Coromandel Peninsula: Tairua → Thames

How Long:

7 day loop - 200km


Anytime to enjoy pristine white beaches, good local produce, breweries, wineries and some dramatic landscapes.

Must do:

  • Coroglen Tavern for a wild night or quiet pint
  • Dig your own hot pool at Hot Water Beach
  • Check out the spectacular scenery at Cathedral Cove
  • Grab a bite and a Margarita at Luke‘s Kitchen in Kuaotunu
  • Spend the night at Earl’s Paradise campsite in Whangapoua

The Coromandel is a spectacular peninsula to spend a week exploring. From beautiful beaches, cute eateries, and plenty of fishing, surfing, and hiking, Coromandel has something for everyone.

Tairua — Day 1

Arrive in Tairua and settle in for the night. There are plenty of places to lay your head: from the campground by the rugby club to abundant freedom camping spots by the main beach and estuary. Take a leisurely stroll around the town to get acquainted with the shops and eateries for a taste of the region and friendly locals.

Tairua — Cathedral Cove & Hot Water Beach (30 km)

Start your day early and head to Cathedral Cove. A scenic hike with a picnic will reach this iconic spot, known for its stunning rock archway and pristine beach. Spend the morning exploring, swimming, and taking in the epic views.

Depending on the tide, drive to Hot Water Beach. Here, you can dig your own hot pool in the sand, thanks to natural hot springs beneath the surface. Relax and enjoy the warm waters as you watch the sunset (just expect to share your pool with 50 other people). The balmy geothermal waters make this a magical spot out of season, too.

Hot Water Beach — Whitianga (40 km)

Cruise the coastline to Whitianga, enjoy this scenic drive along the coast and stop in at Hahei to enjoy the pristine waters (even take a glass bottom boat tour) if you have a chance. Whitianga is a bigger town than most in the Coromandel, so it’s a chance to top up on water, get rid of grey waste and restock the pantry at the local shops and supermarkets.

Whitianga — Whangapoua (40 km)

Enjoy a couple of days in the beautiful Whangapoua and surrounding areas. Luke‘s Kitchen in Kūaotunu serves an excellent margarita and pizza so make sure you stop off on the way. We recommend staying at Earl’s Paradise campsite in Whangapoua, you won’t be disappointed. Warm showers, beautiful views, and flat pitches nothing can beat it. Make sure you say hi to his friendly dog Monster.

From here you can easily access the pristine beach of New Chums. It’s a bit of a hike around the cliff, but it makes for a stunning day and an adventure you won’t forget!

Whangapoua — Thames (75 km)

On the last leg of your journey around the top of the Coromandel, make sure you stop at Coromandel township. This town boasts cute shops, lots of history and an epic pie shop. Enjoy the scenery as you meander south along the road, which passes very close to the water's edge.

Once in Thames, you can easily access other hotspots on your bucket list. If you have a day to spare, we highly recommend the pinnacles walk and stay in the DOC hut at the top. This can be a pretty challenging but short hike, so make sure you get your timing is right so you’re not walking in the dark if you choose not to stay the night.

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