What sets apart the Coromandel to the rest of New Zealand's North Island is the contrast between its rugged, rainforest terrain and idyllic coastline. Hugging the coast and extending over 52 miles north from the western end of the Bay of Plenty, its beauty is no secret and this picturesque and unspoiled peninsula attracts tens of thousands of people every summer. With only five towns on the peninsula having populations over 1,
000 (including Coromandel, Whitianga, Thames Tairua and Whanhamata which are all well-worth a visit), exploring the peninsular is all about enjoying the great outdoors and natural beauty of New Zealand, and the charm of small town and villages.
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A key attraction in the Coromandel Peninsula is infinitely-Instagrammable Cathedral Cove. You'll need to walk or catch a boat from Hahei Beach to this naturally formed limestone archway but we think that this wonder deserves all of the attention it receives and is worth the journey. Bring a long a picnic and relax in this tranquil setting.
If you are after an unusual activity, book a guided kayak tour from Whangamata Beach and cruise out to Whenuakura, better known as the Donut Island. This hidden treasure has dreamy beaches, turquoise waters, and an unusual and beautiful collapsed blowhole at its centre, giving it its namesake doughnut shape. This was, until recently, a mostly local haunt but has quickly become a must-do for visitors to the Coromandel.
If walking and outdoors adventuring is your thing, the Coromandel coastal walkway in the remote northern part of the peninsula is an untouched and spectacular part of the country to explore on foot. Alternatively, consider walking the Pinnacles Walk across a stunning mountain range, rated as one of New Zealand's most popular overnight walks; ideal for catching a stunning sunset or sunrise.
If you are after a more relaxed vibe there are plenty of leisurely activities such as the Hauraki Rail Trail – which showcases some amazing scenery on its 85-mile trail. It is fantastic for a family day out with the kids to see nature in a fun and exciting way. There are plenty of activities on the beach too, such as on Hot Water Beach where, within a two-hour window either side of low tide, you can grab a spade and dig yourself your very own natural spa. This surreal experience will have you relaxing in your own golden sand crater in a bath of hot water on a beach.
The Coromandel Peninsula is an active travellers heaven with fishing, diving, hiking and cycling, but one of favourite activities is a a guided kayak tour around the coast.