Magical turquoise waters, breathtaking cliffs, native flora and laid-back towns—the Coromandel Peninsula is pretty much paradise. Sporting more than 400km of idyllic coastline to explore, it's little surprise that the region has some of New Zealand's most beautiful beaches.
You are able to drive to Cooks Beach, but to make the most of your experience we recommend catching the ferry from Whitianga Wharf. From there, take a 3km walk to the beach (or a shuttle) which is named after the explorer James Cook who landed in the area in 1769. The beach has a relaxed community that blossoms in the summer months - can you imagine anything more peaceful than fish and chips and a cheeky dip in the calm waters? Make sure you walk up to the Shakespeare Cliff Scenic and Historic Reserve for magnificent views and then head towards Lonely Bay, a secluded location that you're all but guaranteed to enjoy.
Te Karo Bay
Wanting to escape the crowds? Head to the lesser known Te Karo Bay, which is just north of Tairua. This beautiful location is home to the oldest sailor's grave in the country, surrounded by a white picket fence. Te Karo Bay is also great for swimming and surfing and there is a nearby reserve coated in pohutukawa's, making it a perfect spot for a picnic. If you're looking for a scenic walk, head off towards Otara Bay, it will take around an hour and you will enjoy every minute.
Tairua Ocean Beach is situated across the harbour from Pauanui and is loved for its surf. If you're heading from Auckland, expect around a two hour trip. Before you arrive, you need to know that the waves here can be powerful, so for beginners this probably isn't the best place to take out a board. Tairua Ocean Beach is also located beneath an extinct volcano (Mt Paku) that's over six million years old. For 360-degree views, head up the relatively steep track and enjoy views of Pauanui, Tairua and the local estuary. It's also a great spot for fishing, so head out on a charter or go for a surfcast if you want to try your luck.
Hot Water Beach
Hot Water Beach is simply extraordinary. Head to the beach within two hours of low tide and you’ll be able to discover underground natural hot springs that filter up through the sand. If you're being tactical, you can pick up a shovel from the local shop and dig to find just the right temperature (in certain spots the water can reach 64°C) and you'll be able to create you very own spa pool.
N.B. The local iwi of Hot Water Beach, Ngāti Hei, kindly request that visitors don’t eat or drink in the pools or leave rubbish at the beach.
New Chum Beach
Wainuiototo Bay, also known as New Chum Beach is a truly magical destination. Come here to enjoy the golden sand which is fringed between native bush and a bright blue sea. Unsurprisingly, New Chum Beach is often considered one of New Zealand’s most beautiful beaches’ lists and it’s one of our teams favourites in the Coromandel. Beginning in Whangapoua Beach you can walk for around 30 minutes until you’ll reach this little slice of paradise. Pack a picnic lunch, spend an afternoon there and get lost in time.