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Jutting into the Pacific Ocean just south of Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula has two coastlines with forested, volcanic-formed valleys lying in between. It feels a world away from the busyness of the city, despite being within a three-hour drive.

Heading north from Thames, the gateway town to the peninsula, you enter a self-contained region of quiet seaside townships, hidden bays, and alternative lifestylers who fled here in the sixties to create small artisan communities. Historically, the area was a hive of gold-mining activity, and although it’s not quite the untouched Arcadia it once was, its coastline and green hinterland still provide a sense of retreat.

Firth of Thames, Coromandel PeninsularHistorically only visited by loggers and gum-diggers, a gold rush in the late 1800s brought miners thronging to the peninsula, and many of its townships display evidence of this lucrative period.

Thames is a prime example of a once-grand gold rush town (reflected in its restored 19th-century architecture) that now simply serves the local farming community.

Today, the peninsula’s main industries are small-scale farming, fishing, and tourism, but it also does a fine line in arts and crafts. The small townships here and the general laid-back lifestyle the peninsula seems to foster have drawn artists and craftspeople from across the country.

You’ll find furniture workers, textile artists, painters, glassworkers, potters, and even Maori greenstone workers and bone carvers. Many will welcome you into their homes or small galleries, where you can admire works inspired by the peninsula’s pastoral and coastal scenery. You can also follow a ready-made Coromandel Craft Trail.

Coromandel’s coastlines are distinct. Along the Firth of Thames, the coast is open and rocky. It feels much wilder than the tranquil, protected beaches of the eastern coast.

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel PeninsulaIt’s on the eastern coast that you’ll find two of the peninsula’s greatest natural attractions. Cathedral Cove houses a lofty cavern only accessible at low tide. From its clifftops, you have panoramic views over the peninsula and the ocean, which is dotted with small sea stacks.

Slightly farther south, there’s Hot Water Beach. Dig a little into the toffee-shaded sand and you’ll quickly hit upon geothermally heated water that you can soak your feet in. You can explore both places on a tour with ‘Kiwi’ Dundee, a charismatic local guide, as explained in our New Zealand highlights guide.

Elsewhere, things become quieter still. There are still places on the peninsula that can only be accessed via unsealed roads. Here, the landscape has remained virtually unchanged for centuries.

Best time to visit

The Coromandel Peninsula is best visited between October and May, but is especially pleasant in November, when it’s breezy but warm.

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Speak to someone
who's been there

Audley Travel specialist Rebecca

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Coromandel Peninsula by contacting one of our New Zealand specialists

Suggested itineraries featuring Coromandel Peninsula

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Coromandel Peninsula, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Coromandel Peninsula

Places & hotels on the map

    Places in and around Coromandel Peninsula

    Accommodation choices for Coromandel Peninsula

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Coromandel Peninsula. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    • The Mussel Bed B&B, Coromandel Peninsula

      Mussel B&B

      Medium

      Nestled amidst native bush, tranquil gardens and streams and yet only a five-minute walk to beautiful Cooks Beach, The Mussel B&B is the perfect base to explore Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove and the passenger ferry to Whitianga is just a ten-minute drive away.

    • Oceans Resort Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula

      Ocean's Resort

      Medium

      Oceans Resort offers one- and two-bedroom self-catering apartments, furnished in a contemporary style, and enjoying a beach-side location.

    • Hahei Horizon Bed and Breakfast, Coromandel Peninsula

      Hahei Horizon Bed and Breakfast

      Medium

      Hahei Horizon Bed and Breakfast is a lovely property with friendly hosts, tucked amongst native trees on the hill overlooking the beautiful beach at Hahei.

    • Brenton Lodge, Coromandel Peninsula

      Brenton Lodge

      First Class

      Set amongst an acre of lovely gardens, mature trees and a swimming pool, Brenton Lodge offers panoramic views of Whangamata and sea views encompassing the outlying islands.

    • 970 Lonely Bay Lodge,Coromandel Peninsula

      970 Lonely Bay Lodge

      First Class

      970 Lonely Bay Lodge offers luxury boutique accommodation in Cooks Beach, Whitianga

    • Manawa Ridge, Coromandel Peninsula

      Manawa Ridge

      Deluxe

      Artists and sculptors, Willem and Carla van de Veen have adapted their crafts to build the incredible Manawa Ridge lodge, with its 360 degree views over stunning countryside to the Pacific Ocean beyond.

    • Colleith Lodge, Coromandel Peninsula

      Colleith Lodge

      First Class

      Colleith Lodge offers relaxation, privacy and comfort in a beautiful setting on the Coromandel Peninsula.

    Ideas for experiencing Coromandel Peninsula

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Coromandel Peninsula, and which use the best local guides.

    • Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsular

      Kiwi Dundee Nature & Coast

      Coromandel Peninsula

      This full day excursion provides a sample of many of the highlights of this stunning peninsula. The guides at Kiwi Dundee will introduce you to areas of scenic beauty and historic significance, and will endeavor to tailor the day to the preferences of the group.