The Coromandel Peninsula in the North Island of New Zealand is known for its beautiful beaches and stunning scenery and it is naturally a destination where Kiwis and tourists flock to during the summer. So here are just a few of the most famous beaches of the Coromandel we got to visit during our great NZ road trip!
Hahei is a small town on the Eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula and it’s only two and a half hours away from Auckland by car. We stayed at the Hahei Holiday Resort, which was a campsite right beside the beautiful Hahei Beach.
We rented bikes in Hahei and rode them up to the car park where the pathway to the world famous Cathedral Cove started. It was a hot and hilly 50 minute walk through bush to get to Mare’s Leg Cove, which has the famous cave tunnel leading through to Cathedral Cove beach.
If this scenery looks familiar to you, it may be because you’ve seen it in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (0:42) or in the music video for Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton (3:38).
This area is all part of the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve and it is a popular place for swimming, kayaking, boating, surfing and even snorkeling/diving. The latter can be done at the neighbouring Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay.
After getting back to the campsite, we decided it would be a good idea to bike to Cook’s Beach, which is the next bay over from Hahei and where we were meeting my relative at her bach (holiday house). This turned out to be NOT a good idea. The road there was much longer than we anticipated, with steep slopes and dips and we were biking dangerously close to the trucks and other traffic on the road.
When we finally got there all in one piece, everyone was shocked to hear that we had biked all of that way (moral of the story – don’t do it, guys!). After resting and dining at the Eggsentric Restaurant, we decided to call a local shuttle to take us and our bikes back to Hahei (although my Schnucki was determined to bike back alone and did…until he got a puncture halfway home).
An amazing eatery I have to mention was in Hahei at a restaurant called The Church. The restaurant was in a pretty little church which also had accommodation out the back, and they specialised in Mediterranean style tapas. The old church, the candles, the whole atmosphere and the food was just so good. Plus, they played Ed Sheeran all night, which was perfectly fine by me.
After leaving Hahei, we made a stop at the famous Hot Water Beach. The beach gets its name from the natural underground hot springs that filter up through the sand. At low tide, you can dig a hole in the sand which fills up with hot water to create your own hot pool or ‘spa’.
Be warned though, this attraction is very popular and bus loads of tourists get dropped off every low tide to be a part of the fun – so there’s a lot of digging in the same small area of the beach!
After Hot Water Beach, we headed south to Waihi, which is a small resort town at the foot of the Coromandel Peninsula. We had dinner at the Waihi Beach Hotel and the food there was so nice that we went back to eat there the very next night. (Get the classic Kiwi dish of fish and chips or the haloumi salad!)
Plus, they had The Store gelato next door (also located in Britomart, Auckland), which had the best ice cream flavour I have ever tasted. Lemon curd and yoghurt flavour – it was pure heaven in a cone. (I went back the next night for more, naturally).
We went swimming at the nearby Waihi beach while we were there, but we were also determined to find the elusive Orokawa Bay, which rumour has it, has one of the best beaches in New Zealand.
We went on a mission to find this mysterious place and we found the start of the trail at the northern end of Waihi beach. It took an hour of trekking through bush to get there and when we finally did, white sand and blue water was waiting for us. We ran straight into the waves with glee…only to be forcefully spit back out again.
What we didn’t know until then was that the gradient of the beach was so steep that the waves crashed into the sand with a lot of force. Enough force to knock over fully grown men. The beach was indeed beautiful…but could be quite deadly if not careful.
So, did you enjoy the famous beaches of The Coromandel?
Would you like to visit them for yourself?