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48 hours in: The Coromandel Peninsula
A haven of white sandy beaches, native rainforest and awe-inspiring views; the Coromandel Peninsula is dotted with picturesque towns - and is one of our favourite places to relax and escape. So if you’ve 48 hours to spare, here’s what we recommend if you’re planning on a visit.
Explore the old Coromandel Town
The Coromandel has a rich history and much of this is still evident today. Spend some time strolling the streets of the old town and learn about how the 1952 gold rush shaped this beautiful corner of the world. Heritage buildings line the streets while local artisan galleries are interspersed with craft shops and cafes. If you've the time, we also recommend doing the Driving Creek Railway - a once private rail line built by the potter Barry Brickell to access the ‘yellow plastic clay’ in the upper reaches of his property. Now open to the public, you’ll have the opportunity to ride the tiny train as its winds through the native bushland and forest.
Visit Cathedral Cove
The hallmark of the Coromandel Peninsula, Cathedral Cove is accessible only by foot, boat or kayak. Located in Hahei it has quickly become one of the ‘must visit’ beaches on the peninsula where a cavernous ‘cathedral-like’ arch towers above the pristine white sand. At the north end of the cove a cliff-top track provides sensational views while native New Zealand Pohutukawa trees on the foreshore provide perfect shade for a post-swim picnic.
Walk (or cycle) the Karangahake Gorge
One unmissable Coromandel attraction is the Karangahake Gorge.Voted as one of the 101 must do’s for Kiwis, this winding canyon was formed by the Ohinemuri River. Also traversing the gorge are the remains of a once busy railway line built to connect the mines in the area during the gold rush. Now a popular walk and cycleway, this historic track is dotted with impressive relics of the mining era including a 1100 metre tunnel and the Victoria Battery - erected in 1897 to crush quartz.
One of our favourite walks - and one of the most spectacular - is the Windows walk. A loop that circles the old Talisman gold mining tunnels, crosses the Waitawheta River suspension bridge and traverses the cliffs on the Crown Tramway track. You’ll also have the chance to see native New Zealand cave weta and glowworms along the way.
Make the most of the scenery on the Coromandel Coastal Walk
Renowned as one of the most beautiful coastal walks in New Zealand this seven hour return trip follows the pristine coastline and passes through secluded bays, spectacular cliff tops and lush farmland. Once a bridle path used by Maori and British settlers this 3-4 hour walk links the east and west coast roads together and ios home to some of the nicest sunsets in the area.
Relax on Hot Water Beach
This one’s a real novelty and a serious ‘must do’ kiwi experience while you're here. Head down to this picturesque shore two hours either side of low tide, dig a hole and watch as steaming hot water bubbles up though the sand making for the most unique natural spa you’ll have ever had! Temperatures can reach up to 64 degrees celsius (147 celsius fahrenheit) so we recommend a dip in ocean if it gets a little too steamy for your liking.