Coromandel Peninsula

Looking out from the "cathedral" in Cathedral Cove

The Coromandel Peninsula is on the north-eastern coast of the North Island of New Zealand. There are fabulous golden and white sand beaches with magnificent coastal scenery and a rugged, forest cloaked interior waiting to be explored.

This peninsula separates the Hauraki Gulf and coasts around Auckland from the Bay of Plenty. It is a popular holiday destination, so it can get very busy (for New Zealand) during the summer months.



Evidence of some of the earliest Polynesian settlement in New Zealand exists on the Coromandel. Historical interest points exist around every corner, telling the stories of the two great navigators Kupe and Cook and those who followed in their footsteps.

Captain Cook visited the area in 1769 and observed the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun hence the names of some of the region's beaches and bays - Mercury Bay and Cook's Beach.

In the nineteenth century the peninsula teemed with human activity associated with the exploitation of timber, gold and kauri gum. Eventually the kauri and the accessible gold were exhausted and the gum market destroyed. The Coromandel lapsed into an economic and social decline that was eventually halted by the gradual growth of farming, fishing, horticulture and tourism. The land slowly "mended" and a new era of people moved into the area, one that valued the environment. Thirty four percent of the land on the peninsula is now administered by the Department of Conservation.

The Coromandel is a rich and colourful creative hub with many studios and galleries showcasing some of New Zealand's most talented artists’ work. It is also a very popular place to retire; 27 percent of the Coromandel's permanent residents are aged 65 or over.

Get in

Thames, the gateway to the Coromandel, is located within an hour and a half drive of the major centres of Auckland (115 km) and Hamilton (107 km) and their airports, and yet the region is a world away from the hustle and bustle of those cities.

Get around

There are a variety of ways to get around including bus, taxi and hiring your own car or bike.

Hire a yacht and sail around the Coromandel Peninsula!


Hot Water Beach


The unique landscape and relaxed lifestyle attract many Kiwi and international visitors and there is plenty to do in the Coromandel and plenty to learn about.

The Coromandel is a walker's paradise with many coastal walkways and inland bush walks ranging from several hours to several days. Huge kauris that were saved from the loggers' saws still remain and can easily be viewed.

Many artists and craftspeople have made the Coromandel their home, inspired by the region's idyllic setting. Visitors can follow an arts and crafts trail from one side of the peninsula to the other following the popular Pacific Coast Highway.

Other tourism operators have established themselves to take advantage of the clear waters and many kilometres of coastline and islands surrounding the Coromandel. Choose from the numerous water activities available - fishing, sailing, kayaking, snorkelling or swimming.


Cathedral Cove arch

Thames, the biggest town, has the best range of shopping.


Local fare


Stop in at Thames and visit the historic pubs.

Go next

The Bay of Plenty including Tauranga and Mount Maunganui is 1.4 hr from Whangamata and 1.7 hr from Thames.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 05, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.