Coromandel Town is full of history from New Zealand's early gold mining and logging days. Set on a natural harbour, the town was named after the ship H. M. S Coromandel, which called here in 1820 to collect kauri logs to make spars for the British Royal Navy.
A gold strike in the late 1860s saw the town's population shoot up to 10,000. Although the serious mining days are over, the town has New Zealand’s last fully functional stamper battery - still on its original site and working on a daily basis.
These days, Coromandel Town is a quiet, charming settlement and an artists' haven. As well as galleries and craft shops showcasing the local talent, Coromandel has many restored Victorian buildings, a narrow gauge mountain railway and a small mining museum. With a variety of accommodation, activities and eateries, the town makes a great base for local beach and forest explorations. Don't miss checking out the local potters' creations as well as a ride through forest-clad mountains on the Driving Creek Railway.
A great way to reach Coromandel Town is via passenger ferry from Auckland City. The passage takes two hours each way, and you'll cruise past many of the Hauraki Gulf's islands en route.
To the south, a track off 309 Road leads to a popular swimming hole surrounded by beautiful native forest. Further up the road, another trail takes you to a grove of large kauri - one of the original stands on the peninsula. The grove contains two ancient kauri trees that are fused together towards the base.
Back in the town, a path next to 356 Wharf Rd leads you to the beginning of the Kauri Block Walk. The trail leads up to an old Maori pa (fortress) site, which provides spectacular 360-degree views of the Coromandel Ranges, offshore islands and the township. The trail then continues along a ridge through regenerating forest and native plantings until it emerges at Harbour View Road. This walk offers a taste of both Maori and pakeha heritage.
North of Coromandel Town, a walking track in the Papa Aroha Scenic Reserve meanders through a typical coastal native forest of puriri, kohekohe and pohutukawa before emerging onto an attractive swimming beach.
Content courtesy of Tourism NZ
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