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10 short easy Coromandel walks, travel guide: itinerary

  • 5 minutes

Explore historic logging trails where kauri was extensively milled and gold mining relics. You have opportunities to swim beneath a waterfall or to walk among the giants of the forest, massive kauris which have escaped nineteenth century timber milling. Explore a historic cemetery in Thames and street art in Coromandel. Stop by a local favourite ice cream shop situated next to the Mercury Bay Museum. The ten walks take you from the eastern to western sides of the Coromandel Peninsula. There are numerous additional walks, check the travel pack information section to check out any trails or track appeal. Cycle trails, gold mining trails and heritage walks, the Coromandel is not always about beaches and golden sand.

Dedicated hikers have the joy of the Coromandel coastal walk and The Pinnacles to pop onto their New Zealand bucket list

Walks range from 500 metres to 2.5 km (loop)
Dogs on leash allowed (some walks)
Wheelchair accessible walk option
Family friendly short walks
Combine with day exploring Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Diving Creek tram or Hot Water Beach
10 Short Easy Coromandel Wallks: Highlights
  • Find a waterfall and take a dip in the swimming hole
  • Explore Whitiangi town walk and stop at various cafes
  • Enjoy a shared cycleway in Whitianga
  • Discover a historic cemetery in Thames
  • Discover a town with two harbours, Tairua
  • Relish the quiet of regenerating bush and native bird life
  • Discover the legacy of 19th century timber logging in the regenerating forest
Nearby attractions
  • Coromandel township with Diving Creek tram, cafes and galleries
  • To inspire family and friends to join the party check out Visit Karanganhake Gorge & Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park: Best Bits
  • Nearby Thames has plenty to offer visitors
  • Whitiangi a classic kiwi beach resort town, a summer bucket list destination
  • Dedicated hikers have the joy of the Coromandel coastal walk and The Pinnacles to pop onto their New Zealand bucket list

Waiau Falls in the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
Waiau Falls
  1. WAIAU WATERFALLS

Waiau Falls are satisifying spectuclar and even better for visitors with limited mobility can be viewed from the road.  There is a small car park for visitors who wish to walk to the waterfalls. This is a waterfall walk for wimps who or are fitness challenged. There are excellent views from the top and bottom of the pretty single cascading waterfall with lush bush inviting you to take photographs. The view of the waterfall from the road is glimpses of a roaring waterfall through the forest.  The walk to the falls base finishes at the picturesque swimming hole. Remember to bring a towel and insect repellent.

  • Length: 300 metres (one way)
  • Grade: Easy/Medium (there are steps)
  • Facilities: NO toilets

NOTE: popular swimming hole at base of Falls surrounded by native bush

GETTING THERE: COROMANDEL TOWN TO WAIAU WATERFALLS ROAD ROUTE MAP

  1. KAURI GROVE LOOKOUT WALK

From the idyllic swimming hole and Waiau waterfall it is very short walk to the Kauri Grove. The walk however is on the winding gravel road 309 so care is needed and listen out for vehicles.  The walk takes visitors to an accessible and mature kauri stand on the Peninsula. The grove contains a ‘siamese’ kauri which forks just above the ground. Kauri are the forest giants living for hundreds of years. Kauri with their enormous straight trucks were a timber hedged pot of gold for 19th century loggers. The result was kauri were logged almost to extinction. Today there are solated stands of Kauri trees, mainly on the Coromandel Peninsula and Northland.

Waiau Falls and Kauri Grove Lookout Walk, Coromandel region, New Zealand @Shellie Evans
Waiau Falls and Kauri Grove Lookout Walk @Shellie Evans

There is a very small roadside car park, take care crossing the road.  The track is well signposted. The track is well formed, with footbridges and a boardwalk to protect the kauris from direct contact. When you are viewing historic mining sites you will see wooden props supporting tunnels. Usually it was the ancient kauri that was logged.

  • Length: 500m (one way)
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Grade: easy
  • Facilities: NO toilets
  1. WHITIANGA HERITAGE TOWN WALK

TOP SIGHTS

  • Enjoy views over Bufflo beach to Mercury Bay islands
  • Street installations depicting local happenings
  • Take a selfie at the enormous anchor at Bufflo beach
  • Consider the option of indulging in Lost Springs Resort spa

It’s approximately 3.5km from the Whitianga Wharf to the end of Bufflo Beach. You can either run, walk, mobility scooter, wheelchair or bike using the beachfront esplanade boardwalk. The boardwalk is a shared pathway. Dogs are restricted to a leash at all times.

@Whitianga Waterways
@Whitianga Waterways

Included is a walk through the town. Your walk can be as long as you want, from a few minutes to a leisurely town exploration.The street art makes for a fun walk, remember to check out the view of the marina as you pass the main street.  The historic dairy factory, now museum is worth a detour along with the well known ice cream shop next door. The historic Buffalo anchor is a memorial to the wreck 1840 with the loss of two lives.  The Taputapuatea stream has been replanted and is now a local swimming spot. There are numerous cafes and seats making this a very comfortable town exploration

  • Start: Whitianga Wharf / Playground
  • Finish: Whitianga Wharf / Playground
  • Duration: Whitianga waterfront (one way) 1hr Distance: 3.5km
  • Facillities: Cafes, public toilets in town
  1. EXPLORE SHORTLAND CEMETERY & MINERS COTTAGES THAMES

By 1870 117 people had been buried in the new Shortland Cemetery.  The cemetery walk is a journey through the town history combined with great views from its hilltop position.  This walk features historic mining cottages, old oak trees, panoramic views and the Shortland Cemetery.  Make sure to follow the Victorian lace fences to views the older graves such as John William Hall and a soldier who fought at the Battle of Waterloo

  • Length: 4.2km (Thames town centre) OR Shortland Rd 1.4km
  • Duration: 1.5hrs approx
  • Grade: Uneven grounds positioned on a steep hillside. There are a few stespry
  • Facilities: NO toilets nearby cemetery, roadside parking
Shortland Cemetery, Thames, New Zealand @Interment
Shortland Cemetery, Thames @Interment
  1. WINDOWS WALK KARANGAHAKE GORGE & WAIKINO GOLD MINING AREA

Discover one of the Coromandel’s very popular short walks. There is stunning scenery, visible mining remnants and a disused gold mining tunnel. An outdoor adventure for kids. The walk starts in the Karangahake Reserve car park. The track is clearly signposted. You start by crossing both the Ohinemuri River suspension bridge and shortly afterwards the Lower Waitawheta Gorge bridge. You will view signs to the Crown Tramway Track which is an alternative short walk. Follow signage up the stairs and through the abandoned buildings and machinery of the Talisman battery.

Karangahake Gorge Bridge and Rocky Outcrop, New Zealand
Karangahake Gorge

… Visit Karanganhake Gorge & Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park 

An area quietly slumbering in the valleys of the Coromandel. It is all too easy to keep on driving through the gorge on your way to the Coromandel hot spots of Hot Water Beach, Whitianga and Coromandel township. The tumbling river below and the regenerating bush should tempt you to stop and explore. The rich history and charm of the cycling trails and short walks is stunning.

  1. KAUAERANGA VALLEY (THAMES)

Beautiful conservation reserve where walks range from short easy strolls and multiple day hikes. The Kauaeranga Valley is east of Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula.

WHAT TO SEE ON THE HISTORIC 19TH CENTURY KAUAERANGA GORGE LOGGING TRAILS?

The  Kauaeranga Gorge was an area exposed to extensive logging in the 19th century. Using axe, saw and timber jack, thousands of massive kauri trees were felled, trimmed, cut to length and transported to streams, and rivers via log chutes or along skidded roads. Dams and tramlines were constructed to extract the fallen logs. By the late 1920’s most of the kauri had been logged. Bush camps, tramlines and relics of the logging area were abandoned.  Today there are extensive walking trails exploring regenerating bush and the historic physical artefacts of this era.

Kauaeranga Valley, Coromandel, New Zealand @Kathrin & Stefan Marks
Kauaeranga Valley @Kathrin & Stefan Marks
Kahikatea walk Nature, New Zealand @Duane Schroeder Photography
Kahikatea walk Nature @Duane Schroeder Photography
  1. KAHIKATEA WALK TO MODEL DAM (KAUAERANGA VALLEY)

This walk starts opposite the main entrance to the Visitor Centre, passing through native plantings to the one-third replica kauri driving dam. The path crosses the dam as far as an old water race. You will need to retrace your steps to the Visitor Centre car park. There is a New Zealand-based ‘Treasure Hunt’ on this track. An information sheet is available from the Visitor Centre. This is a fascinating walk for families and visitors interested in heritage trails.

  • Length: 1km
  • Duration: 40 minutes
  • Grade: Easy
  1. Nature walk to Hoffman’s Pool  (KAUAERANGA VALLEY)

Information panels along this easy walk introduce you to the valley’s native trees and shrubs. Look for the old water supply intake that once fed Thames township and associated stamper batteries. Hoffman’s Pool is a great place for a picnic and a summer swim.

  • Length: 500m (loop)
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Grade: Easy
Hoffman's Pool, New Zealand @Cape Reinga Hoffman's Pool @Cape Reinga
Hoffman's Pool, New Zealand @Cape Reinga Hoffman's Pool @Cape Reinga
  1. Jasper Creek  (KAUAERANGA VALLEY)

This walk starts at Hotoritori Campsite and passes through regenerating tōtara, rimu, tōwai, and kahikatea, with several varieties of fungi and ground orchids growing alongside. The walk finishes back at the campsite.

  • Length: 500m (loop)
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Grade: Easy
Hotoritori Campsite, New Zealand @rankers
Hotoritori Campsite @rankers

WHERE IS KAUAERANGA VALLEY, NEW ZEALAND?

Kauaeranga Valley is located east of Thames, a regional town, Coromandel Peninsula.

The Kauaeranga Visitor Centre (13 km up the Kauaeranga Valley) is the main point of contact for track, hut and camping information, with 24-hr information panels under the covered veranda. The Visitor Centre has seasonal opening days and hours. Hut tickets, hut bookings and retail items such as maps, books and other conservation-related material are available, as well as displays and an audio visual of the area’s kauri logging days. Public conservation land within the valley is managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Check the TRAVEL PACK SECTION for KAUAERANGA VALLEY DOC BROCHURE.

  1. TAIRUA HISTORY TRAIL

Tairua means two tides and has been settled for hundreds of years.  In the recent past Kauri milling and gold prospecting have radically altered the landscape.  Today Tairua is a holiday destination with a summer peak season.  There are two short walks either exploring Tairua’s heritage past with plaques describing events at each site or walk south over the Pepe stream bridge is wheelchair accessible.

  • Length: 1 – 2 km
  • Duration: Variable
  • Facilities: Cafes and shop and beach facilities along the walk

NOTE

Tairua walks in the Coromandel Forest Park.

Tairua estuary low tide, Coromandel, New Zealand
Tairua estuary low tide
Broken Hills, Coromandel, New Zealand @Shellie Evans
Broken Hills @Shellie Evans

Broken Hills walking tracks: Coromandel Forest Park, Coromandel region

Broken Hills Recreation Area

A range of bush walking tracks of varying distances are located within the DOC managed Broken Hills area of the old gold mining settlement of Puketui in Hikuai. Relics of the past mining era can still be seen on the walks, and the Broken Hills Gorge also provides opportunities for a refreshing swim in the waterhole.  The easy walking tracks range from five minutes to 10 hours and include the Golden Hills Battery, Broken Hills Battery, Puketui Walk, Water Race Tunnel Track, and Collins Dr Loop.

TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION

The journey is worth it.

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