The Greenwood Guide to New Zealand

Coromandel

  • Get out the binos at watch the temporarily resident birdlife at the Firth of Thames near Miranda. Thousands of birds, especially the ones from Siberia and the Arctic, have flown as far as you have, but with slightly more effort, to reach these shores for some winter sun to breed.
  • Follow the crimson trail made by summer's blooming pohutukawas, the NZ 'Christmas tree', as you drive north up the coast from Thames. Cross over the peninsula's forest-clad mountain spine and come down the east coast's rugged coastal route.
  • Venture into the impressive Coromandel Forest Park, an area steeped in kauri logging history. Choose one of the many trails and walk past milling remnants and through nikaus, ferns and the remaining kauris of this luxuriant, dense forest.
  • Potter around low-key Coromandel Town and take the time to visit local artists' workshops and quirky establishments - don't miss the brilliantly fun Waiau Waterworks on Highway 309!
  • Follow the unsealed west coast road to the real land's end at Fletcher Bay. This place is magical: deserted beaches, walks in forests and along the coast and splendid views (all across the Hauraki Gulf) abound.
  • Last but definitely not least, kayak in the idyllic marine reserve around Cathedral Cove and discover some of New Zealand's most gorgeous beaches at Hahei, Matarangi and Whangamata.

Pamper yourself at a Hot Water Beach

Dig yourself a hole in the sand on Hahei's Hot Water Beach and sit in your very own natural spa pool, heated by thermal waters that brew just below its surface. If you want to cool off in the sea, do be especially careful - the waters here have currents and are dangerous for swimming.

Kauri 2000

The Coromandel was once home to magnificent forests of kauri. However, after years of logging during the 19th and early 20th centuries, very little of it now remains. Kauri 2000 is a very special organisation that seeks to organise and encourage re-planting. For just $10 you can have a kauri seedling planted on your behalf by volunteers and you'll receive a certificate giving you your tree's exact location. A great excuse for returning to the beautiful Coromandel, to see your little tree grow big. For further information contact Kauri 2000 Trust, T/F 07-866-2656, www.kauri2000.co.nz

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