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Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty Travel Guide

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  • Photo: Konrad Mostert / Shutterstock

Plan Your Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty Vacation

Beautiful sandy beaches, lush native forests, and some steamy geothermal activity make the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty quite a departure from urban Auckland. Many residents live in fishing villages or small rural towns, with the occasional artsy or alternative-lifestyle community thrown in, particularly in the Coromandel.

Both areas bask in more than their fair share of sun for much of

the year, so avocado, citrus, kiwifruit, nuts, and even subtropical fruits flourish here, and many growers adopt organic practices. Keep an eye out for the ubiquitous unmanned fruit stands accompanied by "honesty boxes."

Follow State Highway 25—the Pacific Coast highway—as it meanders up the west coast and down the east coast of the peninsula. Traffic can build up on this road, particularly in the busy summer months or weekends. As you drive south down the Peninsula's east coast, the Pacific Highway stretches out to the coastal plains and forests of the Bay of Plenty.

From the Bay of Plenty's northern gateway of Katikati as far as Whakatane, the coastline consists of huge stretches of sand, interrupted by rivers, estuaries, and sandbars. Inland, the soil is rich and fertile; this is horticulture territory with sprawling canopies of kiwifruit vines, fields of corn and other produce, and pockets of dense native forest. You'll see people fishing in some of the bays, but others have strict conservation rules; signs in the shape of a fish outline whether you can fish.

Bay of Plenty was one of the country's first areas settled by Māori, and the descendants of these earliest arrivals moved north around the Coromandel Peninsula as well. Bay of Plenty still has a strong Māori presence.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Beach Bounty The forest-fringed inlets, coves, and sprawling sand dunes include some of the most popular beaches in the country. The coastline is endless; one beautiful beach after another.
  2. Volcanoes and Vistas From the coastal cliffs of the Coromandel to the Bay of Plenty's volcanic peak, Mauao, great views abound. Active White Island's steaming fissures are a dramatic sight by sea, air, or at the rim of the marine volcano itself.
  3. Walking and Hiking Follow the "footsteps of Toi" to the secluded bay of Otarawaiwere, or take a forest walk to swim in one of the lagoons formed by the tiers of Kaiate Falls. Coromandel Forest Park has a network of tracks, from easy roadside walks among kauri tree giants to overnight treks.
  4. Watery Wonders Dive or snorkel in the region's marine reserves, or take a swim with dolphins. Charter a boat and go deep-sea fishing, or kayak among the glowworms by moonlight.

When To Go

When to Go

These regions are well loved for their beaches, and they are crowded between December and February when the hot summer weather draws thousands...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

Travel Tips

Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty Travel Tips

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