Hiking tracks, sandy beaches, lush rainforests and scenic drives for days – Coromandel peninsula is a paradise for outdoorsy people looking for a place to relax, get sweaty or just breathe in some fresh air! Its proximity to New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, makes it a very popular destination with locals and travelers alike. We explored Coromandel peninsula in the peak of summer and can guarantee you it is a paradise for all the nature lovers out there!
Here’s what we enjoyed the most and what you shouldn’t miss out on when visiting this tropical place in New Zealand!
HIKING THE PINNACLES TRACK
The beautiful Kauaeranga Valley and the hills of Pinnacles rising above it are part of Coromandel National Forest, an area full of lush rainforests, rushing streams and native kauri trees. The Pinnacles track starts at the last carpark in Kauaeranga Valley, with a return trip taking around 6 hours (which go by much faster than you might think). The trail takes you over several swing bridges and the surrounding rainforest makes you feel like you’re on the set of Jurassic Park! Taking Webb Creek track on the way up and Billygoat track when descending gives you an expanded version of the hike and some amazing views to top it all off. If you wish to split the hike, spend the night in Pinnacles Hut, the largest mountain hut in New Zealand.
JUMPING IN THE HOFFMAN’S POOL
There’s no better place to cool down after doing the Pinnacles track than the Hoffman’s pool. Back in the days, Coromandel National Forest used to be the hotspot for kauri loggers and gold miners, who dug up a deep hole in Kauaeranga River, creating what is known today as Hoffman’s Pool. This locals’ playground is just a short walk from the road through the forest and makes for a great picnic spot.
DRIVING THE THAMES–COROMANDEL SCENIC ROAD
The road between towns of Thames and Coromandel could easily be one of the most scenic ones in New Zealand! Winding its way along the coast of Firth of Thames, the road is carved into the rock, laying only a few meters from the sea and being surrounded by blooming trees in summertime. A leisurely drive takes a good hour and the road offers many scenic stops on the way.
GETTING LOST ON THE ROAD 309
Well, not literally, it’s more about the feeling! This 22-km-long alternative route to the faster State Highway 25 is a narrow winding road, taking you past many interesting attractions like the Waterworks, Kauri Grove and Waiau Falls. Take a walk under the canopies of magnificent kauris, one of the world’s mightiest trees and don’t miss the rare Siamese kauris. Nearby you’ll find Waiau Falls that provide a nice little pool to relax in on a hot summer day.
TAKING IN THE VIEWS AT CATHEDRAL COVE
Cathedral Cove is a tourist mecca of sorts and it’s not hard to see why. With its nature-made rock arch in a shape of a cathedral, sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and amazing views all around, Cathedral Cove is a true gem well worth visiting. It is reachable only on foot or by water and you should do both to really make the best of your visit – renting a kayak is our preferred choice! When walking there, keep in mind to check the tide forecast, since high waters make it impossible to get from one side of the cove to the other. The starting point of a 30-minute walk to the cove is set on top of a cliff with jaw-dropping panoramic views. Could there be anything more peaceful and inspiring than the first sunrays of a new day?