Coromandel Sights & Beaches
The Coromandel Peninsula is one of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets. It is an area of beautiful golden sand beaches and magnificent native forests. Our five day Coromandel Tour incorporates some of the best sights and beaches of the area, including Rapaura Water Gardens, Driving Creek Railway, Matarangi, Buffalo Beach, Whitianga, Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach, and Whangamata, all while travelling at a leisurely and relaxed pace.
Sunday 8 March – Thursday 12 March 2020 (5 Days)
Day 1 Sunday 8 March 2020 – HOME CITIES TO COROMANDEL TOWN (D)
We commence our tour by travelling to Thames, where we will join on to the Pacific Coast Highway, along the western coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. After morning tea in Thames we travel to Rapaura Water Gardens to experience the tranquil beauty of their gardens. There is something for everyone at Rapaura Watergardens including native trees, ferns, rhododendrons, orchids, irises and bog plants while scores of hydrangeas feature in the summer. Meandering walks across lawns over bridges and streams and through native bush lead to a cascading waterfall. There is a café available on site for you to purchase your lunch. After lunch, we depart Thames and continue our journey. The road to Coromandel Town clings to the edge of the coast. We’ll enjoy amazing views and a constant procession of beautiful beaches fringed with Pohutukawa trees. Formerly a gold-mining and timber town, Coromandel is now a haven for artists, craftspeople and conservationists. Arriving in the afternoon there will be time for you to explore the town before our group dinner at a local restaurant in town.
Accommodation: Anchor Lodge, Coromandel Town
Day 2 Monday 9 March 2020 – COROMANDEL TOWN TO WHITIANGA (BD)
Departing our motel this morning, we’ll stop in town to purchase something to eat for lunch later today, and then travel the short distance to Driving Creek Railway. Enjoy a scenic ride in this open-sided Driving Creek Railway train on its 3km narrow gauge track with 3 tunnels, 2 spirals, 5 reversing points and 6 viaducts originally constructed to retrieve clay for the local potter Barry Brickell. It now provides a wonderful ride through the thick regenerating Coromandel bush with a fantastic view at the mountain top terminus (The Eyefull Tower!). Departing Driving Creek Railway we travel to the small coastal settlement of Matarangi. Matarangi is the secluded sand spit that forms the northern edge of the Whangapoua Harbour. There will be time to stretch legs for those who want to stroll along the beach, bring your togs and enjoy a swim, or you can just sit back and soak in the lovely ocean views. We’ll also include our lunch stop here. We continue our journey to Whitianga via the small settlement of Kuaotunu. On arrival in Whitianga, there will be the option of walking along the shores of Buffalo Beach into the town centre. For those not wishing to walk along the beach, your driver will take you into the town centre. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. You may wish to soak up the underground thermal minerals at The Lost Spring (additional cost). Tonight we will reconvene in town for a group dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodation: Admiralty Lodge, Whitianga – 2 nights
Day 3 Tuesday 10 March 2020 – CATHEDRAL COVE AND HOT WATER BEACH (B)
This morning we travel by coach to Hahei, which is where we can access the world-famous stunning scenery at Cathedral Cove. Accessible only on foot or boat, famous Cathedral Cove is one of the “must visit” sites on The Coromandel. Today you have the option of walking (45 mins to 1-hour walk one way, 2.5km) This coastal walk takes you past quintessential Coromandel scenery of pohutukawa trees and white sandy beaches. As well as Cathedral Cove itself, there are many beautiful places to explore along the way including Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay. For those who do not wish to walk, we will ride the Cathedral Cove Water Taxi to Cathedral Cove. We will travel back to Hahei as a group on board the water taxi. On arrival back in Hahei, we will have time to purchase lunch in the village before travelling to Hot Water Beach. Tides permitting, time will be available here for those wanting to bathe your feet in the warm water. We then travel to Cooks Beach where you have the option of catching the short ferry ride back to Whitianga and walking back to our accommodation or you can travel back via coach with the driver. The remainder of the afternoon, including dinner, is at leisure.
Day 4 Wednesday 11 March 2020 – WHITIANGA TO WHANGAMATA (BD)
Today we depart Whitianga and travel south along the Pacific Coast Highway to Tairua, one of the best-kept secrets of the Coromandel. Here we will have time to browse the village, which offers a charming taste of the laid-back coastal lifestyle with a nice mix of boutique shops. We then travel the short distance to the settlement of Pauanui. Pauanui is a purpose-built holiday community, which lies across the harbour from Tairua. It features Pauanui Waterways, the country’s first canal housing development. We will take a drive around the village before stopping for lunch (own cost) in the village centre. After lunch, we continue driving along the Pacific Coast Highway to the popular beach resort of Whangamata. Famous for its unique combination of beach and rainforest, Whangamata’s amazing ocean beach provides some of the best surfing breaks, yet safest swimming in the country. We will have time available here for an afternoon cuppa along the beachfront, before having time to browse through the local shops. From here we check into our accommodation for the evening. Dinner tonight will be at the Whangamata RSA.
Accommodation: Palm Pacific Motel & Resort, Whangamata
Day 5 Thursday 12 March 2020 – WHANGAMATA TO HOME CITIES (B)
Today we’ll travel to Waihi Beach to enjoy a lovely walk to Orokawa Bay. It’ll take us around 45 minutes to walk through the lush dense bush and descend down into Orokawa Bay. Enjoy the sounds of birdlife as we pass by towering pohutukawa trees, kauri, puriri and native nikau palm trees. There will be stunning views of the coastline and the Pacific Ocean during this walk, including a bird’s eye view over Waihi Beach. This is an easy to moderate walk but it is hilly so wear sturdy walking shoes. A stunning beach awaits our arrival at Orokawa Bay. Fringed with pohutukawa trees and clear blue waves rolling ashore, this is a great spot for a picnic. This is approximately a 2.7km walk. After our walk, we’ll visit one of the local cafes for you to purchase your lunch. For those not wishing to do the walk, there will be some time to sit back and enjoy the views of Waihi Beach, and then your driver will transfer you into the town centre to explore the shops and purchase lunch. Our final journey on this tour will be travelling through the Karangahake Gorge and back to Hamilton.