Wicked Weekend Getaways
Renowned for its natural beauty, mist overlaid forests and pristine golden beaches, the Coromandel is blessed with many natural wonders and hidden gems, making it an ideal place to slow down, relax and unwind. Framed by native Pohutukawa trees on the western side, beautiful white sandy beaches on the east and divided by ranges and steep gorges cloaked in native subtropical rainforest, the Coromandel’s 400 km of coastline also offers the visitor a truly distinctive mix of outdoor experiences.
Visiting this part of the country makes a great and affordable short break holiday destination with awesome scenery, safe sandy beaches, boating and fishing, arts and crafts, coastal campsites, bush walks and charming historic township with its laid-back atmosphere and a range of affordable accommodation options.
A favourite destination for residents of Auckland for generations, the northern part of the Coromandel Peninsula was always known for it’s remoteness but that changes in summer when tourists flock to places like historic Coromandel Town where campervans, motorbike riders and travellers lift this tranquil seaside town into a buzz-induced, wicked weekend destination where the pioneer spirit of the past still survives.
After a visit in 1820 by HMS Coromandel, which dropped anchor into what is now Coromandel Harbour to source Kauri spars, the name was bestowed on what became a town and the peninsula. The ship was actually named after the Coromandel Coast off Madras in India. The discovery of gold by Charles Ring at Driving Creek in 1852 shook awake the sleepy timber settlement as thousands of miners soon descended into the region in search of their fortune. Today the town and surrounding area continues to flourish and grow richer while the main street still retains many historic old buildings, mining artifacts and feel-good atmosphere from that Victorian period.
With its laid-back lifestyle, Coromandel attracts a slew of talented artists and craftspeople from around the country - inspired not only by the tranquil atmosphere, but also by the spectacular natural surroundings. Complementing this cottage industry is a growing number of highly recommended restaurants and cafes, as well as commercial mussel and oyster farms that supply local outlets and takeaways such as the Coromandel Smoking Company.
If hiking is on your hit list, then Coromandel Town has a range of trails to explore with detailed maps available from the Information Centre in town. The longest trail is the Success Track, which has a walking time of 2.5 hours return. The Harray Track is listed as 1 hour 10 minutes one-way. Other local but shorter tracks to consider are: The Kauri Block Track – 45 minutes one-way, Long Bay Scenic Reserve and Kauri Grove Track – 40 minutes return, Taumatawahine Reserve – 20 minutes return and Gold Stamper Battery Track – 15 minutes return.
Besides coastal walkways, enjoy a swim, take a fishing trip, rent sea kayaks, and be amazed at the seascapes and marine reserves, or back on land visit an artist’s studio or reflect on the heritage of the region in one of the town’s historic museums.
The town is located just a two and a half hour scenic drive from Auckland, Hamilton or Tauranga. Alternatively take the stress out of driving and take a relaxed, scenic ferry journey from Auckland or Waiheke Island instead. Options include the Weekender or the Wanderer that incorporates the Coromandel Coastal Walkway Tour, a scenic trip to the tip of the peninsula, including a three to four hour walk.