Nature Days In The Coromandel, Where Kiwis Holiday

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Holidays are the perfect time to get the family outdoors and enjoy the beautiful and varied landscapes on our backdoor step. The Coromandel, bursting with dramatic gorges, stunning beaches, green valleys, and misty rainforests, all wrapped up in a relaxed vibe, is the perfect destination for a nature packed family holiday.

We’ve collated some of the best nature inspired family fun waiting for you on The Coromandel – where Kiwis love to holiday.

Please note: Information was correct at the time of publication. You might like to check that tracks and trails are open before you go. Some beaches are patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months only. 

Beaches

Of all the wonderful things you might associate The Coromandel with, the stunning beaches are probably top of the list. From quiet coves where you might be the only visitors through to long sandy beaches loved by families, and surf beaches where some of New Zealand’s most famous surf breaks are waiting, the diversity means there is something for everyone.

The sandy 6km long Whangamatā Beach has a popular left-hand surf break and is the ideal spot for learning to surf. At either end, estuaries are ideal places for paddling and exploring. Surf and paddle equipment can all be hired in the local town. Other popular beaches, also great for fishing, kayaking, swimming or relaxing include Kennedy Bay, Waitete Bay, McGregors Bay (a great place to watch the sun set), Onemana Beach, and Cooks Beach.

 

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Hot Water Beach is a great place to warm up as you can dig your own spa at the water’s edge and enjoy the thermal hot water seeping up.

If you prefer to find a beach more off the beaten track, Orokawa Bay is accessed by an easy walking track through native bush from Waihi Beach and makes a great picnic spot (swimming is not recommended). If you continue on to the northern end of the bay you will find a track to secluded Homunga Bay. The interestingly named New Chum Beach is an untouched paradise with no roads and no buildings and has been voted one of the world’s top beaches. Access is via a 30-40 minute walk through spectacular nikau forest and giant pōhutukawa leaving from the northern end of Whangapoua Beach.

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Tracks and walks

The interesting geography and flora of The Coromandel can be explored on the many tracks and walks dotted all over this stunning destination. Take in the fresh air, spectacular views and varied landscape on the network of tracks and trails that offer a huge selection for family adventures.

The Karangahake Tunnel Walk combines stunning scenery, lush native flora and historic gold mining relics. Waiomu Kauri Grove Walk takes you through one of the best remaining stands of kauri trees on the peninsula, while along the Shorebird Coast bird lovers will enjoy the vast salt marshes that attract thousands of migratory wading birds for summer every year.

The Coromandel Coastal Walkway follows an old bridle path and is a 10km one way trail. Stunning views combined with a mostly gentle gradient make it an ideal family day trip. Book a tour or shuttle to get you there and back without having to retrace your route.

 

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Waterfalls and freshwater pools

The lush rainforests of kauri and other native trees combined with rugged terrain make for stunning waterfalls that are both exhilarating and soothing. A short walk through remnants of an ancient kauri forest brings you to Waiau Falls while Rapaura Waterfalls, also known as “The Seven Stairs to Heaven”, is surrounded by abundant native bush and ferns, watergardens, birds, meandering walks over bridges and streams and a bush walk to the cascading waterfall.

Owharoa Falls in Karangahake Gorge are easily accessed from Waitawheta Road and is a popular swimming spot while Billygoat Falls is officially the tallest waterfall in and North Island and is just a five minute walk from the car park.

 

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Bike trails

All across The Coromandel are a network of trails suitable for families with riders at all ability levels. They allow you to easily access the sub-tropical native rainforest, plains, gorges and coastline.

The most well known trail is the Hauraki  Rail Trail, 197km of easy riding suitable for all on two wheels, following old railway lines between historic goldmining towns. Grab your bikes and DIY it or use one of the many bike hire and shuttle transport options.

Ride Coromandel is a new bike park that offers gently sloping trails or epic air. The free to use new bike park has something for everyone including a pump track for the kids, skills area and brand new descent trails.

Scarface Mountain Bike Tracks offer a picnic area, pump track, jump track, kids loop plus access to the the start of a large trail network.

 

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Underwater adventures

The Coromandel has a coastline around 400km long and with over 100 islands just offshore there are many options for exploring the fascinating world under the water.

If you haven’t bought snorkelling gear with you, there are lots of places all over The Coromandel where you can hire or buy gear for the whole family. They can also offer day trips out to some of the offshore islands and also diving gear and trips.

You can pretty much pop your snorkelling gear on and have a look around at any of the beaches however a popular spot for snorkelling and swimming is the Marine Reserve at Cathedral Cove, Hahei. Te Whanganui o Hei Marine Reserve, around Whenuakura Island is also popular. Accessible only by water you can get there by charter boat, kayak or SUP.

 

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If under the water is not for your family, you can stay on top but still see below from the Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga.

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Something different

Nature loves to offer up a few quirky treats and on The Coromandel there are a few real treasures. Starting life as two separate seedlings, over the centuries they grew in diameter, and the space between them reduced until eventually the two trees fused at the base and are now known as The Siamese Kauri. Find it amongst most accessible mature stand of Kauri on The Coromandel, just 500m off the 309 Road from Coromandel Town.

The majestic kauri are also offering another fun variation, this time in the form of a square tree! Around 1200 years old, this tree has an unusual square-looking shape and is can be found along a short but steep walking track that features stunning views and 187 steps.

Across the harbour from Whangamatā lies a beautiful Whenuakura Island with a donut shaped lagoon in the centre, accessible through a hole in the rock. Accessible by water only, it’s best visited with a local guiding company.

 

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Written by Kidspot New Zealand for Destination Coromandel

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