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Road trip to the Coromandel


With summer not far around the corner, it’s time to start planning your holidays and long weekends away. For us, one of our favourite places to go in the summer time is the Coromandel Peninsula. Whether you live and work in Auckland and fancy a weekend getaway or you’re flying into Auckland and looking for somewhere to head to out of the city, this stunning peninsula offers up everything good about New Zealand and is only a short two and a half to three hour drive from Auckland. Awesome!

Things to do on the Coromandel Peninsula

Aerial shot of Pauanui and Tairua

Aerial shot of Pauanui and Tairua

Whether you’ve got your own car or you’re renting one of GO Rentals’ little beauties, once you’ve got your car sorted you’re ready to hit the road! Our first stop is Pauanui which is just over one and a half hours drive from Auckland. You will pass New Zealand’s nature at its best – which should keep everyone happy and the kid’s quiet while on your journey.  When you arrive at Pauanui take time to unwind and go for a walk along the beautiful white sandy beach.  There is a wide range of bush walks in Pauanui; we recommend the trek up Pauanui Hill which takes you to the best view of the town – it’s well worth the walk!

Make your own hot tub…kind of!

Image of two people's feet in one of the hot pools dug at Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula

Make your own hot tub at Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel

If you can bring yourself to move on from this gorgeous beach our next stop is Hot Water Beach.  Less than an hour’s drive from Pauanui, it makes for a quick trip for a fun packed day. At Hot Water Beach you can dig yourself a hole in the sand while naturally heated water from deep within the earth bubbles through to create your own spa pool on the beach.  It’s a surreal feeling sitting in a hot pool in the sand looking out to the cool water of the sea, which makes this trip a must do! Make sure you go at the right times because at high tide the sea washes all your hard work away – tides can be checked here.

Cathedral Cove

The stunning Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel

The stunning Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel

Our next stop on this Coromandel road trip is Cathedral Cove. This remote spot is only accessible by foot or boat, which limits the amount of people that visit this special location at one time. There is a great walk that curves down to the cove with some breath taking views. Make sure you pack a picnic for the day because once you’re here you will not want to leave! The surrounding area is a marine reserve with lots of caves to explore and many different types of fish swimming by.

Hahei Beach

Hahei Beach in the Coromandel is one of New Zealand's best

Hahei Beach in the Coromandel is one of New Zealand’s best

Whilst you are in the vicinity of Cathedral Cove, it’s definitely worth checking out Hahei Beach. This stunning beach is popular with tourists and locals alike and attracts surfers and body boarders although it can get a bit choppy out there! The beach is a beautiful white sand and it’s quite easy to spend a whole day down here. There are some good accommodation options in Hahei although less in terms of restaurants and places to eat out so make sure you bring everything you need if you are self catering.

Place to stay on the Coromandel Peninsula

Whitianga is a great place to base yourself on a trip to the Coromandel

Whitianga is a great place to base yourself on a trip to the Coromandel

There are a number of towns you can choose to stay in when you visit the Coromandel and the two most popular tend to be Coromandel Township on the west coast or Whitianga on the east. Our favourite place to stay is Whitianga; it really has everything a good Kiwi holiday resort needs with lots of places to stay, some great places to eat out, some good bars, great fish and chip shops and plenty to do. Whether you want to head out on the banana boat, a fishing charter, take a walk over to Cook’s Beach, play some mini golf, relax on the beach or head out to explore the rest of the peninsula, Whitianga is the perfect place to base yourself for a weekend, a week or longer.

Getting there and away

If you are planning a trip to the Coromandel and you are looking for more ideas for places to visit and how to get there and away, make sure you check out our awesome Trip Planner tool with lots of ideas for road trips throughout New Zealand. Here is a great 3 day road trip to the Coromandel:

Auckland to Coromandel Round Trip – 3 days

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GO Play activities in this area

  • 10% Off

    Gold Town Visitor Centre & Mine Tours

    Crank the handles, push the plunger and discover gold at Waihi’s new Gold Discovery Centre. Plus, Waihi Gold Mine Tours takes you ‘inside the fence’ of the massive gold mine where you can get up close to gigantic machines as they work to extract the precious gold and silver.

    126 Seddon Street, Waihi. Tel : 07 863 9015

  • 10% Off

    Guided Boat Tours*

    "Pristine coastlines, abundance of marine and bird life, unspoiled native bush and complete tranquillity; with their Full Monty Tour you’ll encounter it all! Visiting stunning beaches, including Lonely Bay, Shakespeare Cliff, Cooks Beach, Hahei and the spectacular Cathedral Cove (where the Chronicles of Narnia and Prince Caspian were filmed), you’ll experience 100% pure natural beauty on all sorts of levels. * Not applicable on the Whirlwind Tour."

    7 Esplanade, Whitianga. Tel : 027 226 6480