COROMANDEL PENINSULA TOUR – ONE DAY TOUR FROM AUCKLAND
New Zealand Nature with an Artisan Culture
‘The Coromandel’ is known for its natural beauty – breathtaking views, native forests and dramatic coastline – all set against the backdrop of the island-studded Hauraki Gulf and the Pacific Ocean. It attracts both artists and holiday makers seeking inspiring surroundings and a laid back life style.
Join us on this small group day tour from Auckland to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula.
Coromandel Peninsula Tour
The Coromandel Peninsula is on the eastern coast of the North Island within easy reach of Auckland. The peninsula projects north with the Hauraki Gulf on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other giving the two coasts quite different characters. The mountain range down the middle is cloaked with Rain Forest. The tumbling streams of the western side were once rich with gold and New Zealand’s gold rush gave this area its quaint colonial character still evident in the buildings of Coromandel town and the names of many of the streams. The east coast by contrast looks out to the Pacific Ocean. Its pristine white sand beaches make it a popular holiday destination with tourists and locals alike and in the Christmas holiday season it feels like half of Auckland is here enjoying the sun and the beaches.
Coromandel Town and Driving Creek Mountain Railway
The spectacular west coast road to Coromandel Township affords stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf. Coromandel town is the artistic hub of the Peninsula. Originally developed in New Zealand’s gold rush, “The Coromandel” now attracts many artists and craftspeople as well as holiday makers. We visit the quirky and eclectic Driving Creek Mountain Railway and Pottery, originally started by local potter Barry Brickell to transport clay from the hillside down to his pottery studio, the railway is now a tourist attraction both for its essential “craftiness” and for the brilliant views of the Hauraki Gulf from the “eye-full” tower at the top. The buildings, cuttings and tunnels have all been designed with an artists eye and lovingly hand crafted – they are works of art of themselves. The railway zig zags up the hill through native rainforest and crosses tumbling streams. It is decorated with the potters hand wherever there is a man-made structure. A truly unique experience.
Rainforest and Hot Water Beach
Heading into the hills to cross the mountain range that divides the east coast from the west we experience the Coromandel’s mountainous beauty at its best. We take a short, easy walk in the pristine rainforest to view some of the magnificent 600 year old Kauri trees. Kauri are among the world’s mightiest trees, and can live for over 2000 years so these are young ones! Enjoy the peace and almost spiritual serenity of this special place.
Our winding road takes us up and over the mountain divide. The road was named in gold rush times the 309 road, because three hours and nine minutes was the fastest you could travel it by horse and carriage! Among the many pristine beaches of the east coast is the famous Hot Water Beach. We take a short walk along the beach where a hot water spring runs under the sand and out to sea. At low tide the locals dig in the sand to create their very own spa baths and paddling pools for the children. We walk barefoot along the beach to watch the locals at work with their spades and feel the warm water coming up from beneath the sand.
Hahei and Cathedral Cove
From the hill above Hahei you can view this spectacular coastline from the lookout or choose from a number of short and long walks along this unique coastline. The optional 45 minute walk to Cathedral Cove requires moderate fitness. At Cathedral Cove, the Pacific Ocean washes through a natural stone arch onto a white sandy beach, set among cliffs sculpted by the ocean waves – New Zealand’s natural beauty at its best.
Real New Zealand Ice Cream
We stop in Tairua for an ice cream made with real fruit before the drive across the mountain range again by another route and back to Auckland. Our tour has taken us through history, art and craft, natural rainforests and beaches in one fabulous day.
Coromandel Peninsula Tour – Highlights
- Dramatic Coastal Drive
- Driving Creek Railway and Pottery
- Coromandel Town and Craft Shops
- Kauri Grove
- Cathedral Cove
- Hot Water Beach (only possible at low tide)
Operates: Daily except 24th December to 2nd January
Price: $365 per person
(Children 3-12 years: $195)
All prices in New Zealand dollars
Price includes free pick-up from central Auckland hotels and admission. Lunch is at own expense
Times: Central Auckland 7am – 6pm
Notes: Dress for an easy walk in the forest and on the beach. Bring a small towel to dry your feet after the beach