A Travel Guide to the Coromandel Peninsula
It’s on the bucket list for many after arriving in Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula! A North Island hotspot for stunning beaches, forests with New Zealand’s largest trees and a temperate climate, the Coromandel might be part of the Waikato region but many refer to the peninsula as a standalone destination. The Coromandel spans from the towns surrounding the Firth of Thames to Waihi and Karangahake at the south of the peninsula.
The coastal landscapes are kind of a big deal in the Coromandel, with some of the top coastal attractions in New Zealand, like Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, being located here. With that, the Coromandel is scattered with picturesque seaside towns offering a boutique shopping experience and a foodie affair through their artisans.
So, discover more about how you can experience this part of New Zealand according to your own unique travel style in this complete travel guide to the Coromandel.
Fast Facts About the Coromandel
Location: In the Waikato region of the North Island, approximately 1h15mins drive southeast of Auckland. The Coromandel Peninsula spans from the town of Kaiaua in the west to Waihi Beach in the south to all the way to the northern tip of the peninsula.
Climate: Daily average temperature – 15.2°C/59.4°F, yearly average rainfall – 1,850mm/72.8″
Find out more in What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?
Time zone: NZST / GMT+12/+13
How to get to the Coromandel: The Coromandel Peninsula is well connected to the rest of New Zealand by road, within an hour and a half drive from Auckland, Hamilton and Rotorua. The closest international airport is Auckland Airport with plenty of car rental options available where domestic flights to Whitianga take 30 minutes. There is also a 2-hour ferry from Auckland to Coromandel Town. The Coromandel is also on the main national bus route, which you can find more information about in Bus Networks in New Zealand.
What to Do in the Coromandel
The Coromandel is more than just the iconic attractions Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. The whole peninsula has many hidden gems with more gorgeous beaches, walks among the largest trees in New Zealand (kauri), as well as charming towns with fascinating mining relics.
The Top Experiences in the Coromandel
What are the must-dos? Here are some of the Coromandel highlights:
- Hike to the top of the Pinnacles for marvellous views
- See the iconic Cathedral Cove by walking or by kayak (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Dig yourself a hot pool at Hot Water Beach
- Discover the mining relics along the trails of Karangahake Gorge
- Relax on New Chum Beach or one of the other 10 Coromandel Beaches You Can’t Miss
- Do an exciting zipline tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor)…
… And the list continues over in our 22 Best Things to Do in The Coromandel.
The Best Towns to Visit in the Coromandel
Towns are scattered far and wide across the peninsula. Admittedly, it can take a while to travel between them, so make sure you visit the ones that appeal to you the most by checking out the things to do there:
Where to Stay in the Coromandel
Other than the accommodations we recommend on the righthand side of this complete travel guide to the Coromandel, we have complied entire lists of places to stay based on price, what’s best for families or a couples’ getaway, as well as premium stays. What’s more, each list is compiled by real writers; not some algorithm.
The Coromandel for Budget Travellers
Luckily for budget travellers, the main sights of the Coromandel are free, from the white cliffs of Cathedral Cove to the amazing kauri forests. Some things will cost you a small fee, like hiring a spade to dig a hot pool at Hot Water Beach or embarking on a gold mining tour, but they are well within most traveller’s budgets. As for accommodations, holiday parks are a popular choice in the Coromandel, giving campers plenty of outdoor time to enjoy the warm climate. For more tips, take a look at The Guide to the Coromandel on a Budget.
Things to Do in the Coromandel on a Budget
- Walk to Cathedral Cove
- Dig a hot pool at Hot Water Beach
- Swim at Waiau Falls then do the Kauri Grove Lookout Walk
- See rare birds at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre
- Learn about the local history at the Mercury Bay Museum.
For more ideas, take a look at the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel.
Where to Stay in the Coromandel on a Budget
The Coromandel’s main type of budget accommodation is holiday parks, all with budget cabin options, tent sites and powered sites for campervans. There are limited backpacker hostels and budget B&Bs available too. Find out more in the 10 Best Budget Accommodations in the Coromandel.
The Coromandel for Luxury Travellers
Travellers looking for a secluded escape with expansive ocean vistas, the Coromandel has the luxury stays to provide. There is a wide range of luxury accommodations that are a core part of the luxury getaway. Nevertheless, helicopter tours from Tauranga, fishing charters, sailing tours, scuba diving, etc. are ways to elevate the experience further. Learn more in The Luxury Guide to the Coromandel.
Luxury Activities in the Coromandel
- Scuba dive the famous Mercury and Alderman Islands
- Do a guided walk of the stunning Coromandel Coastal Walkway
- Try your luck on a private fishing charter (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Set sail with Windborne Charters or Boom! Sailing
- Take a boat tour to Cathedral Cove and beyond (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
For elaboration on each activity and more, check out the 8 Luxury Activities in the Coromandel.
Luxury Stays in the Coromandel
It’s all about the location in the Coromandel, with many luxury lodges, B&Bs, resorts and holiday homes enjoying sublime vistas from their elevated positions. Take a look at some of our top recommendations in the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in the Coromandel.
The Coromandel for Families
Aside from building sandcastles on golden-sand beach after golden-sand beach, families taking a trip to the Coromandel can enjoy a varied array of activities together. See Cathedral Cove on a unique glass-bottom boat trip, say hello to the farm animals at one of the farm parks, play with water-powered inventions at The Waterworks and more! The fun doesn’t end once you return to your Coromandel accommodation, with many holiday parks and motels having children’s playgrounds, jumping pillows and extensive gardens to play in. Discover more about planning a family getaway in The Guide to the Coromandel for Families.
Family Activities in the Coromandel
- See the underwater world of Cathedral Cove with Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Feed the animals, see native birds and explore the museums of the Bullswool Farm Heritage Park (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Ride the Driving Creek Railway in Coromandel Town
- Play with the bizarre inventions at The Waterworks
- Build sandcastles, hire a kayak and more at many of the Coromandel’s beaches.
For more information on each experience, take a look at the 10 Things to Do in the Coromandel with Kids.
Kid-Friendly Accommodation in the Coromandel
Families will find a wide range of self-contained accommodations in the Coromandel, allowing them to experience all the conveniences of home. Holiday parks and motels are the most popular choice for families, usually offering a range of options for families’ diverse needs and budgets. Take a look at some suggestions in the 10 Best Family Accommodations in the Coromandel.
The Coromandel for Couples
The glistening southern Pacific Ocean, sweeping golden-sand beaches and quaint seaside towns make for an effortlessly romantic getaway. Many of the boutique lodges are wedding venues, just to tell you how right the Coromandel is for setting for tone for a special occasion, whether it be a honeymoon or simply a romantic getaway. If you’re planning a couples’ trip or honeymoon, don’t forget to check out The Honeymoon Guide to the Coromandel.
Romantic Activities in the Coromandel
- Team up on a kayak tour with Cathedral Cove Kayak Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Take a romantic stroll on the Coromandel’s beaches
- Fly through the trees together on the Coromandel Zipline Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Tackle one of the Coromandel’s scenic hikes
- Soak in hot pools at The Lost Spring or Hot Water Beach.
For more details on each experience, head to the 10 Romantic Activities in the Coromandel for Couples.
Romantic Stays in the Coromandel
From quaint B&Bs to glamping tents, the Coromandel presents some memorable stays for couples. Whatever your budget, there are accommodations to suit, so take a look a the 10 Best Romantic Accommodations in the Coromandel and choose the right fit.
The Coromandel for Foodies
Finally, if you’re visiting the Coromandel with gastronomical experiences in mind, then you won’t be disappointed. Artisans and vineyards open their doors for tastings and purchasing unique gifts, while the restaurants pride themselves on fresh local seafood available all year round. Visit a local farmers’ market to buy fresh local produce to make in your self-catering accommodation or dine at your resort’s on-site restaurant. Plan out your whole visit with The Foodie Guide to the Coromandel.
Things to Do in the Coromandel for Foodies
- Hit the foodie places on the Hauraki Rail Trail
- Try wine and other surprises at a local winery
- Mingle with the locals at a farmers’ market
- Pick up artisan cheese, chutneys, honey and more
- Take a hiking food tour.
For more information on each activity, check out 7 Things to Do in the Coromandel for Foodies.
Where to Eat in the Coromandel
- The Wharf Coffee House (Shortland Wharf at Queen Street, Thames)
- Castle Rock Cafe (Whangapoua Road, Whangapoua)
- The Old Mill Cafe (1 The Esplanade, Tairua)
- The Pepper Tree Restaurant (31 Kapanga Road, Coromandel Town)
- Blackbeard’s Smokehouse (18 Carina Way, Whitianga)
- Salt Restaurant (Blacksmith Lane, Whitianga)
- The Miha Restaurant (42 Mount Avenue, Pauanui).