Best things to do and where to go
Catch the ferry from downtown Auckland to Coromandel Town for the weekend. Get around on a hired bike from Hike & Bike Coromandel or drive from Thames along the stunning coastal route (SH25) past small settlements, pohutukawa trees and sandy coves to the Victorian era Coromandel Town. An artistic hub showcased by Driving Creek Pottery and the late Barry Brickell, the town offers seafood treats, bush walks, heritage trails and beaches to laze away the day on. Coromandel Town is a gem worth the detour.
55km winding coastal State Highway 25 from Thames
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Driving Creek Railway and Potteries. The creek takes its name from the driving of kauri logs using released dam water thereby floating logs to the harbour for shipping.
- The School of Mines Museum is a cute Victoriana chocablock with heritage photographs and intriguing memorabilia. Check opening hours to avoid disappointment as it is managed by volunteers.
- Gravel road experience the locally famous 309 ROAD is a journey through time with the winding narrow gravel road hugging the bushline and river. There are well signposted lookout points and sights along the route
- Coromandel Gold Stamper Battery and Goldfields Centre
- For panoramic views Castle Rock climb
- Long Bay, a loop track past an old kauri grove, along the beach and beneath cliffs. The trail is steep in parts.
- Coromandel Coastal Walkway is a shared walking, cycle trial from Fletcher Bay to Stony Bay For walking buffs Success Mine Track starting at the former hospital building and along the old Colville Rd follows mining paths in the hills behind town
- State Highway 25 route between Coromandel Town and Whitianga has a number of lookout points with views of Long, Oamaru Bay and the
GOLD STAMPER BATTERY
- Coromandel Goldfield Centre & Stamper Battery is a 112 year old fully operational water powered plant for processing gold from rock. If you would like to see inside the Stamper Battery, trained geologist Ashley Franklyn shares his passion for Coromandel’s history and gold mining past in his famous one hour fully guided tour, described as “one of the most informative and interesting hours you can spend in Coromandel.” Tours summer only or by appointment. Coromandel Goldfield Centre and Stamper Battery | Coromandel
WHAT TO DO NEARBY
- Visit Whangapoua and New Chums beach
- Carry on down the road to Colville to the end of the peninsula just because you can
- Barry Brickell 1935 – 2016 potter, rail enthusiast, writer, conservationist and creator of Driving Creek. Barry designed and built the kilns at Driving Creek using clay sourced from the property.
- Murder of Urban Höglin and Heidi Paakkonen in 1989 resulted in police, residents, and military personnel conducting the largest land-based search undertaken in New Zealand, attempting to find the couple. The case continues to court debate Murder of Urban Höglin and Heidi Paakkonen
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS
- Driving Creek railway with its hairpin bends and quirky pottery nestled in the bush
- The Waterworks
- Stamp Battery walk to a lookout point. Track Description: 410 Buffalo Rd, Coromandel; 2 km northeast of town (dogs okay) – 15-min return. Behind the historic Stamper Battery on Buffalo Rd, this short walk at Drinkwater Reserve crosses a bridge and goes up steps through the bush to a spot overlooking the hills and cemetery.
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIES
- Driving Creek rail
- Your seafood chowder from Mussel Kitchen for tasty freshly harvested and cooked food. Or grab and go oyster treats from Home Coromandel Oyster Shed is rustic, picturesque charm
- Your planted kauri tree as part of the Great Kauri Run Event
- Coromandel, capital of the peninsula
- The Keltic Fair on January 2 each year is a festival, art space and foodie heaven all rolled into an enormous fun-filled weekend.
- Arts Tour or Open Studio for the next 32km is superb
- K2 is a road cycle classic event
- The Great Kauri Run – The Great Kauri Run every competitor has a kauri (tree) planted. The Spirit of Coromandel Trust vision is to plant 10,000 trees over the next ten years and to create an avenue of Kauri all the way from Waikawau to Coromandel.
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
- The peninsula was named for HMS Coromandel, a British Navy ship that put in at Coromandel Harbour in the 1820s to buy kauri spars for the British navy. The ship is named after an Indian coastal area.
WHAT KEEPS THE PLACE TICKING?
- Mussel farming; oysters. Tourism with a focus on art, craft and local seafood delicacies
- 1,760 (2020)
- Your weekend is sorted. Or consider a summer holiday destination with the family.
Every town adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about the region check Thames & Coromandel Peninsula nearby attractions and events.