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National park

Guide to Coromandel Forest Park what to see and do

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Where to go and best places to camp in the Forest Park

From Auckland, as you look across the Firth of Thames, you see a dramatic skyline of extinct volcanoes on the Coromandel Range. Get up close and personal, they are worth a look. Lush temperate rainforest covers most of the Peninsula with a golden thread of sandy beaches circling round the Peninsula. The Coromandel Forest Park is a mere 1 ½ hours drive from the biggest city in New Zealand, Auckland City of Sails. Definitely a day trip or longer should be on the bucket list.

Wentworth Valley Walks, Coromandel, New Zealand @Russell Street
Wentworth Valley Walks @Russell Street

COROMANDEL FOREST PARK HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kauri, forest giants who survived 19thc logging are to be found on highway 309 (near Coromandel Town) and Manaia Sanctuary further south
  • Kauaeranga Valley near Thames with its bush tram trails, gold mining relics and vintage train
  • Tramping buffs enjoy limestone outcrops, the Pinnacles, with accommodation in a forest lodge
  • Wentworth Falls (near Whangamata) is a glorious leap of water nestled in its forest setting
  • Accessibility, the forest embraces the coast allowing visitors the best of two worlds, the beach, the marine world and the world of lush, luxurious green layered forest.
  • Cathedral Cove limestone arches are unmissable and the treasure is located on the park’s boundary. The official name is Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve
  • The Coromandel Forest Park is managed by the Department of Conservation whose excellent online resource describes major walks, how to get there, best time to go and camping regulations within the park. Check here for more information Coromandel Forest Park: Places to go in the Coromandel

Enjoy the contrasting scenery between beaches, rolling farmland and primeval forest. For an overview of the Coromandel check our Coromandel Regional Guide – nzjane

The Department of Conservation volunteer programme is where kiwis and overseas visitors get to share being part of the natural world.

Get involved in activities around the country, and find out about volunteering for conservation. Department of Conservation Volunteer Contributions 🌱 Pacific Jane

There are hundreds of conservation groups working with DOC, or working independently around the country – from restoring forests, coasts and wildlife to managing huts, tracks and historic places. The Department of Conservation is a premier resource for all visitors enjoying New Zealand outdoors. There are ways to support the conservation movement in New Zealand. The information below is part of the online fact list provided to potential volunteers.

Best time to visit

December to late April

Third Branch Track

Distance: 1.3 km loop

At the southern end of the Puketui Walk, the Third Branch Track follows the stream then picks up an old tram line, climbing up the hill before levelling out and sidling around the hill to the east end of Collins Drive. A circuit is possible via the Water Race Link Track back to Puketui Walk.

GETTING THERE

Broken Hills is 19 km from Tairua and 27 km from Whangamata. The two entrance roads (Puketui Valley Road and Puketui Road) to Broken Hills do not connect and a stream crossing is required between them. Plan your journey so you access your destined track or campsite by the correct entrance road.

HISTORY

Around the turn of the 20th century, a bustling gold-mining settlement named Puketui was established in the Broken Hills Gorge. It had a post office, hall and several shops. By 1912 a settlement of 200 people had sprung up along the river. Plans were prepared for a permanent township on the site now occupied by the Broken Hills Campsite.

Just two years later, production at the mines tailed off and the size of the settlement diminished accordingly. Small-scale mining continued in the area until 1923. Relics of this past mining era can still be seen. Today, one of the old drives is being mined using historic methods.

Broken Hills, Coromandel, New Zealand @Shellie Evans
Broken Hills @Shellie Evans

WENTWORTH

Camp by a river and explore the surrounding native bush, which has a waterfall and abandoned gold mines.

Wentworth Valley walks: Coromandel Forest Park, Coromandel region

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