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The Coromandel Top 5 Things To Do

  The Coromandel region encompasses both the Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki Districts, from Orere Point at the top of the Shorebird Coast to Orokawa Bay on the Eastern side and down to the Karangahake Gorge in the South.
1 - Cathedral Cove:
  Cathedral Cove is worth a visit at any time of year, with the cooler months delivering deserted sands and sheltered bays. Surrounded by high white cliffs, cut off from the rest of the world were it not for the occasional small boat from Ocean Leopard Tours or Glass Bottom Boat gliding close to shore, it’s easy to feel marooned in paradise.
  Cathedral Cove is a mini-world rich with nature, culture and colour. The calm azure waters of the Mercury Bay slide in and out of the Cathedral Arch, sculpting the volcanic coastline, creating blowholes and caves over time. The nature here is extraordinarily beautiful.
  The detours along the walkway offer more to witness and experience than simply taking the same trip back. The sculptural effect of the sandstone cliff-face at Stingray Bay is strangely alluring. Accessible only by kayak with Cathedral Cove Kayaks or on foot, this part of the Te-Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve is a haven for stingrays.
  Gemstone Bay is another worthwhile detour on the walk to the cove. It is a snorkelling hotspot, with an official snorkel trail making it easy to discover the teeming wildlife beneath the surface at Te-Whanganui-A-Hei, especially with a guide from Cathedral Cove Dive and Snorkel.
2 - Hot Water Beach:
  Hot Water Beach is a NZ Must Do and one of its most dramatic places. Where surging waves meet hot sand underneath your bare feet at low tide, Hot Water Beach presents a landscape and an atmosphere like nowhere else. Popular for a patch of thermal water bubbling just beneath the surface of the sand, Hot Water Beach has achieved cult-like status as a worldwide wonder right here on The Coromandel.
  If low tide falls at sunrise, you can greet the day from the warmth of your own private pool dug in the sand on the shore of the mighty Pacific. Equally as magical under the vast night sky soaking in your homemade spa under the galaxy of stars overhead.
  Visitors flock to this quiet place two hours either side of low tide, but it is up to you how long to stay. An entire day will give you the opportunity to eat at ‘Hot Waves Cafe’ or ‘Hotties’. Wile away an afternoon browsing in Moko Artspace for Pacific style New Zealand art, craft and giftware. Finish your visit with fish and chips from the Hot Water Beach Top Ten Holiday Park, also a great place to relax.
3 - The Pinnacles:
  Climbing to the summit of The Pinnacles is something everyone should do at least once. As the highest point the Coromandel Range hikers are rewarded at The Pinnacles summit (759 m) with spectacular views of the bush, mountains and shining coastline of the eastern Coromandel. The track leaves from the end of the gravel road in the stunning Kauaeranga Valley, in the hills behind Thames.    It is a day hike for the reasonably fit, or you can overnight in The Pinnacles Hut (make sure you book a bed with DOC) to make a more leisurely adventure. Perhaps you will get up early to catch the spectacular sunrise from the summit, after a steady climb from the hut, steep in places, climbing ladders on the final stage of the ascent.
  The Kauaeranga really is ‘adventure valley’, with hikes, walks and mountain biking, horse riding trails, campsites, old kauri dams, swing bridges, waterfalls and verdant green forest. Sleeping God Canyon is the thrillseekers playground, but you do need to go there with guides from Canyonz. Adventurers will relish the 300m vertical descent of the canyon, abseiling, sliding and jumping down one of the most exciting and most challenging adventure playgrounds New Zealand.
4 - Karangahake Gorge:
  The dramatic landscape along the road from Paeroa to Waihi is revealed as the road winds through the rocky ravine of the spectacular Karangahake Gorge. There’s so much to see in this area that you can easily spend a day exploring. Many walks and gold relics to investigate here, there’s a good sign board at the main car park where you can also lock up your bikes (as it is on  the Hauraki Rail Trail).
  The Windows Walkway is discovered by crossing two old suspension bridges over the Ohinemuri and Lower Waitawheta Rivers. Climbing the stairs, through the abandoned buildings and machinery of the Talisman battery the track runs along the steep valley and into the old gold mining tunnels. The tunnel has four openings (windows) which look down on the spectacular river gorge far below.
  Further east in the gorge you will also discover the gushing staircase Owharoa Falls and a spooky 1,100-metre long railway tunnel (a torch is a good idea). The gorge can also be reached via vintage railway from Waihi to Waikino Station where there’s a great cafĂ© and bike hire. The Bistro at the Falls Retreat and Karangahake Winery are both excellent stopping points for a relaxing lunch.
5 - Hauraki Rail Trail:
  Getting on your bike on the Hauraki Rail Trail is one of the best ways to get out and explore the southern part of The Coromandel. One of New Zealand’s easiest Great Rides, this trail follows old railway lines between historic gold towns, from the salt-licked Firth of Thames and verdant Hauraki Plains, to a rocky gorge strewn with relics of the gold mining era.
  The Hauraki Rail Trail is a perfect way to get off the beaten track and explore the hidden gems of the region. The beauty of this trail is its proximity to the many other attractions on The Coromandel, the fact that you can access most of it easily from the road, allowing transport flexibility and its Grade One status. Since its inception, the trail has added so much to a region known for its beaches by providing a relaxing way to experience local culture, heritage and cuisine.
  From start to finish, the Hauraki Rail Trail has 197km of riding, connecting Kaiaua on the Shorebird Coast with regional towns of Thames, Paeroa, Waihi and Te Aroha before heading south to Matamata. A multi-day cycle trip is definitely a good option for those with the time, but all these charming towns may be explored along the trail for a shorter ride.