A little slice of heaven on the Coromandel peninsula

North Island’s Coromandel Peninsula is a part of New Zealand you’d be foolish to miss.  With miles and miles of sandy beaches fringed by temperate rainforest, it’s the perfect place to kick off your shoes and unwind.  Base yourself in Hahei, a laid-back holiday resort perfectly situated to take advantage of some of the prettiest beaches on the peninsula.

Here are the Coromandel Peninsula attractions  that are worth your time.

Coromandel Peninsula Attractions: View from lookout near car park over Stingray Bay to Cathedral Cove
View from lookout near car park over Stingray Bay to Cathedral Cove by Pseudopanax (public domain)

Coromandel Peninsula Attractions

Cathedral Cove

A couple of kilometres north of Hahei and a common destination for kayak and boat tours you’ll find Cathedral Cove.  Whilst many visitors arrive by water, it’s also possible to walk via a track from Hahei beach.   Part of a larger marine reserve, Cathedral Cove is very popular with tourists drawn by the snorkelling in Stingray Bay and Gemstone Bay as well as the attractive scenery formed by coastal erosion.   The cove is linked to another, Mare’s Leg Cove, by a cave and both bays contain impressive rock stacks, Sphinx Rock in Mare’s Leg Cove, and Te Hoho Rock in Cathedral Cove.  Given its beauty, it’s hardly surprising that the cove was chosen by location scouts working on the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian movie.  Watch out for it in the film when the children re-enter Narnia.

Coromandel Peninsula Attractions: View towards Cathedral Cove from the sea
View towards Cathedral Cove from the sea by Pseudopanax (public domain)

Hot Water Beach

Head south instead of north from Hahei and you’ll soon reach Hot Water Beach.   It’s not a great spot for swimming due to the dangerous rip currents and large breakers, but that’s not what brings nearly three-quarters of a million visitors to the beach annually.  Fed by underground hot springs, for around two hours either side of low tide it’s possible to dig a hole in the sand and run yourself a bath full of nature’s own hot water.  If you haven’t brought your own bucket and spade, don’t worry; they can be hired from the surf shop on the beach.

Coromandel Peninsula Attractions: Visitors making small pools by excavating sand at Hot Water Beach
Visitors making small pools by excavating sand by Steve and Jem Copley CC BY_SA 2.0

The Lost Spring

If you are looking to enjoy your geothermal experience in more salubrious surroundings, then you can’t go far wrong with The Lost Spring.  Located in Whitianga, about a half hour’s drive north of Hahei around Mercury Bay, this day spa features a range of thermal pools at temperatures ranging between 32° and 38°C.  Unlike Hot Water Beach, there’s no need to dig your own pool.  Save your energy and relax, sip a cocktail and let the minerals in the water work their magic on your skin.

Where to stay

There are lots of accommodation options around the Coromandel Peninsula attractions area but one that gets consistently good reviews is Hahei’s Tatahi Lodge. Hosts Debbie and Richard go out of their way to make visitors welcome and offer a range of accommodation suitable for families, backpackers or, for those seeking more privacy, the Garden Lodge set in its own grounds.  The owners are knowledgeable about the area and will ensure you don’t miss the Coromandel Peninsula attractions.

About JuliaHammond

Website: http://www.juliahammond.co.uk

Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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