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Coromandel Town Chill Out

  Renowned for its natural beauty, mist overlaid forests and pristine golden beaches, the Coromandel is blessed with many natural wonders and hidden gems, making it an ideal place to slow down, relax and unwind. Framed by native Pohutukawa trees on the western side, beautiful white sandy beaches on the east and divided by ranges and steep gorges cloaked in native subtropical rainforest, the Coromandel’s 400 km of coastline also offers the visitor a truly distinctive mix of outdoor experiences.
  A favourite destination for residents of Auckland for generations, the northern part of the Coromandel Peninsula was always known for it’s remoteness but that changes in summer when tourists flock to historic Coromandel Town where campervans, motorbike riders and travellers lift this tranquil seaside town into a buzz-induced, wicked weekend destination where the pioneer spirit of the past still survives.
  After a visit in 1820 by the HMS Coromandel, which dropped anchor into what is now Coromandel Harbour to source Kauri spars, the name was bestowed on what became a town and the peninsula. The ship was actually named after the Coromandel Coast off Madras in India and for the hardwood Coromandel timber found there and in Sri Lanka.
  The discovery of gold by Charles Ring at Driving Creek in 1852 shook awake the sleepy timber settlement as thousands of miners soon descended into the region in search of their fortune. Today the town and surrounding area continues to flourish and grow richer while the main street still retains many historic old buildings, mining artifacts and feel-good atmosphere from that Victorian period.
  With its laid-back lifestyle, Coromandel attracts a slew of talented artists and craftspeople from around the country-inspired not only by the tranquil atmosphere, but also by the spectacular natural surroundings. Complementing this cottage industry is a growing number of highly recommended restaurants and cafes, as well as commercial mussel and oyster farms that supply local outlets and takeaways such as the Coromandel Smoking Company.
  If hiking is on your hit list, then Coromandel Town has a range of trails to explore with detailed maps available from the Information Centre in town. The longest trail is the Success Track, which has a walking time of 2.5 hours return. The Harray Track is listed as 70 minutes one-way. Other local but shorter tracks to consider are: The Kauri Block Track 45 minutes one-way, Long Bay Scenic Reserve and Kauri Grove Track 40 minutes return, Taumatawahine Reserve 20 minutes return and Gold Stamper Battery Track 15 minutes return.
  Besides coastal walkways, enjoy a swim, take a fishing trip, rent sea kayaks and be amazed at the seascapes and marine reserves, or back on land visit an artist’s studio or reflect on the heritage of the region in one of the town’s historic museums.
  The town is located just a two and a half hours scenic drive from Auckland, Hamilton or Tauranga. Alternatively take the stress out of driving and take a relaxed, scenic ferry journey from Auckland or Waiheke Island instead (seasonal). Options include the Weekender or the Wanderer, which incorporates the Coromandel Coastal Walkway Tour, a scenic trip to the tip of the peninsula, a three to four hour walk.

8 Great Reasons to Visit Coromandel Town:

1 - Coromandel Town offers beautiful scenery and restored heritage architecture stemming from the pioneering days of timber and gold. It’s also an easy place to get around with a wide array of modern shops and eateries and attractions with smiling, friendly locals offering great service and amenities.
2 - Cafes, Bars, Restaurants and Takeaways will entice any visitor with a variety of cuisine to choose from, such as locally smoked fish or mussel chowder. Maybe hook into some takeaway fish and chips or try some Coromandel-style Thai dishes; also don’t forget to grab a plate of good pub grub or experience a fine dining restaurant where your taste buds are sure to be tickled.
3 - Driving Creek Railway is just three kilometres north of the township. This is a remarkable train ride on a  world-class narrow gauge mountain railway passing through kauri forest that includes a number of great engineering marvels. The line climbs to the terminus named, the ‘Eyefull Tower’, which present some stunning panoramic views. www.dcrail.nz
4 - Fishing and Harbour Cruises are one of the best day’s out you’ll get with family and friends when visiting Coromandel Town. There are several choices for half-day or full day excursions that should fill the ice chest for the rest of your trip.
5 - Waiau Waterworks is 8.7 km out of town heading east on 309 Rd. This is a highly entertaining theme park where whimsical wonders are driven by the power of water. Just two kilometres further up the road visit the 1,200 year-old kauri tree grove. www.thewaterworks.co.nz
6 - Arts and Crafts are well represented around the Coromandel Town district, so make time to see some of the artist studios or the several craft shops and galleries for which the town is becoming increasingly recognised. The Coromandel Peninsula Craft Trail brochure has more information on each artist.
7 - Bush e Bikes is one way to discover Coromandel and the surrounding area on a quality e bike made in Europe. Both touring and multi purpose e bikes are available which feature a powerful mid-drive motor, which gives a normal bike feel. There are options for part day, day and multi day tours. www.bushebikes.co.nz
8 - CoroZip: experience a spectacular 18-minute train ride will take you up New Zealand’s only mountain railway to the start of your Ziplining experience. Your two friendly guides will then lead you along eight ziplines, which breath-taking native forest and across gullies and streams. www.dcrail.nz/corozip

5 Events & Festivals:

1 - ILLUME Coromandel Winter Festival of Light showcases the heritage and history of Coromandel Town. It’s a free family festival, with live music, audiovisual performances, street performers, streetlights and lanterns, as well as stalls with great food, fun and laughter. When: 25/26 September 2020.www.illumefest.co.nz
2 - The Keltic Fair is a fun, family filled day with over 300 stalls selling food, arts and crafts, with music and entertainment all day that attracts more than 15,000 visitors annually. When: 2 January 2021 from 9 am to 4 pm. www.kelticfair.co.nz
3 - The Coro Sonic Lab Summer Fest is back! Live music, BYO picnic, lawn games, dancing and good times. It’s a small boutique festival with an absolutely killer lineup of performers. Enjoy an afternoon of live music, play some games, sit back with a picnic and then dance into the night. When: January 2021.www.thecoromandel.com/explore
4 - The Coromandel Mussel Festival is where mussel favorites are served all day. On offer is mussel chowder, mussel fritters, mussels battered, mussels on the half shell and mussels steamed in sauces. Live music and entertainment. Craft beer is also brewed on site. When: February 2021. www.thecoromandel.com/events
5 - Coromandel Seafood Festival celebrates all that is great in the pristine waters of Coromandel Harbour, renowned for its mussel and oyster farms, which includes a fishing completion, oyster and mussel shucking, fish filleting, food demos, live bands and local cafés and restaurants showcasing seafood. When: May 2021. www.coromandeltown.co.nz/seafood-fest

Dining in Coromandel Town:

  Admirals Arms Hotel, 46 Wharf Road: Enjoy a relaxing dining experience with 180-degree views of the mountains and the sea. From bowls of fries to steak meals or steamed mussels, seafood chowder, fish and chips, fisherman’s basket, nachos, burgers and plenty more. Fully licensed serving lunch and evening meals including an outdoor beer garden with live music most Friday nights. www.admiralsarms.co.nz
  Driving Creek Railway Biscuit Café, 380 Driving Creek Road: Biscuit is a small café tucked away at the picturesque Driving Creek Railway & Potteries. They sell delicious fresh baking, Allpress coffee, organic ice creams and cold drinks. The perfect spot to grab a bite before jumping on the train, zip-lining or learning how to throw a clay pot of your own. There is recycling in a hot composter and they encourage bring your own cups. The cafe is a three-minute drive from town. Summer Hours 9 am 4 pm www.drivingcreekrailway.com
  Munchies Bakehouse, 92 Wharf Road: Fresh Bread, pies, cakes, croissants, filled rolls or a Cafe La La coffee. Gourmet filled rolls, croissants and Panini’s made to your taste. You can sit outside on the sunny picnic area or takeaway. The Bakehouse is happy to provide lunches for your fishing charter trip which you can pre-order the day before. P: 07 866 8554
  Mussel Kitchen, corner 309 Road and State Highway 25: This is one of the best places to sample Green Lipped Mussels in Coromandel, fresh from their own mussel farms. They offer a menu of inventive flavoursome mussel dishes and vegetarian options in an open garden bar or under shaded verandahs. Open 7 days from 10 am (summer only). www.musselkitchen.co.nz
  Peppertree Restaurant & Bar, 31 Kapanga Road: Majestically situated in the heart of Coromandel Township, relax in a sun-soaked courtyard or under shaded verandas in summer or choose a cozy table next to an open fire during winter. Specialising in fresh local seafood and award-winning modern Kiwi cuisine, enjoy a unique dining experience in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Fully licensed, open 7 days 10 am 9 pm. www.peppertreerestaurant.co.nz
  Star and Garter Hotel, 5 Kapanga Road: Inside this warm and friendly bar is where you get two restaurants for the price of one. You can choose from the menu of Peppertree Restaurant and have the dishes delivered to your table. They also offer a wide range of Monteiths beers on tap and a good wine list selection with both indoor and outdoor dining. www.starandgarter.co.nz
  Umu Cafe, 22 Wharf Road: This licensed restaurant and café offers a takeout, or eat in, with an ever changing menu of fresh local seafood, salads, pizzas, tasty steaks, Kiwi lamb, vegetarian meals and a delicious range of sweet and savoury cabinet food available. Licensed for beer and wine P: 07 866 8618
  Weta Café, 46 Kapanga Road: Situated on the village green across from the I-Site Centre, this is a lovely unique café hidden away from the main street in Coromandel Town. Food is very delicious with a ‘Build Your Own Sandwich’ option, steamed or grilled mussels, seafood chowder, salads, breakfasts and good coffee and takeaways. The staff are very friendly with its location right in the township with plenty of parking in the back car park. 8 am-3 pm, licensed for beer and wine, P: 07 866 7535 (closed Monday)
  Wharf Road Café, 24 Wharf Road: Wharf Road is an independently run daytime café in Coromandel Town. They serve vibrant, contemporary food for breakfast, brunch & lunch with delicious all-day breakfasts. The food at Wharf Road isn’t your usual NZ café food muffins, frittata and pies; they also offer a really good vegetarian menu and are exploring new flavour combinations and ‘raising the bar’ for food in the town. There is also front street tables or an outdoor back courtyard. Licensed for beer and wine, P: 07 866 7538, Open 8 am-3 pm
  For other options contact the Coromandel Information Centre, 60 Kapanga Road, P: 7 866 8598 Open 10 am.