The Coromandel Peninsula combines beautiful beaches and stunning coastlines with lush forests and a dramatic mountain range. About 30% of the Coromandel Peninsula's land is managed by DOC, so walkers are spoilt for choice, with options ranging from easy walks along the coast to longer overnight or multi-day tramps. Many spots on the coast are great for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking or just lazing about on the beach. Historic attractions include magnificent pa (Maori fortified village) sites, gold mining relics and remains from the kauri timber industry, such as dams and tramways.
Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve
Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve and Cathedral Cove recreation reserve have some of New Zealand's most spectacular scenery and provides the opportunity for land and water based recreational pursuits. The coastal and island boundaries of the Marine Reserve are marked by yellow poles and all marine life within the reserve boundaries is protected.
A walking track (1.5 - 2 hours return) takes you to some of New Zealand's most spectacular coastal scenery. Access via the Cathedral Cove car park or Hahei Beach (allow a further 25 minutes each way for the latter). You have a choice of bays to visit: Gemstone Bay has a unique snorkel trail of four buoys that illustrate the marine habitats and species that live in the water below. Stingray Bay, a little further on, has a sandy beach and is good for swimming and snorkelling.
At the southern end of this beach, the Wharekawa Harbour Sand Spit Reserve protects a nesting area for the endangered NZ dotterel. Take care not to enter fenced off areas as they protect well camouflaged eggs that lie in shallow scrapes in the sand. Dogs and vehicles are prohibited.
Puketui Valley Road gives access to fishing, swimming, canoeing, and camping opportunities as well as a range of tracks and walks. The scenery boasts impressive rock outcrops. Relics from the former gold mining and kauri logging era still exist, with easy access for viewing. Please keep to the track to avoid dangerous mine shafts in the area.
Tracks & Walks
Numerous attractive and popular opportunities for tracks and walks are available for visitors within the Coromandel peninsula region.
Visitors to the Coromandel Peninsula can enjoy a range of activities that include swimming, diving, fishing, walking, canoeing, rafting, bird watching, picnicking, camping and historic walks.
Permits are required for hunting pigs and goats on DOC land and should be carried at all times while hunting. You can get permits from the Department of Conservation. Hunters are advised to check pesticide summaries available on this website or from the Kauaeranga Visitor Centre, Coromandel Field Centre (mornings only) and Hauraki Area office. Contact Kauaeranga Visitor Centre for more detailed information.
The Hotoritori area, in the Kauaeranga Valley, is generally available for horse riding and horse riders may also use off-road vehicle tracks at Maratoto.
The Coromandel mountain bike track is suited for more experienced bikers is located between Fletcher Bay and Stony Bay at the top of the Peninsula. A steep ascent and descent from either end takes you through bush and farmland. Mountain biking is also permitted on certain tracks in the Kauaeranga Valley and Maratoto Valley.
Three tracks have been set aside for off-roaders at the end of Wires Road at Maratoto, 28 km south-east of Thames. One of these is specifically for motorcycles. Sometimes the gate is locked and intending users should phone +64 27 524 2132 to check whether the track is open.
Note: The gate is closed to off-roaders from 23 May 2011 to enable repairs to the track to be undertaken over the winter.
The Coromandel is ideal for rock fishing, small boat fishing and fishing around the mussel farms. Boats can be launched off the beach from Port Jackson, Fletcher Bay, Waikawau Bay and Stony Bay campgrounds. On-site camp managers during the summer seasons are usually a good source of 'local fishing info' and are happy to pass on information about the best spots and baits for the time of year.
Places to Stay
The range of options you can choose from on the Coromandel Peninsula include a DOC hut, a bach, a coastal campground or a backpackers which you can book online.
The Coromandel Peninsula is about 2 hr drive southeast of Auckland, and about 1 hr 30 min drive northeast of Hamilton.
From Auckland head south on State Highway 1, the Southern Motorway, then at Pokeno turn left on to State Highway 2. Follow State Highway 2 south until south of Maramarua where you turn left onto State Highway 25. This will bring you to the Kopu Bridge, the entrance to the Coromandel Peninsular. After the bridge turn left to head towards Thames and the west coast of the Peninsula or turn right to follow State Highway 25A to the east coast.
Plan & Prepare
Loud noise and obscene language will not be tolerated and offenders may face prosecution.
Remember to treat the natural environment and all who live in it with care.
Keep all vehicles off beaches.
Leave gates as you find them and respect any access restrictions.
The marine environment is very fragile and vulnerable to over-harvesting, so take only what you need and no more than the legal limit. Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.