The Coromandel Peninsula is situated to the east of Auckland and is separated by a large body of water, the Firth of Thames. It is a popular holiday spot for locals from all over the North Island who come here for one main reason - the fabulous beaches. In fact, the Coromandel rivals Northland for the best beaches in the country.
The whole area is literally a string of wonderful beaches so picking the best ones is quite a task. Nevertheless, if your time is limited in the area here are some of the best that definitely should not be missed.
Note that the best beaches are all on the northern and eastern sides, facing the ocean. The western length of the coast, on the harbor of the Firth of Thames, is very pretty, but the beaches are pebbly and tidal and not ideal for swimming or sunbathing.
One of the most northern and remote beaches in the Coromandel, Fletcher Bay is reached by road more than 50 kilometers from Coromandel township. The last leg, from Colville, is unsealed, but has incredible views back to Auckland, Great Barrier Island and the Mercury Islands. There is no road access from the eastern side. Accommodation here is limited to camping and a single backpackers. This is a remote and beautiful place with several other beaches within walking distance.
Read More: Freedom Camping in New Zealand
Wainuiototo Bay (New Chums Beach) and Whangapoua
Wainuiototo Bay (also known as New Chums Beach) has been described as the most beautiful beach in New Zealand and it is an unspoilt and well-kept secret. It is reached by a thirty-minute walk north from the seaside development of Whangapoua and is definitely worth the trip.
Whangapoua itself is also a fine beach.
Facing Whangapoua across the harbor is the resort village of Matarangi with its beautiful 4.5 kilometer beach. The area is notable of the quality of the beachside homes and wide reserve areas for walking. The white sand beach is excellent for swimming at all stages of the tide.
This sandy beach is a short ferry ride from Whitianga, the main settlement in the north eastern Coromandel area. It is named after New Zealand's most famous explorer, who stayed here briefly during his voyage to New Zealand in 1769.
Hahei and Cathedral Cove
Hahei is another great beach with a large cluster of holiday homes. The area becomes very busy over January, the main New Zealand summer holiday period.
Just to the north (between Hahei and Cooks Beach) is Cathedral Cove, one of the most photographed natural attractions in New Zealand. Here, a sandstone archway separates two lovely little beaches. The area is only accessible by boat of on foot from Hahei.
Hot Water Beach
This is another well-known spot. At the northern end of the beach at low tide, hot water from an underground thermal spring comes bubbling to the surface. It's great fun to dig out your own thermal hot pool and have a warm soak.
Read more: About Hot Water Beach and Check the Tides
Tairua and Pauanui
These two beaches face each other across the narrow entrance of the Tairua Harbor and are both popular holiday destinations with a smaller permanent population. Tairua has a small township with shopping and fuel facilities.
This remote beach is another of the Coromandel's most magical spots that has not been subject to any housing development. The entire length of the 5 kilometer beach is backed by a forest of pines At the southern end is a magnificent sandspit at the entrance to the Wharekawa Harbor, a breeding ground for several species of endangered native birds.
This is another gorgeous beach, with a small community of holiday homes and just a couple of hundred permanent residents. There is a nice coastal walk at the southern end that takes you to three further private beaches.
This is a deservedly popular holiday spot with lots of beach and harbor frontage. The largest shopping area since Whitianga, there is a supermarket, convenience stores and a selection of nice restaurants. A recently built marina also accommodates leisure fishing and sailing vessels.