10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© NZPocketGuide.com
10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel

© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Free (and Cheap) Activities on the Coromandel Peninsula

We know that any ways to cut the costs while travelling New Zealand are welcome. Luckily, the Coromandel Peninsula is full of natural and historical attractions that are either free or have a cheap admission fee. From picture-perfect waterfalls to breathtaking beaches, saying there is enough to see is an understatement. In between, check out historic mining tunnels, visit a New Zealand farm and more, all for an irresistibly affordable fee. We go through some of the highlights in this list of free and cheap things to do in the Coromandel!

For more budget tips, check out The Guide to the Coromandel on a Budget.

1. Check Out Cathedral Cove – FREE

We know it’s on your bucket list anyway, so let’s get started with Cathedral Cove and how to visit it for free. The stunning white cliffs and coastal arches are a picture-perfect reason to take a look, which is accessible on a free walk at the northern end of Hahei Beach. Starting from the end of Grange Road, the walk is an easy 1h30min return walk to Cathedral Cove. Note that the car park here is closed during summer (1 October to 30 April), so you will need to park at the entrance of Hahei village instead and walk along Hahei Beach to get to the walk.

Location: Grange Road, Hahei.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© Unsplash

2. Visit Waiau Falls and the Kauri Grove – FREE

Moving onto some free things to do in the Coromandel that you might not have heard of, we recommend discovering some of the Coromandel’s amazing kauri forests. There are a few excellent sights along the 309 Road between Coromandel Town and Whitianga, Waiau Falls and the Kauri Grove Lookout Walk. 7km (4 miles) along the 309 Road from Coromandel Town is a super short walk to the picturesque swimming hole, Waiau Falls. A further 1km (0.6 miles) up the road is the Kauri Grove Lookout Walk, a 30-minute return stroll to a magnificent stand of mature kauri trees.

Location: The 309 Road between Coromandel Town and Whitianga.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© NZPocketGuide.com

3. See the Birds at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre – FREE/CHEAP

On your way to the Coromandel, either on your way in or out from Auckland, don’t miss the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre. At the Shorebird Centre, learn about the rare wading and shorebirds that live here. Then head to the Robert Finlay Reserve to see the birds for yourself, particularly thousands of wrybill which are unique to New Zealand. Entry to the Shorebird Centre and Reserve is free but a donation is welcome to fund conservation efforts.

Location: 283 East Coast Road, Miranda.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© Wildlife Travel on Flickr

4. Dig Your Own Hot Pool at Hot Water Beach – FREE/CHEAP

Also on your must-do list for the Coromandel has to be Hot Water Beach. While it’s free to visit the beach and dig your own hot pool in the sand at low tide, we recommend doing this activity with a spade. And while most of us don’t travel with a spade, you’ll need to hire one from either the local store or the Hot Water Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park, costing around NZ$5. Find the digging spot in front of the rocky outcrop on the beach, only accessible at low tide.

Location: The main car park is along Pye Place, just south of Hahei.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Visit the Mercury Bay Museum – CHEAP

Don’t worry, you can still get your fix of small-town New Zealand museums in the Coromandel! The Mercury Bay Museum can be found in Whitianga, where you can learn about the early Maori navigator, Kupe, see Maori artefacts, learn about kauri timber and gum and much more. Admission is only around NZ$5 for adults and free for children. –

Location: 11a The Esplanade, Whitianga.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© Unsplash

6. Feed the Animals at Whiti Farm Park – CHEAP

Families and animal-lovers alike love spending a couple of hours at the Whiti Farm Park in Whitianga. Meet and hand-feed around 40 different species of farm animals, as well as enjoy a short bushwalk, and check out the farm machinery, train, fire engine and more. Admission is only around NZ$10 for adults and around NZ$7 for children. Plus, bring an extra couple of dollars for bags of animal feed. See more activities like this in the 10 Things to Do in the Coromandel with Kids.

Location: 2414 Tairua Whitianga Road, approximately a 10-minute drive south of Whitianga.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© NZPocketGuide.com

7. Delve Underground at the Thames Goldmine Experience – CHEAP

The Coromandel has a rich gold mining history, where you’ll have many opportunities to see the evidence of – especially in the Karangahake Gorge and it walks, which is a bonus free thing to do in the Coromandel. But we digress, the Thames Goldmine Experience is a fun, educational and cheap activity costing only around NZ$15 per adult and NZ$5 for kids to take a tour of an underground mine. You can also try your luck at gold panning!

Location: Corner of Moanataiari Road and State Highway 25, Thames.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© Unsplash

8. Camp, See a Waterfall and Some Mine Shafts in the Wentworth Valley – FREE

While the town of Whangamata might be more famous for its sweeping 4,000m- (13,000ft-) long beach, but a real hidden gem of the area is the Wentworth Valley. The 2h30mins return Wentworth Falls Track takes you to a fantastic view of the falls and its two tiers of drops, each about 20m (70ft) high. There’s also the Mines Walk, a 30-minute one-way walk through native forest to see two mine shafts. A Department of Conservation campsite is also in the vicinity, should you want to stay longer. Check out more walks in the 16 Awesome Hikes in The Coromandel.

Location: Wentworth Valley Road, Whangamata.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© NZPocketGuide.com

9. Soak in the Miranda Hot Springs – CHEAP

Relax and unwind in the natural mineral hot pools of the Miranda Hot Springs. One of the cheapest hot pool complexes in the Coromandel at around NZ$15 admission for adults, the pools include a large geothermal swimming pool, a children’s pool and an adult-only sauna pool. Temperatures of the pools range from 36°C to 41°C (97-106°F), while the kiddies pool is a little cooler. There’s also a jumping pillow, playground and games room for more ways to keep kids entertained.

Location: Front Miranda Road, Miranda.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© NZPocketGuide.com

10. Do Some Beach-hopping – FREE

Finally, a must when road tripping around the Coromandel is some beach-hopping. There is no lack of beaches in the Coromandel so just take your pick from the 10 Coromandel Beaches You Can’t Miss. New Chum Beach is an adventure to get to and is arguably one of the most picturesque beaches in the Coromandel. Pauanui Beach is a local favourite with a fantastic lookout point from the Pauanui Trig Track. And, Whangamata Beach is a good option for hiring kayaks, surfboards and SUP boards.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel© Unsplash

More About the Coromandel on a Budget

That’s it for our list of cheap and free things to do in Coromandel. For more free stuff, check out the 50 Best Free Things to Do in New Zealand.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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