Local towns include Thames, Coromandel and Whitianga and Whangamata. Smaller settlements include Te Puru, Waiomu, Tapu, Colville, Whangapoua, Matarangi, Kuaotunu, Coroglen, Cooks Beach, Hahei, Hot Water Beach, Tairua and Pauanui.
Evidence of some of the earliest Polynesian settlement in New Zealand exists on the Coromandel. Historical interest points exist around every corner, telling the stories of the two great navigators Kupe and Cook and those who followed in their footsteps.
Captain Cook visited the area in 1769 and observed the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun hence the names of some of the region's beaches and bays - Mercury Bay and Cook's Beach.
In the nineteenth century the peninsula teemed with human activity associated with the exploitation of timber, gold and kauri gum. Eventually the kauri and the accessible gold were exhausted and the gum market destroyed. The Coromandel lapsed into an economic and social decline that was eventually halted by the gradual growth of farming, fishing, horticulture and tourism. The land slowly "mended" and a new era of people moved into the area, one that valued the environment. Thirty four percent of the land on the peninsula is now administered by the Department of Conservation.
The Coromandel is a rich and colourful creative hub with many studios and galleries showcasing some of New Zealand's most talented artists’ work.
The Coromandel Peninsula is noted for its beautiful beaches with backdrops of lush native bush in the hills. The gateway to the Coromandel, the Kopu Bridge, is a rustic one way bridge just 110 km from Auckland. From here head north to Thames to start your trip around the Coromandel Peninsula.
Thames, the gateway to the Coromandel, is located within an hour and a half drive of the major centres of Auckland and Hamilton and their International Airports, and yet the region is a world away from the hustle and bustle of those cities.
There are a variety of ways to get around including bus, taxi and hiring your own car or bike.
Hire a yacht and sail around the Coromandel Peninsula!
Check out these Coromandel Peninsula road trip ideas from the Automobile Association .
Its unique landscape and relaxed lifestyle make it an ideal destination for both New Zealanders and international visitors. There is plenty to do in the Coromandel and plenty to learn about.
The Coromandel is a walker's paradise with many coastal walkways and inland bush walks ranging from several hours to several days. Huge kauris that were saved from the loggers' saws still remain and can easily be viewed.
Many artists and craftspeople have made the Coromandel their home, inspired by the region's idyllic setting. Visitors can follow an arts and crafts trail from one side of the peninsula to the other following the popular Pacific Coast Highway.
Other tourism operators have established themselves to take advantage of the clear waters and many kilometres of coastline and islands surrounding the Coromandel. Choose from the numerous water activities available - fishing, sailing, kayaking, snorkelling or swimming.
Stop in at Thames and visit the historic pubs.
Wolfie's Lair Te Puru (www.wolfieslair.co.nz) (+64) 07 8682777 Great hostel only about 10km North of Thames. Quiet, clean and homely. You will get some fabulous homemade cookies on arrival. All facilities provided as well as DVDs and satellite TV.and its only a minute to walk down to the sea to witness a stunning sunset(weather permitting, of course). John and Lyn have really made it a home from home- a truly great find. Accommodates only 6 at a time for that homely feel. $24-27 a night per person.
The Bay of Plenty including Tauranga and Mount Maunganui is 1hr 20min from Whangamata and 1hr 40min from Thames.