Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel Peninsula is a must-see spot on the North Island. Whether you want to go for a pretty drive, a short walk, a long day hike, relax on the beach, snorkel, swim, kayak, paddle board, sail, enjoy a coffee with a view of a pretty harbor, taste fresh mussels, or sit in a hot, self-made jacuzzi on Hot Water Beach, this area really has something for everyone.

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During our time here, we drove from the campsite to Hahei to access the Cathedral Cove Coastal walk, which is about a 35-40 minute walk along the bluffs and through the forest to Cathedral Cove and a couple other stunning bays and beaches. There is a great lookout at the beginning of the trail, with panoramic views of the area.

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On the peninsula, the water is pristine, and has gorgeous green/blue hues.

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The views and beaches aren’t too shabby either.

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We got a bit of rain on our hike to Cathedral Cove and intermittently on the beach, but it was still spectacular. I can only imagine how great it would be on a clear, sunny day.

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If you like water sports (kayaking or paddle boarding), I would recommend seeing this part of the coast via one of those transportation options. You would be able to visit various caves, coves, and islands this way, as well as potentially avoid some crowds. The weather wasn’t great, so we opted for the land route. I don’t think you can go wrong either way, depending on what suits your interests.

FYI: The kayak rentals in Hahei are by guided tour only, but it is possible to hire your own kayak in Cooks Beach or in Whitianga.

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If you are looking to explore more of the area, the drive up to the very north of the peninsula is apparently stunning. Due to time constraints and because we had spent a significant amount of time in the car over the last few days, we decided to drive over to Whitianga and on to the town of Coromandel instead.  To be honest, the town of Coromandel seemed to be over-hyped. The drive was pretty, but there isn’t much there.

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We preferred Whitianga over the town of Coromandel.

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After a day spent exploring the peninsula, we headed back to campsite to experience Hot Water Beach. The best time to dig a hole and soak in the hot after is the 2 hours before or after the low tide (there will be one in the morning and one in the afternoon/evening).

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It can get pretty crowded, so the later in the evening you go might be a better experience. It took a bit of time for us to find a spot, but once we combined efforts with a German couple, we were able to snag a spot and enjoy a soak and a good chat. One piece of advice…the water can be scalding (i.e. feet burning in some spots when digging the hole), so it’s best to have a shovel and a bucket to add in a bit of sea water to even out the temperature. Shovels can be rented from the cafe near the beach, but I believe those are $10. The one we rented from the campground was $5.00.

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One last recommendation I have for this area would be to save some time to hike the Pinnacles. It’s a 7-8 hour time commitment, and a good hike, but we heard from multiple locals that it is a stunning view of the area, and well worth the trek. The weather wasn’t extremely cooperative during our time here, so we opted to skip this hike because we didn’t think the time commitment would be worth it if we didn’t have clear views.

No matter what you chose to do in this area, it is well worth a visit, as the drive through the peninsula itself is gorgeous. It only gets better once you stop to explore.

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4 Comments

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  2. Pingback: Pancake Rocks! | Fit To Wander

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