So you’re planning your wedding and looking for local honeymoon inspiration in New Zealand. Well, you’ve come to the right place as we break down the in’s and out’s of a honeymoon on the Coromandel Peninsula.
WHY HONEYMOON IN THE COROMANDEL?
The Coromandel is famous for its pristine beaches, misty forest walks and laid-back vibe. If there’s sun, there’s never a shortage of activities such as hiking to majestic waterfalls, soaking up the majestic scenery, surfing a lazy long wave, rock hopping to a world renowned beach, or simply enjoying a soak in a naturally hot pool.
The Coromandel will make for an incredibly relaxing post-wedding break, allowing for you and your partner to reconnect.
HOW DO WE GET THERE?
There’s a small domestic airport in the heart of Whitianga which has flights twice a week to Auckland during the summer, but most Kiwi’s opt to drive there, as the scenery along the waymackdes for a great start to the holiday.
There’s also a ferry from downtown Auckland to the township of Coromandel which takes approx. 2 hours, but as a lot of the sights are spread-out throughout the Coromandel peninsula we would suggest having a car to make the most of your time there. Another option if you are wanting to go super high end is flying in by helicopter which is becoming more common.
WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?
December to February are the peak months to visit The Coromandel, it’s bustling with people out and about enjoying their summer holidays. If you want to avoid the crowds Autumn (March-May) is the best time to visit – the weather is still warm and settled with less traffic, cheaper accommodation and just as much (if not more) to do.
In Winter the Coromandel is very quiet, making it a great place to visit if you want alone time with your partner, to hunker down, and rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.
WHERE TO STAY?
There are many places you could stay in The Coromandel but our top locations would be: Hahei, Whitianga, Matarangi or Whangamata. Hahei for its laid back vibe, fantastic beach and accessibility to top attractions such as Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach.
Whitianga for its accommodation options, shops, cafes, restaurants and tourist attractions. Matarangi for its glistening white sand beach and the fact it’s within driving distance to the world renowned New Chumms beach and one of the most popular cafes on the peninsula – Lukes cafe.
And finally Whangamata for its selection of shops, trendy eateries, friendly surf beach and buzzy beach vibe. Most people either rent out a water-front bach using Bookabach or AirBnB, stay at a local Motel/apartment or at an upmarket eco-lodge in the middle of a remote forest. One thing to note is that The Coromandel isn’t the place for 5 star luxury resorts and high-rise hotels, however there are some hidden luxury lodges available if you have the budget.
WHAT TO DO IN THE COROMANDEL?
There so many options to choose from, but here’s a breakdown of our favourites:
Hot Water Beach – now here’s a romantic idea, you and your newly minted spouse can have your personal hot pool to bath in literally metres from the shore break. Low tide is the best time to go, so make sure you check the tides before you pack togs and spade. While you’re there check out the Moko craft shop and have a coffee at one of the local cafes such as the garden setting at Hot Waves cafe.
Cathedral Cove – featured in movies like The Chronicles Of Narnia, the cove is one of the Coromandel’s most iconic spots. The walk to Cathedral Cove and beach takes about 30 minutes each way. There are many panoramic views to take photos against along the way, plus a lesser-known snorkelling spot (Stringray Bay) which is part of a wider Marine reserve. With white sand over white rock formations over turquoise waters, this is by far the biggest attraction of the peninsula. Enjoy a cold local beer afterwards at the popular local brewery The Pour House.
New Chums beach – voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. New Chumm’s is a golden sand beach with beautiful clear water, protected by thick native forest. To get there requires you to walk around the rocks for a good 15-20 minutes, but we guarantee it’s worth the effort! One of the most Instagrammed places in the Coromandel, as it’s very intimate and romantic. Pro tip: don’t forget to take your bikini / board shorts and a sneaky bottle of bubbles!
The Pinnacles Walk – the most famous hike on the Coromandel peninsula which can take anywhere between 2.5 – 8.5 hours depending on what track you pick. They follow a historic packhorse route used by kauri bushmen in the 1920’s. If you choose to do one of the longer walks across more than one day you will need to book a bed in the DOC hut (which houses a total of 80 beds) well in advance.
Bike the Hauraki Rail Trail – with 82kms of flat track it’s known as one of the easiest bike trials in New Zealand. It has many features such as the historic gold mining town of Thames and New Zealand’s longest tunnel at 1.1km.
Wentworth Valley Track – the 3km track leads you across two bridges to a truely insta-worthy waterfall. It will take you about 2 hours return but if you have time take a few moments to explore the two abandoned mine shafts along the track. But the real treat of the walk is the Wentworth Waterfall itself – dropping a whopping 20 metres.
Coromandel Oysters – shuck your own oysters at the Coromandel Oyster Factory located just 5-10 minutes outside the township. You’ll be seated between old fishing nets and bouey’s.
Lukes Cafe – save up a big appetite and sip the afternoon away whilst enjoying one of their famous pizzas and kumara chips.
Surfing – there are many spots to test out your skills but the most popular would be Whangamata beach or Lonely Sailors Grave beach near Tairua. Whangamata comes with the added bonus of a post-surf shopping and coffee session at one of the local eateries.
Cooks Beach – a walk to Lonely Bay and Shakespeare Cliff to see the panoramic views of Mercury Bay, the anchorage point for Captain James Cook. You can visit Cooks beach from Whitianga by catching the local ferry which takes just 5 minutes and costs $7 return.
The Lost Spring – located a short walk from central Whitianga The Lost Spring is the perfect way to spend a day relaxing in naturally warm water. We highly recommend one of their packages that includes a drink, snacks and a massage. You’re welcome!
Pauanui – take a sneaky look through at all the mansions on the canal before going for a swim or playing one of three golf courses in the area (Lakes International, Lakes & Pines).