Whitianga makes an excellent base for explorations of Mercury Bay and the adjacent coast.
- At Hot Water Beach you can dig in the sand for hot spring water and make your own spa pool.
- Cathedral Cove is a magical beach framed by a massive natural rock arch.
- Go big game fishing, snorkelling or scuba diving.
- Indulge in a seafood feast at one of Whitianga's restaurants.
- Visit the numerous galleries and artists' studios along the east coast.
- Visit New Zealand's newest thermal hot pools at The Lost Spring.
- Explore the breathtaking volcanic coastline, magnificent sea caves and Cathedral Cove with a local scenic boat operator or kayaking provider
- Catch the ferry and walk to Shakespeare's Cliff or stop off at some of the local beaches, such as Opito, Otama and Kuaotunu.
Tairua and Pauanui
- Offshore Alderman Islands have big game fishing, snorkelling and diving.
- Discover the Tairua History Trail and walk to the summit of Paku, the volcanic peak that guards the Tairua Harbour.
- At the northern end of the 3km Pauanui Beach a choice of tracks lead you around the coast. Explore excellent fishing spots, beautiful bays or challenge yourself with the hill climb up to the panoramic summit of Mount Pauanui.
Surf's up at Whangamata
The surf town of Whangamata is lively in summer and lovely the rest of the year. Aim for autumn or spring if you want to avoid the crowds.
- Visit the gifted local artisans on the Whangamata Craft Trail.
- Coromandel Forest Park and Tairua Forest are close by - there are walking tracks galore.
- Opoutere, Onemana and Whiritoa are picturesque holiday beaches.
The gold mines and golden beaches of Waihi
Waihi town and Waihi Beach are separate destinations, but they're only a short drive apart.
- Watch the miners digging for gold in Waihi. The town of Waihi is home to the Martha Mine, a fully operational gold and silver mine. View the mine from the viewing platform.
- Guided tours of Martha Mine explain the past, present and future of gold mining.
- At Waihi Beach you'll find 9 kilometres of safe surf beach. Stunning coastal walkways invite you to explore further.
- Visit the Waihi Art Market for contemporary and traditional art works.
Deep in the heart of Karangahake Gorge
The beautiful Ohinimuri River runs through Karangahake Gorge on State Highway 2.
- The gorge is the site of Waihi's 1875 gold rush. Numerous walkways reveal the gold-mining history of the region. Old mine tunnels, stamper battery sites and other mining relics adorn the tracks.
- Take a step back in time and climb on board the Goldfields Vintage Railway, which travels between Waikino and Waihi.
Paeroa is an ideal mid-journey stop between Auckland and Tauranga/Rotoroa. The home of the iconic 'Lemon and Paeroa' soft drink, Paeroa offers several fine cafes and some fascinating local attractions.
- Sample Lemon and Paeroa, New Zealand's most popular soft drink. As they say, it's 'world famous in New Zealand'.
- Paeroa is also a good place to shop for antiques. Take home a quaint souvenir.
- Break the journey back to Auckland with a refreshment stop in Ngatea - but make time to check out the water gardens.
- Make Paeroa, Thames or Waihi the starting point for your cycling tour along the newly established Hauraki Rail Trail.
Explore the Seabird Coast
More than a 100 migratory bird species live around the edge of the Firth of Thames on the Miranda foreshore. Drive past them on your way to Thames.
- Visit Miranda Hot Springs for a therapeutic dip in the hot mineral water.
- Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the Miranda Shorebird Centre.
Historic Coromandel Town is a haven for talented artists and craftspeople who are inspired by the tranquil atmosphere and spectacular natural surrounds.
- Arrive by ferry from downtown Auckland after a stunning journey across the Hauraki Gulf, or arrive by road along the picturesque Pohutukawa Coast.
- Indulge in the gourmet homegrown cuisine on offer at the many local restaurants.
- Visit The Waterworks, an entertaining theme park where whimsical wonders are driven by the power of water.
- Marvel at the impressive Mature Kauri Tree Grove.
- Visit Driving Creek Railway - a remarkable 1 hour trainride on a world-class narrowguage mountain railway featuring engineering marvels and passing through kauri forests.
Thames and Thames Coast
There's lots to keep you busy when delving into Thames colourful gold mining history or experiencing our beautiful forests and coastlines.
- Experience local history by touring the Thames School of Mines & Mineralogical Museum, Bella Street Pumphouse and Thames Historical Museum.
- Marvel at the variety of nature at the Butterfly and Orchid Garden, Rapaura Watergardens and Karaka Birdhide.
- Enjoy numerous biking, walking and tramping opportunities on offer on the Hauraki Rail Trail, Kauaeranga Valley, Thames coastal walkway and Rocky's Goldmine Walk.
- Drive the scenic Thames coastline while exploring the beaches, art galleries and cafes.
- Look out for the majestic Pohutukawa Tree's crimson flowers in full bloom from mid November.
What's your favourite thing to do in The Coromandel? Add your comment below.