Jutting north into the Pacific Ocean, the Coromandel Peninsula features two beautiful but contrasting coastlines. It encompasses pretty seaside townships and hidden bays that feel serenely remote despite their close proximity to Auckland.
Along the Firth of Thames the coast is open and rocky, much wilder in feel than the tranquil, protected beaches of the eastern coast. Inland rugged, volcanic hills are cloaked in thick, native rainforest.
Historically only visited by loggers and gum-diggers, a gold rush in the late 1800s brought miners thronging to the area, and many of the townships display evidence of this lucrative period.
Around Coromandel peninsula
Thames, the gateway to the peninsula, is a prime example of a once-grand gold rush town that now simply serves the local farming community. Restored heritage architecture, access to safe, empty beaches, and a wonderfully laidback lifestyle draw most visitors to the eastern coast.
The small townships here are a haven for artists, and many will welcome you into their homes or small galleries where you can admire works inspired by the local landscape and colour.
Further north things become quieter still, with only a handful of visitors reaching the most northern points – only accessible by unsealed road – where the landscape has remained virtually unchanged for centuries.
Speak to someone who's been there
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