The Coromandel is a trove of authentic nature experiences with golden beaches, vibrant native forest and a clear blue ocean abundant with sea life and rugged islands. The Coromandel has it all!
Here’s some of The Coromandel's must-do’s, hidden gems and local favourites to add to your authentic Coromandel escape.
The Waiau Falls is a short walk to a peaceful glade where a 6 metre waterfall flows into a deep rocky pool. The pool below Waiau Falls is a refreshing swimming spot and allows you to immerse in nature.
The Waiau Kauri Grove is the must-do short walk through a hidden grove of majestic 600-800 year old kauri (New Zealand’s largest native tree) that once covered the Coromandel. The Waiau Kauri Grove is the largest accessible grove of the culturally and naturally significant kauri in the Coromandel, and showcases Coromandel’s vibrant native forest.
The Waiau Falls is 10km from Driving Creek with the Waiau Kauri Grove a further 1km along the road. The Waiau Kauri Grove is a 30 minute return walk on a well maintained track, and the Waiau Falls is a 200 metre return track from the 309 road.
Exploring the hidden New Chums Beach is a must-do in the Coromandel. New Chums Beach is the epitome of Coromandel beaches with pohutukawa trees and nikau (NZ’s native palm tree) covering the steep hills lining the arc of golden sand. New Chums Beach is deserted most of the year and only accessible on foot by an adventurous walking track from Whangapoua, an equally beautiful beach and coastal village.
Whangapoua and the start of the New Chums Beach walking track is a 30 minute drive from Driving Creek. The approximately 25 minute one-way walk takes you along the forested rocky coast to the secluded beach, with the option to climb to a pa site overlooking both Whangapoua and New Chums Beach.
The remote Coromandel Coastal Walkway located in the northern part of Coromandel is truly worth exploring. Set against rugged coastal cliffs that giant pohutukawa trees cling to, the 10km Coromandel Coastal Walkway provides stunning scenes of the pacific ocean dotted with rugged islands including Great Barrier Island (Aotea).
The Coromandel Coastal Walkway hugs the coastline between Stony Bay (45km from Driving Creek) and Fletcher Bay (60km from Driving Creek). The journey can be completed by either a 7 hour return walk, or by local guides and shuttles who provide transport so you can enjoy a peaceful 3.5 hour walk along the remote landscape. There is also the option to bike along the mountain bike track for a 2.5 hours return journey, plus time to relax and swim along your journey. Please note the roads beyond Colville are all gravel.
World-renowned Cathedral Cove is an iconic natural landscape with rugged cliffs surrounding an idyllic sandy beach and lapping waves. Cathedral Cove is only accessible by boat and kayak along the stunning coastline or on foot from Hahei which offers access to other remote bays for you to discover.
Hahei and the start of the Cathedral Cove walking track is approximately 1 and ¼ hour drive from Driving Creek. The 2.5km walk is an easy walking track and takes approximately 1.5 hours, plus time to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Cathedral Cove. Check out Cathedral Cove Water Taxi to find transport to and from Cathedral Cove.
The world famous Hot Water Beach is a truly authentic must-do in the Coromandel. Dig your own natural hot pool on the gold sandy beach and relax in the naturally heated mineral water of the aptly named Hot Water Beach, and look out over one of Coromandel’s top surf beaches.
Hot Water Beach is approximately 1 and ¼ hour drive from Driving Creek, and only 10 minutes from Cathedral Cove. Check the tides to make sure you visit Hot Water Beach within 2 hours either side of low tide to access the natural hot water. Spades can be hired locally, and remember to stay safe in the ocean as Hot Water Beach is known for strong currents and rips.
The Pinnacles walk is one of the most popular overnight walks in New Zealand. The track follows an old pioneers track, constructed in the early 1900s, through the vibrant native forest of Kauaeranga Valley to the ruggedly beautiful Pinnacles range where you get spectacular views over Coromandel’s forested ranges and out to the coast.
The Pinnacles walk is 1.5 hours from Driving Creek and located in the Kauaeranga Valley by Thames. The Pinnacles walk can be done as either a day hike in approximately 6 hours, or as an overnight adventure by staying at the modern 80 bunk DOC hut so you can catch the epic sunrise and sunset from the peak.