Located less than 3 hours from Auckland, the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula is the perfect weekend escape from the city. There's no better excuse to pick up an Auckland rental car and cruise around this picturesque region at your own pace. Follow our itinerary to make sure you soak in the best of the Coromandel.
Often rated as one of the world's most renowned beaches, Hot Water Beach may be unlike anything you’ve seen before. Underground reservoirs of naturally heated water bubble to the surface here, allowing you to dig out your own hot-tub in the soft sand.
The natural springs are exposed within 2 hours either side of low tide, so it is best advised you get there well before low tide in order to beat the crowd and stake out a prime spot for your personal sand spa.
Arguably the most picturesque spot in the Coromandel Peninsula, Cathedral Cove should be high on the list of any New Zealand adventurer. It's a lengthy hike down to the cove, but the walk itself offers simultaneously peaceful and breathtaking views, so it's certainly worth donning your walking boots.
There are also kayaking tours available that take you to the cove, allowing for majestic views of this volcanic coastline via the ocean. Pack a picnic and get there early – once you step foot into the stunning and secluded Cathedral Cove, you may want to relax there for the rest of the day.
Just outside Whitianga you’ll find the clean and serene Lost Spring, a place that allows you to forget the world for a day of rejuvenating. Pamper yourself with massage therapies and beauty treatments, or just soak in the natural springs for a while.
The Lost Spring also has a fully licensed café and restaurant, so you can enjoy some food and drinks served to you by the pool.
Whangamata is an iconic summer holiday town, set amongst sand, surf and rainforest. Home to some of the best surfing breaks in the country, Whangamata is a perfect destination for those hunting for sunshine and rolling waves.
On the opposite side of town you’ll find the Coromandel Forest Park, an incredible place criss-crossed with mountain bike trails and short walks, offering stunning views across the area's landscape.
Did we mention shopping? Whangamata is also home to the best shopping centres in the region, making it a great place to visit and explore for all the family.
If you have kids to entertain, or if you need to just release your inner child, go and experience the quirky Waterworks theme park. With over 70 attractions to interact with, there's plenty here to keep all ages enthralled.
Aside from the numerous attractions, The Waterworks also offers BBQ and picnic areas, a café and a water hole to jump into and cool off in the summer months.
Situated just south of the Coromandel in the Bay of Plenty, this relaxed beach town is home to a dormant volcano rising above the seemingly endless beach front. If you love strolling along a beach, watching the waves roll in and breathing in the sea air, then this is the spot for you.
For those chasing an even better view, take your pick of tracks leading up to the summit of Mauao, also known as "The Mount". Offering breathtaking views over the town and the Pacific Ocean, this is a climb that's well worth your time.
Excited for a weekend wander? Pick up a cheap car hire at Auckland Airport and explore the sights of the Coromandel Peninsula.