Coromandel, Place to Chill Out
Located only one and a half hours travel from Auckland Airport, the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Coromandel Peninsula has a rugged range of mountains covered in natural rainforest running down the length of the peninsula.
Around a three-hour drive from Auckland, the peninsula is rich with natural splendour, as is most of the country, offering breathtaking scenery as soon as you arrive. It’s a fairly lengthy walk downhill to reach the sand, but it’s richly rewarding. Even in hot weather, the beaches never really feel overcrowded, and more often than not, you’ll have a fair amount of sandy real estate all to yourself.
Activities and attractions are plentiful, from fishing and diving to hiking and cycling. You might choose skydiving in Whitianga or a guided sea kayak tour around the coast. For the more adventurous there’s Sleeping God Canyon, a 300m vertical descent down a set of waterfalls.
The Coromandel is a walker’s paradise. Explore the relics from the area’s gold mining heritage, follow the Karangahake Gorge and Coromandel Coastal Walkway, hike the Pinnacles, or hop on your bike and cycle the Hauraki Rail Trail. Or simply sit and relax in a warm bubbling pool at Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own spa two hours either side of low tide. Don’t miss the spectacular Cathedral Cove, the jewel of a protected marine reserve.
In the nineteenth century there was a flourishing industry in timber, kauri gum, and gold mining. When this market ended, the region developed as a farming, fishing and tourist destination. Today the region consists of a number of small towns including Thames and Whitianga, all linked by the Pacific Coast Highway. The Pacific Coast Highway links Auckland with the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Eastland and Hawkes Bay. From there it is easy to either travel on to Wellington, or travel back through Taupo and Rotorua to Auckland.
Staying in The Coromandel is easy. Most of the accommodation providers have found themselves spectacular locations so whether your tastes are for the upmarket or the simple, you’ll find a room – or tent site – with an amazing view. It’s just over an hour from Auckland airport, Rotorua and Hobbiton, and can be reached by road, air, or ferry.
There are plenty more beachside options while kicking it on the North Island. If you’ve got the time, look into renting a bach (pronounced batch, it’s what Kiwis call a beach house). Black sand beaches are another unique experience, one of the best is Anawhata, a short drive west of Auckland. It’s invariably quiet, and the scale of it is stunning.