Local Escapes

All The Best Things To Do In The Coromandel This Summer

By Natasha Van Der Laan

A person basks at the Lost Spring in The Coromandel, one of the best things to do in The Coromandel.

There’s no summer like a Coromandel summer—truth. This special New Zealand peninsula is a playground of beautiful beaches, wonderful walks, epic eats and general happiness-inducing activities. What’s not to love?

The Coromandel is in its absolute prime during the warmer months and is a favourite summer destination for Kiwis and visitors alike. To help you plan your getaway, we’ve rounded up all the best things to do in the Coromandel this summer including filling your face at this next-level micro bakery pop-up. Consider it your summer bucket list.

(NOTE: The main road over Coromandel could be closed for up to a year due to a massive slip... but don't worry, you can still take the scenic route along State Highway 25. Find updates on Coromandel's road closures here).

Cathedral Cove looks resplendent with white sand beach and blue seas. Definitely one of the best things to do in The Coromandel.Visit The Unmissable Cathedral Cove

First things first, no summer in the Coromandel is complete without visiting the famous Cathedral Cove. Located a stone’s throw from Hahei, the cove can only be accessed via foot or water. The 45-minute walk winds through rugged farmland and native bush with smaller tracks detouring down to rocky, picturesque shorelines. On arrival, you’ll be greeted with golden sand, gentle waves and Cathedral Cove’s iconic namesake: a staggering rock archway. Pack a picnic and sunbathe and swim the day away.

(NOTE: Cathedral Cove is currently closed to the public due to damage from Cyclone Gabrielle and will likely be closed for some time. As of early March 2023, the cove can only be admired from a distance by boat or kayak tour.)

A view from the top of The Pinnacles. A rite of passage for anyone visiting The Coromandel.Conquer The Breathtaking Pinnacles

Don’t forget your hiking boots when heading to The Coromandel this summer. The Kauaeranga Kauri Trail—or simply ‘The Pinnacles’—can be completed as a day or overnight walk. Walk to the hut and back via the Webb Creek Track (six to seven hours) or complete a circuit using the Webb Creek Track and Billygoat Track (eight to nine hours). From the hut, it’s an additional 40-minute walk to the summit for jaw-dropping views of the peninsula and beyond. Pro tip: book a night at the hut and rise early for a magical sunrise from the top.

A spade dug in the sand at Hot Water Beach in The Coromandel.Soak In Your Own Spa Pool At Hot Water Beach

Digging your very own hot pool at Hot Water Beach is a rite of passage. Bring a spade and visit within two hours on either side of low tide to dig yourself a sandy spa pool. Hot water bubbles through the golden sand, attracting flocks of visitors to the otherwise deserted, moody beach. The unique ‘spa’ is created by an underground river of thermal water flowing from the inside of the earth and into the sea at Hot Water Beach. The more you know.

Someone in the water looks up at beautiful stalactites at The Lost Spring, one of the best things to do in the Coromandel.Have A Spa Day At The Lost Spring

For a less-sandy spa experience, head to The Lost Spring in Whitianga. The tranquil oasis showcases geothermal pools with mineral-rich waters rising from the ground below. They even have an attentive poolside service so you can relax in the warm waters with a cocktail in hand—how very convenient. Afterwards, treat your loved one (or yourself) to a luxurious massage in the on-site day spa nestled away in the lush native treetops.

Someone serves from the window of Rudi's pop up micro-bakery on Whangamata marina.Dig Into The Legendary Coromandel Kai

The Coromandel has no shortage of delicious cafes, restaurants and—of course—takeaway joints. If you're lucky enough to be visiting in the summer of 2022/23 then you absolutely need to try Rüdi’s micro-bakery pop-up. The cute blue trailer will be sitting pretty on the Whangamatā waterfront at 621 Beach Road from 17 December until the end of April slinging handcrafted sourdough breads and artisan pastries, produced in small batches with absolute love. Believe us when we say the cinnamon scrolls will legit change your life. Otherwise, head to your nearest local to devour classic Kiwi fish and chips with melt-in-your-mouth fish plucked from the surrounding waters. The Coromandel Oyster Company is always a winner and the same goes for Coromandel Takeaways. Other favourite Coromandel eateries include Luke’s Kitchen in Kuaotunu, Cooks Beach’s Kaisen At Go Vino and Tairua's Two Tides Bakery. We love the latter for their Allpress coffee and pies served piping hot from the oven.

Someone holds a can of beer from Hot Water Brewing Co.Quench Your Thirst With A Refreshing Craft Beer

Cool down from the summer sun with a refreshing craft beer at one of the Coromandel’s friendly watering holes. At Luke’s Kitchen, you’ll find woodfire pizza washed down with local brews from Blue Fridge Brewery. In Hahei, check out The Pour House for local beers brewed on-site and served in a sun-drenched courtyard. And, once the tide washes away your sandy spa, visit Hot Water Brewing Co. for a cold drink and a bite to eat.

Someone cycles past Owharoa Falls on the Hauraki Rail Trail.Get On Your Bike And Cycle The Hauraki Rail Trail

Explore the peninsula and beyond by bike this summer and cruise the Hauraki Rail Trail. The 160km track is made up of five sections and is one of the easiest cycle trails in the country. Choose from a range of scenic day rides or opt for a three to four-day tour starting in Kaiaua—just 90km from Auckland’s CBD. You’ll head across to Thames before heading south to Paeroa, Te Aroha or even as far as Matamata. Alternatively, you can venture east from Paeroa and through the striking Karangahake Gorge (past the stunning Owharoa Falls pictured above) to Waihi. Just glorious.

(NOTE: Parts of the trail are closed to the Cyclone Gabrielle damage. You can check for the latest updates here).

The Coromandel's secret gem aka Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary. One of the best things to do in the coromandel.Discover The Coromandel’s Secret Gems

Get off the beaten track this summer and check out some of The Coromandel’s hidden gems. Kayak across the Whangamata Harbour with a guided tour to Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary—aka “donut island” pictured above. It takes about two hours (one way) to reach the island where you can paddle through a small cave and into an emerald lagoon. Alternatively, Wainuiototo (New Chum Beach) is loved for its lack of buildings, roads, infrastructure and camping—it can only be accessed by boat or via a 30-40 minute walk along a rocky track. Once there, feast your eyes on a stretch of golden sand fringed by Pohutukawa and with azure waters.

Keen to get your toes in the sand? Here's our guide to the best beaches in The Coromandel.

Image credit: The Lost Spring, The Coromandel I www.thecoromandel.com, Rüdi's Micro bakery.

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