The Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
Coromandel Peninsula slogan ‘Good for the soul’ is apt. The archetypal escape with solitary places where the only footsteps are yours, places where artists flourish and places where forests and bush wrap around exquisite gold sandy beaches. Scenic drives, summer holiday joy and the chance to wind down and rejuvenate.
Between December to mid-April however year round there is plenty to do and see.
In spring the bright red pohutukawa trees are in bloom creating a memorable drive from Thames to Coromandel Town as well as throughout the peninsula.
The glorious memorable moments are free, from beaches to easy lazy days walking bush tracks. Of course you can always splurge on beautiful artwork or an exciting dive adventure in the Aldermen Islands. For families consider a Whitianga cruise around the bays to Cathedral Cove and Hahei beach.
From Thames to Coromandel Town to Whitianga. Pick your holiday hub based on your specific interests and use the holiday destination as a hub to swing around the area in an arc or circle. The maximum distance from any one point is likely to be less than an hour.
From your hub popular day trips include:
- Coromandel Town with its heritage Victorian streetscape and Driving Creek pottery and artists workshops. This is an easy day trip from Whitianga or Kuaotunu.
- Karangahake Gorge is an easy day trip from Thames or Whangamata where visitors explore the gold mining past with a trip to Waihi Gold Centre and beyond into the hills on gold mining trails.
- Route 360 (State Highway 360) a narrow winding gravel road with spectacular views, a waterfall, kauri tree grove and Waterworks attraction. This is a great day trip linking Coromandel Town with Whitianga.
- Snorkelling and diving the Aldermen Islands. This is ideal for visitors based in Tairua or Thames.
- Sailing or cruising past Cathedral Cove, Hot Water beach and Hahei beaches. For your bucket list Whitiangi, Hahei or Hot Water beach are ideal as you are on the spot.
- Bush walking through pristine native forests. The Coromandel Peninsula has beautiful scenic reserves throughout the peninsula. Visitors are spoiled for choice. Check 10 short easy Coromandel walks, trip guide, things to see: NZ Jane for some tips and ideas which walks will suit your fitness levels and family.
With such pretty beaches, you may think that the only time to visit here is in New Zealand’s summer, which lasts from about December until March. True, if you want to swim, then you’ll need to be here in summer. However, the Coromandel Peninsula is extremely popular with local families who fill the beaches and campsites from Christmas through January. February is better, though availability can still be tight so ensure to book early.
For the most peaceful time on the peninsula, go during the cooler months between March and November. You’ll experience fewer crowds and less competition for that perfect snapshot at Cathedral Cove. The peninsula stays fairly warm year-round, remaining well above freezing in the coldest months of July and August.
The east coast of the peninsula is where the beautiful white sand beaches are located with their calm sheltered coves. It is very popular in the summer school holidays so forward bookings are essential.
In the southeastern corner of the peninsula is Whangamata, a summer holiday town with large camping grounds, locals on holiday wading and kayaking in the shallow clear water.
The visitor favourite is Whitianga which sees an enormous growth in summer holiday makers creating a bubble in the town’s population from a winter population of 6,160 to quadrupling in summer to approximately 25,000. The town does not feel overcrowded due to the wide paving and town planning which caters for summer crowds. Whitianga is a boating haven with no dangerous bar for boaties to cross. Trailer boats can be launched from several public boat ramps equipped with pontoons. There is a substantial marina with berths.
The majority of attractions and sights need a car to access them. There are private shuttle services catering for the budget end of the market which run on limited timetables meaning there is not a great deal of flexibility around departure points. It is a large peninsula with scattered small charming towns to explore. Having your own vehicle gives you lots of options and is recommended.
For visitors who have access to an E-bike or feel comfortable biking on narrow winding roads this is another option. In places where there is the network of shared walking / cycling trails then bike hire is another transport choice.
Auckland is approximately 2 ½ hours to Coromandel’s east coast.
Rotorua is 3 ½ hours to the east coast.
Matamata (Hobbiton) is 2 ½ hours to the east coast.
Only in summer and lifeguards are also volunteers involved in search and rescue as well.
For further information check Coastline and White Sandy Beaches in The Coromandel
No, it is a passenger ferry only.
Coromandel Town is a specific place, the Coromandel is a peninsula formally known as The Coromandel Peninsula.
Let’s get you there and around the place now. Check Coromandel road trips, getting there and round about.