The Greenwood Guide to New Zealand
Coromandel, New Zealand

Eating and Drinking in Coromandel, New Zealand

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Colenso Café and Shop

Whenuakite

Cafés & delis

This absolute gem of a café is situated just before the turn-off (coming from the south) to Hahei and Hot Water Beach. Everything about it is just so, well… very very pleasant. All the food is hearty, fresh and utterly mouthwatering, even just to look at, from muffins, quiches and cakes to great coffee and juice freshly squeezed from their orchard fruits. There is also a great shop full of local, great-quality crafts and arts. Set in the country amid beautiful herb gardens, I’d not be surprised if the café is actually a clever ruse so that owners Ruth and Andy never have to spend any time away!

  • Prices: Open 10 - 5 daily. Closed for August.
  • Contact: Main Road, State Highway 25, Whenuakite
  • Tel: 07-866-3758
  • Fax: 07-866-3759
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Umu Cafe and Restaurant

Coromandel Town

Cafés/galleries

Head no further than Umu for hearty café breakfasts where happy, friendly staff serve great coffee and superb corn fritters, among other things. It’s open daily from brunch to dinner and the menu’s awash with local seafood as well as pizzas, NZ lamb and cake. Big, colourful paintings by local artists dress the walls and the atmosphere is delightfully relaxed and calming a lot like Coromandel Town itself....

Umu Cafe and Restaurant
  • Prices: Lunches from $7.50 (for delicious wraps) to $22.50, dinners $21.50 - $30, pizza $13 - $22 depending on size and toppings.
  • Contact: 22 Wharf Road, Coromandel Town
  • Tel: 07-866-8618
  • Email: umucafe@xtra.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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The Scallop Festival

Whitiangia

Festivals

Innovate and creative scallop recipes, wine stalls, Indian seafood, and belly dancers, all by the harbour in Whitianga. I half-fancied my chances at the scallop opening competition, but perhaps I would be better off settling for sipping a coffee and tucking into some succulent Coromandel scallops (opened by another, of course!) at the Jazz Brunch. A 'shucking good time' is promised for all. Tickets for this year's third festival sold out in six days, so be prepared to scramble.

  • Prices: Four-day event. Entry for the Saturday is $30.
  • Contact: PO Box 592, Thames
  • Tel: 09-402-7932
  • Email: carl@thecoromandel.com
  • Web: www.scallopfestival.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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The Peppertree Restaurant

Coromandel Town

Restaurants

Superb fishes of the day – try orange roughy with prawns and scallops – juicy local beef, lamb and interesting vegetable concoctions explain why this is the most popular restaurant in town. Situated in an old country-style cottage with a laid-back, wrap-around balcony, its roaring fires, adjoining bar and great service help enormously. 'Our lunch here [of local crayfish] will retain a fond place in our memories for the rest of our lives,' said one lifelong-happy customer. Well, this place definitely gets my vote too.

  • Prices: Mains from $22.50 - $32.50; Various seafood platters and indulgences at differing prices depending on season.
  • Contact: 31 Kapanga Road, Coromandel Town
  • Tel: 07-866-8211
  • Email: peppertreerandb@xtra.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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The Fire Place

Whitianga

Restaurants

Right on the marina, this place does exactly what it says on the packet. Several open fires add to its attractive cosiness, indoor palms and warm wooden interiors lending it a slight colonial-in-the-tropics feel. And the food is fantastic. There are crisp-based pizzas with a variety of exciting toppings, juicy lamb and chicken from the rôtisserie, and daily specials of fresh fish, fresh pasta and curry amongst other taste-bud temptations.

The Fire Place
  • Prices: Pizzas $20, light meals from $15.00 - $21.00, mains from $30.00 - $36.00.
  • Contact: 9 The Esplanade, Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula
  • Tel: 07-866-4828
  • Fax: 07-866-0102
  • Email: thefireplace@xtra.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Ohinemuri Estate Winery and Restaurant

Paeroa

Wine

“A day without wine is like a day without sunshine.” Quite. It’s with thoughts like these that Horst and Wendy uprooted from Germany to the beautiful Karangahake Gorge to start making wine from their garage. Nearly 20 years on, this fun, family-run boutique vineyard is going strong with a restaurant now serving excellent food in the old stables and its lovely, rustic courtyard. Close to Auckland, this is a destination in itself with walking tracks, history and entertainment (à la Horst) aplenty.

Ohinemuri Estate Winery and Restaurant
  • Prices: Wines prices from $19 - $25 per bottle. Restaurant prices from $11 - $25 for lunches and all day breakfasts. Open 10am to 5pm.
  • Contact: Moresby Street, Karangahake Gorge, Paeroa
  • Tel: 07-862-8874
  • Fax: 07-862-8847
  • Email: ohinemuri.wines@paradise.net.nz
  • Web: www.ohinemuri.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Purangi Estate Winery

Whitianga

Wine

This vineyard is so wonderfully rustic and antiquated you can almost hear the dusty shelves groan under the weight of organically-grown bottles of wines and ciders - almost as loudly my own groans the morning after I polished off (with friends!) a bottle of their splendid feijoa liqueur. All fruit and herbs are gathered here on the estate to make traditional, fortified and fruity alcoholic beverages. Sit by the pine log fire in ‘The Buttery’ brasserie or in the heat of the summer in the shade on kiwi-fruit vines and taste their delicious feijoa and kiwi liqueurs. You can also retrace the exploration of the Purangi River by Capt. Cook on a cruise that starts at Cook’s Bay and ends here at the original ‘Top Landing’ right on the Purangi Estate. This place is effortlessly charming, delightfully quirky and off-the-tourist-beaten-track; a must-see that's definitely worth the effort.

  • Prices: Open 7 days, 9.30am - 5pm. Summer until 11pm. Call for details about the Winery River Cruise (capacity 10).
  • Contact: 450 Purangi Road, Whitianga
  • Tel: 07-866-3724
  • Fax: 07-866-2948
  • Email: info@purangi.co.nz
  • Web: www.purangi.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Coromandel Highlights

  • 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.
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