The Family Guide to the Coromandel Peninsula
Beaches, history, native kauri forests and incredible coastal formations, no wonder the Coromandel is a favourite holiday spot for Aucklanders. For any family planning a road trip around the North Island and who want to incorporate some stunning coastal landscapes and fun family-friendly activities, the Coromandel is a must on the itinerary. Enjoy cruises with a difference to the famous white cliffs of Cathedral Cove, delve into the gold mining history of the region through its mining tours and railway tunnel walks, and don’t miss an obligatory farm visit at one of the farm parks. We guide you through the highlights in this travel guide to the Coromandel for families.
Things to Do in the Coromandel with Kids
- See the underwater world of Cathedral Cove with Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga
- Or enjoy a thrill ride with Banana Boat Whitianga
- Feed the animals, see native birds and explore the museums of the Bullswool Farm Heritage Park
- Ride the Driving Creek Railway in Coromandel Town
- Get up-close to the gold mining works at the Gold Discovery Centre
- Delve underground at the Thames Goldmining Experience
- Do archery tag, kids quad biking and more at Fun Zone Whitianga
- Play with the bizarre inventions at The Waterworks
- Dig your own hot pool at Hot Water Beach
- 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.
Family Adventure Activities
The Coromandel is a natural playground with sweeping beaches, lush tracts of forest and more. Enjoy some quality family time in the great outdoors with some of the family-friendly adventures to be had!
One such adventure is a glass-bottom boat tour at Cathedral Cove. Join Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga for a two-hour cruise past volcanic scenery, rocky pinnacles, caves and the famous Cathedral Cove. You’ll get the unique experience of seeing the abundance of fish through the glass panels and enjoy the option to snorkel if you want to get closer to nature! Find out more about Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Alternatively, experience Cathedral Cove on an exhilarating banana boat ride with Banana Boat Whitianga who offer kiddies cruises, scenic rides, thrill rides and more.
For a real Kiwi experience, don’t miss Bullswool Farm Heritage Park between Karangahake Gorge and Paeroa. Not only does this attraction have a farm park where kids can feed the animals, but there’s also New Zealand farm museums and displays, a kauri museum, a native bird reserve and children’s playgrounds. Find out more about Bullswool Farm Heritage Park on Viator and Tripadvisor.
For more ideas and inspiration, head over to the 10 Things to Do in the Coromandel with Kids.
All-weather Family Activities
For those inevitably rainy days in the Coromandel, make sure you have a back-up activity or two. Either way, these amazing all-weather activities in the Coromandel are a great way to have a break from the adventure, take some time to slow down and learn more about the gold mining, kauri forests and history of the Coromandel Peninsula.
On the bucket list for families should be Driving Creek Railway and Potteries. Their Railway Tour is a must, a one-hour journey takes you through tracts of native forest, while your train driver tells the interesting story of how this railway came to be. Travel through tunnels, over viaducts and more surprises along the way up to the “EyeFull Tower” lookout. Find Driving Creek Railway on Driving Creek Road in Thames. Tours to the attraction are also available with Coromandel Adventures, which you can find more information about on Viator and Tripadvisor.
The Coromandel’s other all-weather activities have a similar theme, so check out the one that fits in with your itinerary. Thames Goldmining Experience (Moanataiari Road) offers guided and self-guided experiences taking you underground into an old stamper battery. Alternatively, get your mining fix at the Gold Discovery Centre (126 Seddon Street, Waihi), which offers tours to experience modern-day gold mining up-close.
See more all-weather activities in the 10 Things to Do in the Coromandel with Kids.
Free Family Activities
It’s no secret that travelling with a family gets pretty expensive. Be sure to complete your family getaway to the Coromandel with some of the free activities too, so it’s easier to stick to your travel budget.
A fantastic option is the walks at Karangahake Gorge. A popular walk for families is the Karangahake Tunnel Loop Walk (45 minutes loop) which takes you through a 1,100m (1,203-yard) railway tunnel. Owharoa Falls is a stunning cascading waterfall also worth checking out and even for going for a swim (just be careful of slippery rocks). Find it up Waitawheta Road.
Finally, it would be a crime to go on a family trip to the Coromandel and not spend some time at the beach! A fun option is Hot Water Beach, famous for its hot water spring running under the beach in a spot that’s accessible at low tide to dig your own hot pool. Alternatively, enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding or simply building sandcastles at places like Whangamata Beach, Hahei Beach and more. Check out the 10 Coromandel Beaches You Can’t Miss for more ideas.
And for more free activities, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Coromandel.