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 Peninsula is noted for its beautiful beaches with backdrops of lush native bush in the hills.
The Coromandel is a rich and colourful creative hub with many studios and galleries showcasing some of New Zealand's most talented artists’ work.
- InterCity  operates daily bus services from Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.
Get around by bus, taxi or hiring your own car or bike.
- Thames and the nearby Kauaeranga Valley are rich in history and tourist attractions and make a great place to start any trip to the Coromandel Peninsula.
- Coromandel is a nice coastal village with many craft shops and interesting tourist attractions.
- Hahei and Cathedral Cove, visit the Te Whanganui-A-Hei marine reserve.
- Hot Water Beach is a beach with two hot springs emerging under the sands, where you can dig your own hot pool.
- Thames Coast, the winding coastal road from Thames north towards Coromandel is worthly of special mention. In December the beautiful pohutakawa trees flower, and is a site to behold. This tree is affectionately known as the New Zealand Christmas tree, and several festival events in December celebrate the time.
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.
- Mercury Bay Art Escape  Free self drive art tour of open art studios around Mercury Bay held annually over 2 long weekends in Feb /Mar. See the best in Coromandel arts & meet the artists. Art for sale, music & associated art events. Studio hours 10am-4pm
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.
- Driving Creek Railway  is an attraction close to Coromandel Town which began life as a back yard project for sculptor Barry Brickell, who initially created his narrow gauge railway to help extract sculpting clay from deposits on his land. Over the years it has grown into an elaborate mountain railway with spirals, tunnels, viaducts, reversing points, and a summit station called the "Eyefull Tower" with views above the forest canopy across the Coromandel. One hour return trip.
- Snapper from the sea bream family is one of the most popular food fishes on the Coromandel. Try out some of the best smoked fish in the world!
- Green-lipped mussels from Coromandel are the best around and are farmed commercially in the Firth of Thames and Hauraki Gulf.
- Crayfish or spiny lobster are a local delicacy.
- Scallops are plentiful on the Coromandel and the annual Scallop Festival in Whitianga is a must do.
- Peppertree Restaurant & Bar (31 Kapanga Rd, Coromandel, t +64 7 866 8211) – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Go Vino (19 Captain Cook Road, Cooks Beach. t +64 7 86712150 - Breakfast, Lunch, Pizza and Dinner (KaiZen Sharded Plates)
Stop in at Thames and visit the historic pubs.