When we told family and friends that we were heading to New Zealand and would be exploring the north island, one place came up consistently as a recommendation. The Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is located at the northern end of the north island, an 85 kilometre spit of land filled with beautiful beaches and lush forests. Due to its isolated nature, the Coromandel is sparsely populated, and those areas that do contain villages and towns tend to draw creative, bohemian types.
Our first stop upon arrival at the Coromandel Peninsula was to experience the famous Hot Water Beach. By digging under the sand in particular areas of the beach, water of temperatures up to 64 °C (147 °F) can be drawn up to the surface. Those looking to uncover a little natural hot pool are able to hire a spade from the beach huts near the car park. Because the water is only hot in very specific areas, it can get a little cosy with everyone trying to dig a pool in those sweet spots. We decided not to hire a spade, but still had a lovely walk along the beach and enjoyed dipping our toes into the warm streams escaping from the pools other people had dug.
This beach also had the most amazing collection of shells. They lay in swathes across the beach, forming beautiful pastel toned stripes in the sand. Admittedly, we spent far too much time sifting through them, looking for the weirdest and most wonderful specimens. But hey, there’s nothing like the beach to help you unwind and feel like a child again!
Cathedral Cove is the main selling point of the Coromandel. You will most likely have seen images of its famous beach cove tunnel on Instagram, and that’s what drew us here. It managed however to far exceed our expectations, and turned out to be one of our favourites beaches we have ever visited.
The hike down alone was breathtaking, with stunning panoramic views across the water. You can just about see one of the large rocks on the beach in the left of the photo below. It took around 25-30 minutes to walk down from the car park (although this was more strenuous on the way back due to it all being uphill!). Though, those views more than made up for our tired legs!
Here is that famous cove you’ll have seen elsewhere. I love the way the plants and trees were still growing all over it, oblivious to the fact that the rock is isolated from the rest of the land. Those soft pastel orange and yellow streaks infiltrating the rock are just gorgeous too. It’s like something created by an artist on canvas.
Just look at that clear white sand, and turquoise water. This place really is like a little slice of paradise. Look how quiet it was too! We visited in October, so that probably had something to do with the sparse tourism, but it was still more than warm enough for a sunbathe and a paddle.
There’s something almost other-worldly about New Zealand’s landscapes. Looking at these images, they could have come from prehistoric times, or even the setting of a utopian fantasy.
The beach itself contained various caves and even a small waterfall. Nestled in the far corner, the mini waterfall trickles down from the lush plant life above, providing a clean, natural shower for salty beachgoers. Combine this with the white sands, clear blue waters and unwavering sunshine, and I’d say this place is pretty perfect.
We stayed at an Airbnb for our evening in the village of Coromandel. Genevieve’s treehouse at Fern Lodge was like a little slice of bohemian heaven. Nestled deep in amongst the trees lies this rustic treehouse, made from hardy timbers and a whole lot of love and care. Pulling into the driveway, we were greeted by our host Genevieve. Flagging her sides were her two super friendly dogs and a host of birds, including Californian quails! The accommodation itself included a fully equipped kitchen, a cosy living/dining area, a grand piano, two bedrooms, a cute little bathroom, and a gorgeous balcony. I fell in love from the minute we arrived. We could easily have stayed here for at least a week, if not more.
Genevieve hires out a handful of Airbnbs on site, alongside an art and pottery studio. She has developed the area into a rich ecosystem of both native and non-native plant life, and also keeps bees. How idyllic does that sound? I am so so jealous of this beautiful bohemian way of life!
We spent our evening drinking hot chocolate out on the balcony, watching the most beautiful sunset disappear behind the blanket of trees surrounding our little abode. The perfect end to the perfect day.
Our final stop on our way out of the Coromandel area was at a stunning little waterfall called Waiau Falls. Tucked away at the end of a long dirt road, down a steep forest track, this really is a hidden gem. We arrived early in the morning and had the place to ourselves. It was so peaceful and quiet here, and Waiau Falls is exactly what a waterfall should be. Tucked behind the trees, gently cascading over the surrounding rocks, forming a glittering green pool at the bottom. I couldn’t have designed it better even if I tried!
Our drive to Waiau Falls along said dirt track included a drive past some well-stocked farmland. We were greeted by a flock of very friendly chickens, before being stampeded by a family of pigs, with the most adorable tiny little piglets. What a way to start the day! Seriously, you must watch our vlog to see this, it was so cute.
Luckily for us, Waiau Falls sat within what appeared to be a little sun trap. After what seemed like endless days of rain and damp, the Coromandel was breathing life back into our weary bones. We spent a while just sat, watching the water thundering down over the hilltop, soaking up the sun, not wanting to be anywhere else in the world…
If you can’t get enough of those beautiful beaches and gorgeous waterfalls, have a look at our vlog below!
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