Where much of Auckland goes on holiday, and justifiably so, for the Coromandel Peninsula is a beautiful microcosm of some of the best of New Zealand. Home to stunning beaches, lovely views, historic sights (by New Zealand’s brief standards), and super twisty roads, all just a few hours from Auckland.
As usual I prefer the less obvious spots. I’m a big fan of the west coast and inland, over the more popular (due to it’s many glorious sandy beaches) east coast.
Personally I think it’s hard to beat Coromandel Town and the surrounding area. It has character, great restaurants and cafes (Pepper Tree and Driving Creek Cafe being favourites), lovely views from Wyuna Bay Road, and the enjoyable Driving Creek Railway.
Heading inland there are some impressive Kauri trees remaining at Kauri Grove and Square Kauri.
Things get a little wild, with perilous roads, up north to Port Charles and Stony Bay, off limits to hire vehicles for understandable reasons.
Thames is home to the mildly diverting Thames School of Mines, some nice old buildings, and scenic views from William Hall Reserve Arboretum, including the huge Toyota refurbishment plant in town.
On the road between Thames and Coromandel are the somewhat interesting sights of the Tropical Butterfly House and Rapaura Watergardens.
And finally a selection of rather pleasant beaches, getting increasingly more popular from the near empty expanses of Kauotutu, Black Jack Scenic Reserve, Opito Bay, to the heaving (by New Zealand standards) Hahei Beach over a long weekend.
I’ve missed out three of the most famous / popular beaches, Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach and New Chums Beach. Been close to but not to them for various reasons. Not overly fussed though, touch of beach fatigue has set in after so much travel.