The region on the northern end of the Coromandel Peninsula includes the towns of Coromandel Town and Colville. This part of the peninsular makes a great and affordable short break holiday destination with awesome scenery, white sandy beaches, boating and fishing, arts and crafts, campsites, bush walks and ‘olde worlde’ historic towns.
Renowned for its natural beauty, the Coromandel is blessed with many natural hideaways, making it an ideal place to slow down, relax and unwind. Framed by native pohutukawa trees on the western side, beautiful white sandy beaches on the east and divided by ranges cloaked in native subtropical rainforest, the Coromandel’s 400kms of coastline also offers the visitor a truly distinctive blend of experiences.
The Coromandel is also a hiker’s paradise with a range of trails to explore. From short coastal walkways to multi-day treks, the region will delight you at every turn. Go for a swim, take a boat cruise, sea kayak, be fascinated by the amazing seascapes and marine reserves, visit an artist’s studio or reflect the heritage of the region in one of their museums.After a visit in 1820 by HMS Coromandel, which called into what is now Coromandel Harbour for kauri spars, the name was bestowed on the town and the peninsula. The ship was however named after the Coromandel Coast off Madras in India.
The discovery of gold at Driving Creek in 1852 brought a boom to Coromandel Town, and the area has continued to flourish while retaining many historic old buildings, artifacts and atmosphere from those times.
With its laid-back lifestyle, Coromandel attracts talented artists and craftspeople from around the country – inspired not only by the tranquil atmosphere, but also by the spectacular natural surroundings. Complementing this industry is a growing number of mussel and oyster farms which lie offshore in the clear, clean waters of the Hauraki Gulf.
One of the key features of the peninsular is Coromandel Town – friendly, relaxed and welcoming. Old colonial Coromandel Town is a well kept secret, a small and friendly place, and an ideal destination for a holiday with a difference.
TEN GOOD REASONS TO VISIT:
1. Special character with restored heritage architecture stemming from the pioneering days of timber and gold. It’s easy to get around and has modern shops with friendly service.
2. Driving Creek Railway, just 3km north of the township, is a remarkable 60-70 minute train ride on a world-class narrow gauge mountain railway, passing through kauri forest. The line climbs to the new terminus, the Eyefull Tower, with its stunning panoramic views. Tel: 07 866 8703.
3. Driving Creek Potteries & Craft Shop is at the railway station. A wide range of handcrafted clay products, working potteries and innovatively designed kilns. Sculpture garden, book & craft shop, literature on ecology and local history.
4. Gold Stamper Battery, 2km north of the township. See the huge 104-year-old quartz stamper driven by NZ’s largest working waterwheel and at the same time prosper for some gold yourself.
5. Fishing and Harbour Cruises. There are several choices for day and shorter excursions. Information Centre: T: 07 866 8598 for details.
6. Golf at Coromandel Golf Club. T: 07 866 8538. 9-hole, 18-tee all weather course built on an old goldmine. Sheep grazed fairways, fenced greens, well groomed.
7. Waitati Gardens are right next to the Stamper Battery. Winner of a NZ Garden of Distinction Award with its beautiful layout. Just 0.5km up the road is Tairaire Gardens with a lake and picnic areas.
8. Waiau Watersorks is 8.7km out of town south on ‘309’ Rd. A highly entertaining theme park where whimsical wonders are driven by the power of water. Two kilometers further up the road visit the mature kauri tree grove.
9. Arts and Crafts. Visit the studios of some of NZ’s finest artists, or the several craft shops and galleries for which the town is becoming recognised. The Coromandel Peninsula Craft Trail brochure has more information.
10. Chill out. There are a wide variety of cafes, bars and restaurants to choose from.
EVENTS IN COROMANDEL TOWN:
The Keltic Fair is a fun, family day with crafts, music and entertainment attracting more than 10,000 visitors.? Held: 2 January 2010, Coromandel Town, Coromandel Area School grounds, W: www.kelticfair.co.nz
The Coro Music Festival is a full day music festival featuring Boh Runga, Tahuna Breaks, Batucada Sound Machine, Andrew White Band and more. Don’t miss this great afternoon of sweet sounds. Tickets from iTICKET and event website, $45 adults, $20 for 10-16’s, 10 and under free. 3 January 2010, 11am – 7pm, Coromandel Area School grounds. W: www.cedart.org.nz
The town is about a 2.5 to 3 hour scenic drive from Auckland, Hamilton or Tauranga. Alternatively, forget the stress of travelling by road and take a relaxed, scenic ferry journey instead. Options include the Coromandel Discovery Tour, a one-day excursion from Auckland, or if you have a couple of days up your sleeve, check out the Weekender or the Wanderer tour that incorporates the Coromandel Coastal Walkway tour, a scenic trip to the tip of the peninsula, a three to four hour walk. For ferry schedule and packages visit www.coromandeldiscovery.co.nz
WHERE TO STAY:
Anchor Lodge, 448 Wharf Road, T: 07 866 7992 W: www.anchorlodgecoromandel.co.nz
The newest motel, 400m from town centre. Family run, self-contained studio and 2 bedroom units set amongst beautiful native bush, all with balcony, harbour views, and a heated swimming pool and spa.
Admirals Arms Hotel, 146 Wharf Road, T: +64 7 866 8272 W: www.admiralsarms.co.nz
This historic 2-storey hotel obtained its first liquor licence in the gold rush days of 1872. An upper storey accommodation wing with great views of town and hills sleeps 12, shared facilities of 2 showers, 3 toilets, fully equipped kitchen, dining room and TV lounge.
Coromandel Colonial Cottages Motel, 1737 Rings Road, T: 07 866 8857 / 0508 222 688, W: www.corocottagesmotel.co.nz
A quality little motel with eight spacious cottages in a park-like setting, handy to the town centre and attractions. Some cottages take up to six people. All self-contained with kitchen, Sky TV, phone, internet access, heating, plus large swimming pool, and playground.
Indigo Bush Studios, 19 Flays Road, T: 07 866 7388 W: www.indigo-bush-studios.co.nz
Simple but inspiring accommodation that doesn’t feel like just another B and B. Run by local painter and potter, Robyn Lewis, art surrounds you in these architecturally designed studio apartments. Sophisticated yet funky, with an ethnic twist. A choice of two intimate spaces.
Tui Lodge Backpackers & Accommodation, 60 Whangapoua Road, T: 07 866 8237 E: email@example.com
Set in a large 2-acre garden and orchard setting just 1km from the shops and cafes, central to the local attractions. Options: dormitory, double, twin, queen/en-suite and tent sites in the garden. Also free bikes, linen, duvets, washing machine, BBQs, tea and coffee, and the bus stops at the door.
Tidewater Tourist Park, 270 Tiki Road, T: 07 866 8888, W: www.tidewater.co.nz
270m to town centre with harbour views. 2-bedroom and studio units, backpacker’s accommodation, sauna, BBQ, fish and boat cleaning, and playground.
WHERE TO EAT IN COROMANDEL TOWN:
Driving Creek Café, 180 Driving Creek Road, T: 07 866 7066
Uniquely Coromandel, the cafe is set in a beautiful garden setting. Fresh veggies grow at the door and children are welcome. Organic where possible. Coffee, fresh juices, smoothies and wicked home baking and sweet treats. Open Thu–Tue 9.30am – 5pm
Lure Restaurant Upstairs at Admirals Arms Hotel, 46 Wharf Road, T: 07 866 8020, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fresh produce from the land and sea – try their Coromandel Tasting Plate, ideal for sharing with friends, or their 500g Prime Angus Rib Eye. A relaxing dining experience with 180 degree views of the mountains and the sea. Serving Lunch & Evening Meals, with Sharing Platters 9pm onwards Fully Licensed
Munchies Bakehouse, 92 Wharf Road, T: 07 866 8554
Fresh bread, pies, cakes, croissants, filled rolls or a Cafe La La Coffee. Gourmet filled rolls, croissants and Panini’s made to your taste. Sit outside on the sunny picnic area or takeaway. Happily provide lunches for your fishing charter trip – you can pre order the day before.
Peppertree Restaurant & Bar, 31 Kapanga Road, T: 07 866 8211, E : email@example.com
Majestically situated in the heart of Coromandel Township, enjoy a sun soaked courtyard and shaded verandas over summe,r and cosy dining next to an open fire during winter. Fresh local seafood, award-winning modern NZ cuisine. A unique dining experience in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Fully licensed, open 7 days.
Success Cafe Restaurant & Bar 104 Kapanga Road, T: 07 866 7100
Relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Their NZ cuisine includes the popular ‘Chef’s Choice’ specials, homemade cakes, slices and desserts. Dine indoors or out in their sun drenched area under the flowering cherry.
The Coromandel Oyster Company, 1611 SH25, Tiki Road, T: 07 866 8028, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing oysters for over 20 years in the pristine waters of the Coromandel their aim is to provide premium Coromandel oysters at an affordable price. Try the mussel chowder and oyster bisque. Also sell fresh local mussels, their own marinated mussels, prawns, local scallops, kina and smoked seafood, drinks, sauces, souvenirs. Open 7 days, 9am – 5pm.
Umu, 22 Wharf Road, T: 07 866 8618
Licensed restaurant and café offering a takeout, or eat in, ever-changing menu of fresh local seafood, salads, pizzas, tasty steaks, NZ lamb, vegetarian meals and a delicious range of sweet and savoury cabinet food available.
World Cafe and The Waterworks, 471 the 309 Road, T: 07 866 7191, W: www.thewaterworks.co.nz
Internationally inspired fare made with organic products from a huge cottage garden. Open 7 days, 9am-6pm