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Coromandel Road Trips

Thames to Coromandel Town

Leaving north on the Pacific Coast Highway, SH25, we soon cruise through the sleepy seaside resorts of Thornton Bay, Te Puru and Wiaomu - explore the Waiomu Kauri Grove.

Take a right turn at Tapu towards Coroglen - 10 minutes walking to a giant kauri tree, which is around 1200 years old.

Return to SH25, head north through breathtaking coastal scenery, small bays and spectacular views across the Firth of Thames. Take a swim at the seaside township of Te Kouma.

From Te Kouma, the trip to Coromandel town is around 10km.
For the more adventurous, head north through Oamaru Bay, Papaaroha, Waitete Bay and Colville – you can drive on the unsealed road another 15km to the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula to Port Jackson at Cape Colville.

Coromandel Town to Whitianga

Leaving Coromandel town we cut across the peninsula. In about 10 km, there’s a left turn, which goes to picturesque Whangapoua.

Check out the Castle Rock hiking track (2-hour hike) for fantastic views of the Whangapoua Peninsula and Mercury islands.

Back on SH26 east, you’ll soon come to the rapidly developing beach resort of Matarangi with its pristine beach and golf course.

The next township is Kuaotunu, which used to be a thriving gold mining town. The beach is a great place for swimming and snorkelling. There is also Blackjack Point which offers good surfing.

If you feel like a hike, watch out for the tracks off Waitaia Road, which lead to an abandoned gold mine, glow-worms and a kiwi sanctuary.

Leave Kuaotunu south on SH25 past the breathtaking views over Mercury Bay. After about 15km you will arrive at the bustling port town of Whitianga. This is a great place to take a fishing charter to catch anything from snapper to marlin.

Another option for a day trip is to explore the nearby beaches of Hahei, Cooks Beach and Hot Water Beach.

Whitianga to Whangamata

As you leave Whitianga, the Pacific Coast Highway hugs the shore in a sweeping arc around through Coroglen and Whenuakite. The road turns south and winds through spectacular native forest and coastline to Tairua.

Just north of Tairua you’ll find the Twin Kauri Scenic Reserve, which is a good place to stretch the legs and go exploring.

The seaside town of Tairua has a harbour and a surf beach. You can walk to the summit of Paku, the volcanic peak that dominates the landscape.

Further on from Tairua you can turn left to the popular seaside resort of Pauanui. This well-groomed town has been extensively developed, and artificial waterways support many stunning holiday homes with private boats moored in the backyard!

As you pass through Hikuai there is a turn off on the right which leads you into the Kauaeranga Valley. You’ll soon come to an information centre, which will point out many nature walks and mountain trails in the area.

Turning back onto SH25 south, you will pass the turn offs to the beach resorts of Opoutere and Onemana, which are well worth a side trip.

From there it’s just a short drive to Whangamata. This is a bustling seaside township with a population that swells dramatically during the summer as New Zealanders fill holiday homes, motels and camping grounds. Take a charter boat out to the Mayor Island marine reserve for snorkelling and diving over one of the richest reserves of marine life in New Zealand.

It is recommended that you have detailed road maps before departing on your trip