Our Area

The peninsula is steep and hilly and largely covered in bush. The Coromandel Range forms the spine for most of the peninsula, with the Moehau Range at the northern end providing the highest point at nearly 900 metres (3,000 ft). Beyond, the large island of Great Barrier, which lies beyond the northern tip, can be thought of as an extension of the ranges. Great Barrier is separated from Cape Colville on the peninsula’s northern coast by the Colville Channel.

Although the peninsula is close to large centres of population such as Auckland to the west and Tauranga to the southeast, its rugged nature means that much of it is relatively isolated, and the interior and northern tip are both largely undeveloped and sparsely inhabited. The Coromandel Forest Park covers much of the peninsula’s interior.

Numerous small islands and island groups lie offshore, such as the Motukawao Islands to the northwest, the Aldermen Islands and Slipper Island to the southeast, and the Mercury Islands to the northeast.

The peninsula shows considerable signs of past volcanism. It comprises the eroded remnants of the Coromandel Volcanic Zone, which was highly active during the Miocene and Pliocene periods. Volcanic activity has since primarily shifted southeast to the Taupo Volcanic Zone, although Mayor Island was recently active some 25 km to the east. Geothermal activity is still present on the Peninsula, with hot springs in several places, notably at Hot Water Beach, on the central east coast between Whitianga and Tairua.

The peninsula is a popular place to live for people who have chosen an alternative lifestyle, especially those who have left Auckland. The 1970s saw thousands of hippies relocate from large cities around New Zealand to the Coromandel in search of an environmentally friendly lifestyle associated with the counterculture back-to-the-land movement. As of 2010, increasing numbers of affluent Aucklanders have started moving to the Coromandel.

Population density decreases with both distances from the coast and distance north. Of the main population centres, only Coromandel, Colville, Matarangi and Whitianga lie in the north of the peninsula, and much of the interior remains virtually uninhabited.

A forest park occupies much of the centre of the peninsula, and the coasts are dotted with numerous beaches and scenic views. Evidence of the region’s geothermal origins can be found in hot springs, notably at Hot Water Beach on the peninsula’s east coast. The town of Whangamatā is a popular holiday retreat, and Whitianga on Mercury Bay is renowned for its yachting. The peninsula’s waters are also a popular destination for scuba divers. Cathedral Cove, named for its cathedral-like arch through the limestone cliff, is a popular destination, only accessible by boat or on foot. In recent years, dolphins and more coast-loving whales are appearing along the coasts as their numbers began to recover, such as southern right whale, Bryde’s whale and humpback whale.

Mercury Islands

The Mercury Islands (sometimes referred to as Iles d’Haussez) are a group of seven islands off the northeast coast of New Zealand‘s North Island. They are located 8 kilometres (5 mi) off the coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, and 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast of the town of Whitianga.

The main chain of the Mercury Islands consists of the large Great Mercury Island (also known as Ahuahu) to the west, Red Mercury Island (Whakau) to the east, and five much smaller islands between the two (Korapuki, Green, Atiu/Middle, Kawhitu/Stanley and Moturehu/Double Islands). Only the main island is inhabited – the others form part of a nature reserve. To the south of this chain, numerous tiny islets lie to the north of the mouth of Mercury Bay. One lone island, Cuvier Island, lies 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the north of Great Mercury Island, although this island is not normally considered part of the Mercury Island group. Great Mercury Island is what remains of a Pliocene rhyolitic volcano.

Great Mercury

Great Mercury Island is owned by Michael Fay and David Richwhite, prominent New Zealand businessmen. The private island, which features two luxurious residences, can be hired for around $20,000 NZD per day. U2‘s lead singer Bono and guitarist The Edge stayed on the island during U2’s Vertigo concerts in Auckland in November 2006. On 30 November 2009, Great Mercury Island hosted the first successful launch of Rocket Lab‘s suborbital Atea-1 sounding rocket.

Fay and Richwhite have spent $750,000, matching the same amount contributed by the Department of Conservation, to make the island (which is open to the public) pest-free, in a programme beginning in 2014. On 13 May 2016, it was announced that the Greater Mercury group of islands are now free from introduced mammalian pests. In pre-colonial times, the island was the location of at least 20 , including Matakawau, a pā on the western side of the island where extensive archaeological excavations were undertaken in the 1950s.

Other Islands

The smaller islands in the group have been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because they provide nesting sites for up to 3000 breeding pairs of Pycroft’s petrels. Moturehu/Double Island and Whakau/Red Mercury are home to the critically endangered Mercury Islands tusked wētā.

The Coromandel

The Coromandel, renowned for its pristine beaches, misty forests and laid-back vibe, is one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations.

The laid-back locals, golden coastline, abundant marine life and mountainous interior have long made The Coromandel a favourite holiday spot for kiwis.

The coastal playground of The Coromandel is full of spectacular natural highlights.

Its mountainous, forested interior dotted with walking tracks means there’s something for everyone.

With around 400 kilometres of coastline and 100 offshore islands, The Coromandel is one of New Zealand’s favourite fishing playgrounds.

For lovers of white sand beaches and secret coves, The Coromandel will be paradise. Head to Cathedral Cove where a naturally-formed archway divides two small, perfect bays. Dig a hole at nearby Hot Water Beach and bathe in naturally heated mineral water that bubbles up from deep within the earth. Or, if you’re a keen surfer, head to Pauanui or Whangamata – both towns have beaches known for their consistent swell.

As well as stunning beaches, there’s a myriad of walking tracks on offer in this region. The most popular is The Pinnacles, a 2-day walk that takes hikers up to one of the highest peaks in the Coromandel Forest Park for spectacular views. The Coromandel Coastal Walkway is a day walk that winds its way along the coast and traverses bush, farmland and coastline; while walks in the Wentworth Valley showcase a beautiful waterfall and abandoned gold mines.

Accomodation

The Mercury Bay area has a variety of accommodation on offer and caters for all. Starting at Whangapoua in the north and ending at Tairua Hill, the area is renowned for its traditional kiwi camping culture. This includes DOC camps, campgrounds and holiday parks as well as modest to luxury…

Windborne Charters

Coromandel Catering

A Whitianga-based, bespoke catering company, we solely focus on catering and creating delicious food.

With our extensive food and hospitality knowledge, let us do all the work.

We’re extremely passionate about food and hospitality and can’t wait to share it with you! From bite-sized goodness to catered dinner parties- it’s all made with love and care.

Coromandel Oyster Company

It’s a must for all oyster & mussels lovers, you can’t leave the Coromandel without tasting our moana! 

We are situated on the south side of Coromandel town on SH25. Our farms are behind our retail shop and you can relax in our garden and eat fresh oysters and hot food from our takeaway menu on the edge of the sea.

We are open 7 days a week, from 9 am in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon.

Farm fresh Pacific oysters from the farmgate.

The Harbour House Cafe

Harbour house cafe is very close to the Whitianga wharf, where Windborne picks up guests and departs from.

It’s a good place to grab a snack or lunch to go, on our sailing in the bay trips. We recommend bringing a picnic lunch on those 6 hours tours because lunch is not included.

Windborne Charters

Luke’s Kitchen

Make Pizza not war!

Lukes kitchen is a must-do! What started as a small take way, one person business turned into the hot spot of the whole Coromandel. It’s my favourite place to be. It’s not only that they make the best pizzas, it’s the whole experience you get with it. Take your time, relax & enjoy the sunset, the people, and the live music.

Amazing place, good vibes, delicious food and a fabulous team!

Picnic and Platter

Creating gourmet platters, picnic boxes, hampers and grazing tables for Whitianga and beyond.

You can order a custom made platter to suit your culinary requirements, and satisfy your gourmet dreams! Message us on @picnicandplatter

We create bespoke grazing tables and platters for weddings, corporate events, celebrations of life, birthdays, baby showers, hens parties, boat parties, picnics or just because.

Blue Ginger

“Blueginger is absolutely our favourite restaurant to go to in Whitianga (possibly Coromandel)! It’s a place where all the locals go.”

We have been cooking around the world, from Europe, London, SE Asia, Australia & the Pacific for a very long time (a few decades!)

After two years in the Pacific Islands spearheading the “think global, act local” movement training hotel chefs in utilising local produce and kitchen staff in the re-invention of traditional dishes, we washed up on the Coromandel to help out in the kitchen at Smitty’s, a family business in Whitianga.

Our love is hospitality, training the next generation of locals & serving up delicious, healthy food that nourishes the soul. We hope you enjoy our efforts!

Peace, love & mungbeans!

Stuart Smith & Rebecca Murray.

 

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Things to do in the Coromandel

Things to do