31 best things to do in the central North Island
Dominated by the enormous Lake Taupō and a trio of volcanoes including Mount Ruapehu, the Central Plateau is sporting a plethora of natural ...
Explore gold-mining history in rugged rainforest-clad gorges and snorkel in the sparkling waters off pōhutukawa-fringed beaches. This is a region rich in natural abundance and home to a thriving population of artists.
With 400 kilometres of coastline, The Coromandel is the perfect place for a beach-hopping holiday. Rustic, laid-back and unspoilt, this is a place where you can fully relax – the most taxing decision will be which one-of-a-kind treasure to buy in a quaint craft gallery. Charter a boat in Mercury Bay, go mountain biking or explore gold rush history, and then recharge at a restaurant; this is the perfect place to unwind.
Thames Historic main centre and gateway to the region.
Coromandel Town Tranquil haven for artists and craftspeople. Whitianga Popular harbourside holiday town.
Hahei Tiny village surrounded by great beaches.
Tairua Cafés, restaurants and a surf beach. Pauanui Plush beach holiday resort.
Whangamatā Surfing, cafés and a forest park.
Paeroa Home of Lemon & Paeroa – New Zealand’s soft drink.
Waihi A working goldmine and gateway to Karangahake Gorge.
Explore old gold-mining tunnels in the Karangahake Gorge. Take a photo of the giant L&P bottle at Paeroa. Drive the Thames Coast Road north to Coromandel Town. Visit a huge working goldmine at Waihi. Browse art and craft studios in and around Coromandel Town. Head east to often-deserted beaches such as New Chum’s and Otama. Visit the Coromandel Goldfield Centre and try panning for gold. Dig your own spa in the sand at low tide on Hot Water Beach. Pack a picnic and walk to Cathedral Cove. Learn to surf at Opoutere Beach. Mountain bike in the Tairua Forest just outside Whangamata.
In 1852 alluvial gold was discovered at Driving Creek by Charles Ring, but it was not until the 1860s that a discovery near Thames stimulated a major gold rush in the Coromandel. By 1868 the population of Thames had swelled to 18,000, making it the second most populous town in New Zealand at the time.