Explore to Create: New Zealand – The Coromandel

Coromandel Camping

We got back from our long day of volcano trekking, our friends had finished work, so we headed straight out for a camping weekend in the Coromandel Peninsula. This is just what I love about traveling – the spontaneity, the twists and turns, suddenly you’re in one place and the next thing you’ve hit the road on your next adventure!

Almost 1.5 hours from Auckland, the Coromandel Forest Park is perfect for exploring. Although personally we travelled an extra hour across this mountainous range to Hahei, on the east coast of the peninsula, setting up camp practically on the beach. Hearing the waves crash through the night was glorious.

Hahei beach and the path leading from the camp
© Tommy Taylor 2016

Beach Discoveries

We found several quiet hidden tropical beaches around the Coromandel, which provided short walks and relaxation, but there are also some very popular beach destinations. Notably, Cathedral Cove, named for its cathedral like arch through the cliff, and the aptly named Hot Water Beach because of its hot springs.

Up the coast to Mercury Bay, we stopped in one of New Zealand’s many vineyards. Then, whilst everyone else swam at Lonely Bay, a small beach with white sands, which can be found next to Cooks Beach, I took a small siesta (most likely due to the wine). Shakespeare’s Cliff Lookout is a small hike from the bay, which provided beautiful views and a small monument providing the history of how famous explorer Captain Cook visited here in 1769. Indeed we found this very intriguing as Captain Cook is from the same part of Yorkshire as we are.

Secret Hideaways

After another night at the camp, we travelled even further up the east coast to Whangapoua to take a scenic walk across the stoney bay and around the headland to New Chums Beach, a hidden beach cut off from the roads. Even though it’s an advertised tourist spot, we didn’t come across a single person and it truly felt like we’d discovered our own little hideaway. Since this was so fittingly perfect we took the opportunity to capture images of our Sunrise Cove T-shirt.

In conclusion, the Coromandel Peninsula is great to explore, from it’s tropical beaches to it’s rocky ranges. The steep geography is inspiring for creative wanderers and I only hope I get to explore it further one day. Our journey hasn’t even begun, because on our arrival back in Auckland, we found ourselves back in the airport on a internal flight to Christchurch…

Cooks Beach and Lonely Bay

Whangapoua Bay

New Chums Beach

© Tommy Taylor 2016

Final Thoughts…

While we chose to visit in January, during the Summer and the school holidays, you wouldn’t have guessed it. The population of New Zealand is very low, so there’s plenty of room for tourists. If you’re easily put off by families and kids, there’s no need to be here. Generally speaking families stick to their own thing, children are polite and overall the Kiwi people are relaxed and friendly. This, the beautiful landscapes and the low crime rate in New Zealand makes for a very enjoyable holiday.

Our Choice of Accommodation

Hahei Holiday Resort

While we didn’t stay in any accommodation on this leg of our journey we did set up camp at this holiday resort. Surrounded by some of the Coromandel’s top attractions, Hahei is a natural playground to walk, swim, fish, dive and kayak in. There are no public roads between the resort and the beautiful pink and white sands of Hahei Beach, making this family-friendly destination perfect for swimming and relaxing together.

© Tommy Taylor 2016