212 kms2 hours 45 mins
The Coromanel Peninsula has much to offer and to enjoy it to its utmost take time to meander around the coastline, stopping at the bays and enjoying the views.
There are plenty of overnight stopover locations along the way. Follow the coastal route north from Thames via Coromandel Township, then down the eastern coastline to Waihi, situated at the southern end of the Peninsula. The discovery of gold at Driving Creek in 1852 brought a boom to Coromandel Town, and the area has continued to flourish while retaining much of its history from those times. In the township you will find many fine examples of colonial and Victorian buildings.
Whitianga is an excellent area for fishing and local restaurants specialising in fresh seafood cuisine. From Whitianga take a ferry across the oldest stone wharf in Australasia, Stone Steps Wharf built in 1837, and then on to Cooks Beach and Hahei where you can walk to Cathedral Cove, an imposing formation accessible only by foot or boat.
Take some time to dig yourself a warm little haven in the sand at Hot Water Beach where Hot Springs seep through the sand. This natural hot water spring was created by volcanic activity and can reach temperatures as hot as 75 degrees C.
Cooks Beach and Mercury Bay were named by Captain Cook in 1769 on his first visit to New Zealand while observing the Transit of Venus.
Unlike other parts of the region, Waihi is still very much gold mining town, with production hidden behind the leafy slopes closed to the main street. For those who enjoy the simple life, Waihi is your kind of town, with old wooden buildings and nearby spectacular Waihi Beach, one of safest surf beaches in New Zealand offering 9 kms of sweeping white sand and where you can enjoy shellfish collecting and sea fishing.
- Driving Creek Railway
- Great Sea Cave Adventure
- Explore the old Gold Mine