The Coromandel is one of New Zealand's most popular and best-loved destinations, with its pristine beaches, native forests and laid-back vibe. It honestly has so much to offer with many activities for the whole family to enjoy. This was our favourite place during our travels in New Zealand and we definitely would love to return.
So what's there to do in Coromandel?
Cathedral Cove is arguably one of the most picturesque spots in The Coromandel, however, it is only accessible by foot, boat or kayak. From the beautiful Hahei Beach on The Coromandel you can walk to Cathedral Cove, it is here that you can see the iconic naturally formed archway and definitely worth the trip. The walk takes about 45 minutes to reach the cove from Hahei Beach alternately, if you prefer a slightly shorter walk that will take roughly 30 minutes, you can start from the top car park at Grange Road. But note that parking is prohibited at Grange Rd from 1 October - 30 April and has very limited parking from 1 May - 30 September.
During the summer months, a shuttle service also runs from the visitor car park on Pa Road to the start of the Cathedral Cove track at Hahei Beach, or on further towards the top of Grange Road. It costs $5 return per person, $3 for a child and $10 for a family (2 adults 2 children).
The track is stunning and takes you all along the cliff top and then descends right at the cove. Although it is very beautiful it might be a challenge for some children coming back up the hill on the return trip. A Kayak trip might be more suitable and exciting....
A kayak trip to Cathedral Cove
This was one of our most treasured highlights. A trip full of beaches, islands and rock gardens. We got to paddle through sea caves, interact with the local marine life and discover the thrill of kayak sailing with the wind on your back. The tour offers great photo opportunities and is topped off with cappuccinos, hot chocolates and cookies at Cathedral Cove which Charlie loved! Tours range from 3 hours to 6 hours depending on what you fancy exploring. I think with children the 6 hour trip would be too much as even in the 3 hour trip I was doing most the work :D.
But an adventure worth taking!
The Driving Creek Railway
If you have children that love trains then this experience needs to be on your list. The Driving Creek Railway is a narrow gauge bush and mountain railway on the outskirts of the provincial town of Coromandel. The railway leads up the mountain to a viewing platform building 165 m high above the surrounding Coromandel west coast country. Charlie loves trains so this was his favourite activity we experienced while in New Zealand, he loved being so high up in the mountains and was excited going along lots of bridges and through long tunnels.
An incredible family adventure!
New Chums Beach a hidden gem
Once of the most exciting beautiful hidden experiences! New Chums Beach is a secluded world-class beach and has been voted one of the top 20 in the world. It is not easily accessible, but it is 100% worth the adventure. If you want to escape the crowds and be surrounded by nature this is your beach!
To access this beach, park your car at Whangapoua Beach, once here walk to the northern end of the beach and cross the lagoon stream (Beware if the tide is in then a little swim might be needed). You will then see some boulders, walk along these until you reach the trail. The walk is roughly 1km long and may take 30 minutes.
If you fancy a spectacular view and an adrenaline rush then the lookout point will be the perfect challenge. This trail is not marked, however it is easily spotted halfway through the trail to New Chums Beach. It is a very tough, high climb but once up there it is stunning. (Please be aware that this trail can be very slippery and dangerous when it has been raining, so try to explore this on a sunny day). We made this mistake and tried to attempt this climb when it was raining and realised very soon we had to turn back because it was to dangerous.
New Chums Beach was by far one of the best beaches we have ever experienced and loved the walk to get to the beach. We didn't realise what time the tide came in so ended up having to swim across the the lagoon stream on our way back to the car, but we didn't mind as it was so much fun.
If you are looking for a fun, exciting natural adventure this is the is it!
Hot Water Beach a kids dream activity.
If you are after more excitement for the child, Hot Water Beach is a must do when visiting Coromandel. It is here that naturally heated mineral water bubbles up from deep within the earth to emerge through golden sand, allowing you to dig your very own spa pool.
Yes you heard it right, you get to dig your very own hot tub on the beach.
To enjoy your very own spa it is recommended to go two hours either side of low tide, that's when the tide is low enough to expose the area of sand with hot water underneath. If you go early enough, you can even have the option to watch the sunrise while relaxing in your own handmade hot tub. Oh and don't forget to bring a spade or shovel, otherwise you can always hire one from the local cafes and life guards.
Let us know in the comments what one you would love to experience.