The Coromandel – Pristine Beaches, Native Forests & Laid-Back Vibe
Just a few hours east of Auckland, New Zealand, lies the lush and scenic Coromandel. This mountainous peninsula beckons travelers in search of adventure, exploration, and relaxation!
The Coromandel is a wonderland of natural attractions. Its forested mountain range adorned with plenty of walking trails, its pristine white sandy beaches punctuated by secret coves, and its perfect surfing spots make The Coromandel a real paradise, definitely different from the rest of holiday destinations in New Zealand.
A quick six kilometres up from the town Whangamata is the appealing Coromandel beach of Onemana. Upon arriving at the Onemana, you’ll be struck by the awesome view of the ocean and nearby islands – the Slipper, Penguin and Rabbit Islands otherwise known as the Slipper group – all visible from this golden sandy crescent-shaped beach. At one end of this stunning beach you’ll find a rocky area perfect for snorkeling. You’ll feel as though you’ve stumbled upon a secret hidden gem that nobody has ever discovered before! But wait – it gets even better. This perfect paradise scene is complete with a small waterfall cascading down from the rocky cliffs and towards the north side of the pretty beach, as well as a freshwater stream meandering through the grassy hills and flowing all the way to the sea.
Onemana is one of the best places in The Coromandel to get a little fishing in, as well as diving, snorkeling and surfing, in fact it’s one of the more overlooked areas and less crowded.
You’ll find all the necessities nearby, such as a well stocked dairy and grocery store, a restaurant as well as various small crafts shops. Onemana also has a chalet style motel, condominiums and a handful of privately owned and operated vacation rentals. You’ll also find a spa pool complex featuring swimming pool and barbecue areas, two tennis courts and a modest children’s playground on its expansive reserve along the beach.
104 The Grove, Onemana 3691, New Zealand
Tel: +64 7-865 8623
Onemana Kiwi Bach
107 Oratia Place, Onemana, Coromandel
The Hula Hut (Bachcare)
Russell Bruce Place, Onemana
Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve, Gemstone Bay, and Many Islands
Located on the Coromandel, Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve – or Te Whanganui-a-Hei as it is called in Maori – this picturesque reserve follows Hahei Beach running all the way to Cook Bluff Scenic Reserve.
Along the way to Cathedral Cove, snorkeling fans will be delighted to find Gemstone Bay – an excellent snorkeling site! Swim out to a series of buoys marking what sorts of sights you can expect to see at that particular location – for example, buoy number three tells snorkelers they can find marble fish, red moki and butterfish lurking about in the seaweed world below. Each buoy is positioned in accordance with the different habitats that make up Gemstone Bay. The remarkable sponge gardens and reef systems entice willing scuba divers to come and check out this attractive region of the Coromandel, as do the crayfish, and the black angel fish that hide in the crevices of the reefs that make up the ecosystem around Mahurangi Island. It’s easier here to discover all of the delicate corals that are usually only found in much deeper waters, and red moki and starfish make their homes among the rocks and seaweed while the leather-jackets pick off the smaller animals in the bay. Come take a closer look and see them for yourself!
Take an exhilarating Cathedral Cove kayak tour, and experience first hand the beauty and wonder of this natural paradise in ways that just can’t be accessed by foot!
Cathedral Cove Kayak Tours
Address: 88 Hahei Beach Rd, Hahei 3591, New Zealand
Tel: 0064 7 8663877
Kayaking is the ultimate way to explore Cathedral Cove – so get your swimsuit on and join in the fun! There are a number of different tours available, such as the “Big Day In The Bay” tour which brings you out for an unforgettable full day of sightseeing. Explore beaches, caves, islands and blowholes that are otherwise nearly impossible to get to. There’s the “Family Classic” tour, which is suitable for all ages and allows children to safely accompany their parents on a kayaking adventure. The “Remote Coast Tour” will take you out on the waters for 3 full hours of exploration along areas of the coastline rarely seen by most travellers. Sunset and Sunrise kayak tours are exactly what they sound like, and they will let you experience the majesty of this breathtaking natural utopia painted in colours of red, pink, orange and gold.
Wentworth Valley Walks and Campgrounds
Heading south from Whangamata, you’ll come across a road taking you down the Coromandel into the rural Wentworth Valley and into a serene campground. The quiet and peaceful surroundings were once a bustling and busy gold mining settlement, with hundreds of workers, their families, homes, schools and shops. The modern site is now home to a tent and motor home camping area along a gorgeous riverbed, and close to several trails that bring the intrepid hiker close to many early mining relics, gorgeous vistas and spectacular waterfalls. Cross the Wentworth River, climb hills, pass through the forest and along the base of the steep hillside. There exist two short mine shafts that aren’t accessible but are visible from the path, as well as piles of rock and earth removed from many of the mines in the area. The path will lead you down to the stream on the other side of the picnic ground, and if you’re a more experienced hiker seeking a bit of a workout, you can always connect with some of the other tracks coming out of the Maratoto Valley on the Coromandel Range’s opposite side – the journey from the Wentworth Valley all the way inland to the Maratoto Valley is a five hour trip going one way! So come and check out Wentworth Valley – jump in a swimming hole, discover the alcoves, and wide open spaces suitable for games and kids activities.
Wentworth Valley Campground
Address: 474 Wentworth Valley Road, Whangamata, 0361, New Zealand
Tel:+64 7-865 7032
- Gas BBQ’s are available
- Fresh water supply included
- Toilet facilities
- Food preparation and cleaning areas – keep the area clean!
- Hot and cold running showers
- Powered camper van sites are an option
- Native bush walks in the lush forest
- Waterfalls – bring a camera and see these amazing falls!
- Freshwater swimming areas
- Dogs are always welcome – remember to clean up after your pet!
This stunning region of the Coromandel Forest Park features more than twenty walking tracks through native forest ranging anywhere from twenty minute leisurely strolls to challenging two-day trails. Administered by the Department of Conservation, Kauaeranga Valley is the perfect place for hikers, mountain bikers and nature lovers.This rocky and rugged terrain, which include Table Mountain (846 metres) and the Pinnacles (759 metres), offer a breathtaking scenic backdrop. Crystal clear streams flow through the valleys, and a phenomenal three hundred meter waterfall topples over Sleeping Gods Canyon. The Kauaeranga River used to go by the name of “Waiwhakauaeranga” – quite a mouthful to the non-native speaker – which meant “waters of the stacked-up jaw bones.” Historians from the Ngati Maru Maori tribe affirm the name originated from a particular battle – the members making up the Ngati Maru stacked up all the jaw bones of their defeated enemies in gruesome rows along the banks of the Kauaeranga River. The area has given way to the logging industry in the early 1900s, forest regeneration for eighty years following that – producing fine specimens of kauri, many different species of ferns, rimu, totara, kahikatea and kowhai trees. Several types of native birds are now commonly spotted and heard throughout the Kauaeranga Valley.
Activities in the beautiful Kauaeranga Valley include:
- Horseback riding
- Hunting (permit required)
- Mountain biking
- Dog walking
Remote camping and hut accommodations are available for overnight stays in this spectacular region of The Coromandel. Undertaking the Pinnacles Walk, which is a trek requiring an overnight stay in the Department of Conservation Hut, is a particularly fulfilling journey for the avid hiker! A Department of Conservation visitor centre marks the entrance to the park, but be sure to call ahead for any advice before you start hiking.
Department of Conservation – Kauaeranga Visitor Centre
Address: 995 Kauaeranga Valley Rd, Waikato 3577, New Zealand
Tel: +64 7-867 9080
Hours: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Kauaeranga Valley is managed by the Department of Conservation in The Coromandel. Some tips to remember:
- Do not introduce any animals (other than bringing your own dogs or horses along with you) into the reserve
- Do not light any fires
- Take your garbage away with you when you leave
- Do not remove or disturb any artifacts or other historic remains
- Camp only in the region’s designated camping areas
The Lost Spring
You’ve done enough hiking, trekking, kayaking, climbing and diving, it’s time to relax! The Lost Spring is one of the most relaxing places in The Coromandel – treat yourself to a truly unique and relaxing New Zealand experience, by pampering yourself in the Coromandel’s luxury Thermal Springs & Day Spa.
Making its home in Whitianga – New Zealand’s “Thermal Ocean Village” – you can soak away the aches of a day’s hiking and trekking through the Coromandel and relax in style. Escape the real world for a day and come rejuvenate your spirits and allow yourself be treated like royalty. Take advantage of what this miracle of therapeutic natural thermal spring pools has to offer, and make good use of the poolside service! Indulge in mouth-watering Pacifica cuisine at The Lost Spring’s onsite Restaurant, and enjoy the available massage therapies and beauty treatments featured at the day spa. Supervised children over fourteen years of age are welcome within The Lost
Spring thermal pools.
The Lost Spring
121A Cook Drive, Whitianga, 3510, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (0)7 866 0456 Ext: 1
If you’re interested in yoga and feel the need to get away from it all for a secluded and natural holiday in The Coromandel, you won’t want to miss Ohui Retreat:
- One-Month Intensive Teaching Training
- Three-day Silent Meditation Retreats
- Yoga Revival Weekends
- Cooking Retreats
- Personal/casual retreats
- Group Stays
- Summer Holidays
Accommodations within the retreat:
The Ohui Retreat centre comprises two main buildings – the house, and an accompanying building which includes a “sadhana” room and additional accommodation. You can also find additional space on the retreat grounds for camping, giving you the option to camp outside or stay within the home. The Ohui Retreat also offers a unique opportunity to live and work as an organic farmer within the retreat, those who apply will have their application reviewed and will be contacted if they have the space and require the assistance. You are welcome to sign on for an entire summer at this relaxing and rejuvenating retreat in the Coromandel.
Opoutere Beach, Coromandel Peninsula North Island, New Zealand
Visit the New Zealand destinations category to learn more about other places to visit in New Zealand!