Coromandel Peninsula Attractions
The Coromandel Peninsula, a tongue of land marked by volcanic activity, extends northward between the Hauraki Gulf and the Firth of Thames in the west and the Bay of Plenty in the east.
The landscape of the peninsula is a contrast of wild and rugged mountains, mostly forest covered, sheer cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches. Surfers, divers and deep-sea anglers prefer the rocky indented east coast; the sheltered west coast, particularly on the Firth of Thames, is a favorite of sailing enthusiasts. In recent years the peninsula, with its largely unspoiled natural landscape, has attracted many artists and large numbers of tourists. Beautiful semi-precious stones can be found in its rivers and streams and on its beaches. Visitors should beware of dangerous abandoned mine shafts.The backbone of the peninsula is the Coromandel Range, which extends to the northern tip of the peninsula at Port Jackson. Visitors can explore the varied landscapes of the peninsula on a round trip on Highway 25. A good starting-point is the little town of Thames.
Coromandel, New Zealand
On the northwest coast of the peninsula is the port of Coromandel (pop. 1,500), around which gold was worked in the 1860s. There is an interesting museum in the former School of Mines (open by appointment). Other features are the old Court House (1860) and an old stamper battery for crushing the gold-bearing ore.
26km north of Coromandel, the little township of Colville, an old loggers' camp, is the last place for taking in supplies for the journey to the northern part of the peninsula (Port Jackson, Port Charles, Kennedy Bay).
At the north end of the peninsula is Mount Moehau (892m), regarded by the Maoris as a sacred mountain. The commander of the Arawa tribal canoe is believed to be buried on the summit. It is a steep and difficult ascent - but worthwhile for the view (in fine weather).
Mercury Bay has long been known for fishing, and still draws anglers and divers.
These two prettily situated holiday resorts lie close together on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, between Whitianga and Whangamata, separated only by Tairua Harbour. Their beaches attract large numbers of tourists.
Whangamata, New Zealand
On the southeast coast of the peninsula is the popular holiday resort of Whangamata (pop. 4000), which grew out of an earlier loggers' and gold-miners' settlement. There is a sheltered beach in the bay, and there are other good beaches further north at Onemana and Opoutere and to the south at Whirirtoa.There is good walking in the Taitua State Forest to the north and in the Wentworth and Parakowhai valleys in the interior of the peninsula. Here and there are the remains of gold workings.