The Coromandel Peninsula is an often overlooked part of the North Island, jutting out 85 kilometres in to the Hauraki Gulf from the western end of the Bay of Plenty. Whilst it is a popular holiday spot for Aucklanders, being just a couple of hours’ drive away, it’s not always on the hit list of overseas visitors. However, it’s a real gem of a destination, with rolling inland hills covered with rainforest and a coastline littered with numerous golden sand beaches. Many stretches of the coastal waters on the eastern side are protected marine reserves, home to a plethora of colourful fish and there are some good snorkelling spots here. Picturesque Cathedral Cove was used as a filming location for the Narnia movies and its iconic rock arch is easily recognisable as you approach via a delightful 40-minute walk. Hot Water Beach is one of the other highlights whereupon fresh water bubbles up through the sand at low tide and you can dig your very own spa pool!
Inland the Coromandel Forest Park provides an excellent environment for walking and there are many trails that weave through the native bush. You will also find some real hidden gems such as Raupaura Water Gardens and Driving Creek Railway where you can take a journey up to the Eyefull Tower for fantastic views over the peninsula.