Picking up your hire car from Auckland airport and heading to the Coromandel is a great way to begin your New Zealand road trip. Less than a couple of hours drive from the city, the region is filled with beaches, rainforest-covered mountains, and waterfalls. Don’t miss out on these seven must-do activities in NZ’s very own beach paradise.
1. Check out Cathedral Cove Golden sand greets blue-green liquid depths. Pohutakawa trees with their bursting red flowers cling to exposed limestone cliffs that border the beach. Stretching out into the water is the massive natural stone archway that gives Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve its name. Only accessible by boat or foot, this beach is the Coromandel’s crowning glory. It’s well worth the roughly one hour hike it takes to get there. Once you see it for yourself you’ll understand why this spot was used in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia.
2. Create your own hot pool at Hot Water Beach New Zealand is a country that regularly displays the power of the earth beneath our feet. In Rotorua, it’s the geothermal geysers that steal the show. Visiting the volcanic White Island in the Bay of Plenty will leave you feeling like you’re exploring another planet. For the Coromandel, dig a hole in the sands of Hot Water Beach and relax in the hot pool you’ve created. Just remember to regulate the temperature by using the cold sea water! This curiosity of the beach arises thanks to the natural hot spring that sits under one section of it. As night sets, watch for the glowworms that reside along the walkway leading up to the beach and stare up at the stars above.
3. Take advantage of the hiking With some amazing hikes only a short drive away in your Auckland hire car there’s no reason not to get out and explore. Lush, thriving with life and containing more shades of green than you thought existed, NZ’s bush walks aren’t like any others in the world. The Coromandel has some great tracks to choose from. For a multiday hike try the Pinnacles Walk. Although you could do it in one day, to make the most of this popular track stay overnight in The Pinnacles Hut. The next day get an early start and race dawn to the top so you can watch the sunrise over the dramatic mountain range. If you’re looking for some shorter walks as well, consider the Thames Coastal Walkway or hunt down a few water features on the Wentworth Valley Waterfall Walk.
4. Discover the home of L&P – World famous in New Zealand You may have already heard the classic kiwi saying uttered, and screwed your face up in confusion over what it means. However, if you haven’t yet, it won’t be long. After all, this saying is ‘world famous in New Zealand’. In Paeroa you’ll find the origins of this saying, along with the home of New Zealand’s iconic soft drink, L&P. Standing for ‘Lemon’ and ‘Paeroa’, it’s this drink that coined the saying by using it in an advertising slogan. You’ll know you have the right place by the giant L&P bottle that just waiting for you to take a selfie with it. 5. Get out surfing at Waihi Beach Waihi Beach is located at the southern end of the Coromandel peninsula, and is well known by surfers all over NZ. Whether you are wanting to try something new and are a beginner or you have some experience under your belt, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Waihi. The surf is predictable and regular, preventing disappointment and providing great waves for you to enjoy. Afterwards relax on the beach with fish and chips, a bottle of L&P, and enjoy the view of Mayor Island.
6. Bask in the beauty of New Chums Beach Rated as one of New Zealand’s best beaches (and there are a few to choose from), New Chums Beach is classically beautiful with a kiwi touch. Thick native forest edges the curving white-sand beach, and the water is clear and inviting. Untouched and only accessed by crossing boulders and a stream, it’s like travelling back into NZ’s past. If you’re lucky you might even get to spot the orca or dolphins that occasionally enjoy the beach as well.
7. Get your artistic side on With the beauty of the Coromandel around you, it won’t be hard to understand why the region is the home to a thriving creative hub. Wander through the many art galleries within the coastal towns and spot some of New Zealand’s best talents on display. Don’t forget to pick up something for yourself to remember the region by! If you’d like to explore the Coromandel for yourself, book your hire car from Auckland airport today. Beaches and scenery await.