Hot Water Beach
The Coromandel is one spot not to be missed when travelling around the North Island of New Zealand. It’s a favourite destination for tourists and locals alike with many great places to holiday, relax and explore.
Whether you are into fishing, hiking, swimming or just enjoying the scenery, there is something for everyone.
The Coromandel is within a couple of hours drive from Auckland airport however, one thing to note, the roads around the Coromandel are pretty windy. But at the same time, there are plenty of spots to pull over, take in a bit of fresh air, admire the views, and then return to your journey.
There are many beautiful places around the Coromandel, you won’t be disappointed where ever you stay. However, these are 4 of our favourite places to visit, places we love to return to and spend quality time as a family.
Looking at Cathedral Cove from out on the water, onboard the Hahei Explorer.
In our opinion this is one of the best beaches in the Coromandel, it’s also home to the world-famous Cathedral Cove.
This incredible landmark is located between Cooks Beach and Hot Water Beach, Hahei is a small town in Mercury Bay. While there are plenty of holiday homes/baches to rent one of the best places is the Hahei Holiday Resort.
Here there is a range of accommodation from tent sites to villas but during summer you will need to book early as it’s very popular.
It’s fully equipped and backs onto the beach as well as the estuary.
There are a couple of shops to pick up the basics along with the Hahei Beach Cafe and The Pour House which services some exceptional local beer and has a fabulous menu too.
Beautiful day on Hahei beach as Lukas is about to kick the football
One reason everyone visits this part of the Coromandel is to see Cathedral Cove, famous for featuring in the movie ‘The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian’.
The walk to Cathedral Cover takes about 30 minutes from the car park or 40 minutes from the beach.
If you are planning on using the car park get there early as it fills up very quickly. The walk itself is amazing with some stunning views.
There are also 2 other bays you can visit along the way. Firstly Gemstone Bay, this is a great spot for snorkelling and even has a snorkelling trail.
There are 4 buoys, out in the bay, with handles and information panels about the marine environment are attached. You just have to snorkel from buoy to buoy.
The second is Stingray Bay, a great spot for a swim and you might even see some stingrays.
Once you get down to Cathedral Cove you will immediately notice the Cove, during the summer months this spot is packed, so good luck trying to get that quality family photo.
The beaches on either side of the cove are great for swimming.
After an early morning walk we arrived to a quiet Cathedral Cove. Great time for a family photo
There are a couple of activities not to be missed. Firstly head out on the Hahei Explorer, here Shane and the crew take you around the Hahei Marine Reserve visiting many little spots only accessible by boat.
They have a wealth of knowledge about the area and you may even be lucky to ride along with dolphins or other sea mammals. Our kids loved it!
If being a little more active is your style then a great family activity would be to paddle out on the Maine Reserve with the team from Cathedral Cove Kayak Tours. They have a range of tours and children as young as five can go too.
Definitely put Hahei on your ‘places to visit’
A day out of the Hahei Explorer with Shane and his team. About to pass through a cave.
Hot Water Beach
Only an 8-minute drive from Hahei, this place is worth at least a day visit.
There are a few spots to park that are free as well as paid parking spaces.
Head to Hotties Beachfront Eatery and rent yourself a spade for $10, cross Taiwawe stream, walk about 100-150 metres and start digging.
This spot is unreal, hot water rises and everyone starts creating their own spa pool. It really is a great activity for all the family to enjoy.
The best time to dig is at low tide but 2 hours either side of high tide will allow you to dig your spa.
Hot Water Beach at sunset as tourists and local relax in their sandy spa pools.
Hot Water Beach is also a great place to surf and swim, just make sure you swim between the flags, as the waters here can be dangerous.
Especially in front of the hot springs where there can be strong currents, rips and holes making it very hazardous.
Finding a spot to dig your spa pool can be a challenge at Hot Water Beach but it’s great fun when you do
Once you have finished your day on the beach you can rinse off at the showers outside Hotties Beachfront Eatery. Public toilets are available here too.
During the summer months, this place can get busy as it is one of the top tourist destinations in the Coromandel.
Located 20 minutes north of Whitianga and another small settlement set on a peninsula with Whangapoua Harbour on one side and the coast on the other.
We often stay in this part of the Coromandel, renting a bach with family and friends. With 4km’s of white sandy beach, there is plenty of space to relax on the beach with the family and the water is safe for swimming.
Our kids love swimming here and it’s also perfect for a morning stroll.
The white sand beach of Matarangi, Coromandel
Tennis courts are spread around the town, all you need is your racket and tennis balls. Just turn up, if its full hang around a little, eventually a court will become available.
If golf is your thing then you are in lucky, there is a stunning 18-month golf course along with a popular clubhouse and The Dunes Golf Resort’s Restaurant.
Looking back down the fairway at Matarangi golf course. Great place for a game.
During the summer months, there is always plenty to do. From Jandel throwing to Building sandcastles to the Cardboard Cup.
There is plenty here to keep the whole family entertained. Check check out the Matarangi Beach Summer Festival.
The town itself has a small Four Square where you can buy your food as well as Piper’s Cafe which offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and takeaways.
While there is no campground here, there are places/baches you can rent where you can also bring your tent.
Only 20 minutes away is New Chums Beach one of the last undeveloped spots in the Coromandel.
It’s only reachable by boat or a 30-minute hike along a track starting at the northern end of Whangapoua beach. But it’s well worth it, the stunning 1km of white sand beach makes it the perfect spot to spend the day.
The stunning New Chums Beach, you can only get there by boat or a 30 minute walk.
Set on a peninsula with Tairua Harbour on one side and the beach on the other. It really is the best of both worlds.
The beach itself is very popular in the summer months and is great for swimming.
Pauanui has its own Surf lifesaving Club too, making it even safer. Just swim between the flags.
Over looking Pauanui from Mount Paku in Tairua. With its white sand beach and stunning water views
If its water-based activities you are looking for then see Hayden and his team at Outback Surf. They offer surfing and SUP lessons for the whole family.
These boys are experts in knowing the local waters and will make sure you catch as many waves as you can. Our kids loved their time with Hayden.
If you fancy a couple of hikes in the Coromandel, the pinnacles are about a 60 minutes drive. While closer to home there is Mt Pauanui which is located at the southern end of the beach.
Now, this isn’t for the faint-hearted and will be a struggle with little ones. But the views at the summit are stunning.
You can also climb Mount Paku in Tairua, a 20-minute drive away. It’s a short walk but once more the views are spectacular.
Hayden and the team from Outback Surf School teaching a group of kids how to surf.
Stage 1 of the Pauanui Tairua trail has been completed. Here you can bike and/or walk, you can even take your dog as long as it’s on a lead. Currently, the distance is 4.2km starting in the Waterways Parade and finishing at Awa Whio Whio Bridge. There is also a loop track to for younger kids.
Renting beach baches here can be expensive however Steph and Greg at Pauanui Glade offer everything from tent sites to chalets. The facilities here are excellent too and the campground backs onto Tairua Harbour.
There is also a small shopping centre that includes Cabana cafe, bakery, Supervalue supermarket, Pauanui takeaways and Haydens Surf shop as well as a couple of other stores. For kids, there is a skatepark and plenty of playgrounds dotted around Pauanui.
There are many great places to visit in the Coromandel, these are our 4 beach spots. Another people might say differently.
However, we always have a great time up here. Creating many special family moments and memories.
If you get the opportunity to visit the Coromandel you won’t be sorry. This really is a special part of the North Island in New Zealand.