The Best Coromandel Activities

Free/cheap activities

  • Pack a picnic and catch the ferry across to Flaxmill Bay - it's cheap as for a return ticket to the other side of the the Peninsula and there's a lot to explore over there! 
  • Pack another picnic and drive to the peninsulas many bays - the beaches here are incredible. Check out my guide to Coromandels Beaches for more info!
  • Walk around Flaxmill Bay, the Maori Pa Site, Shakespeare Hill, Lonely Bay and Cooks Bay - pack a bottle of water and your camera. There are some stunning views at the top of Shakespeare Hill, and the bays are beautiful (especially Lonely Bay).
  • If you are even more keen, you could do the walk to Cathedral Cove. Or one of the many other walks in the area :)
  • Hot Water Beach - make sure you get there early to get a good posse. Also, make sure you check the tides! 
  • Swimming and snorkeling - there is incredibly clear blue water in the Coromandel which is perfect for some aqua action. You can buy or hire snorkel sets from local shops, and ask some locals for the best place to go.
  • Ogle at the rich houses along Buffalo Beach - the drive into Whitianga offers some serious house porn. For anybody with an eye for fancy architecture, the houses along Buffalo Beach Road are incredible.
  • Shell and starfish hunting - at low tide there are hundreds of tiny starfish and thousands of beautiful shells to be admired :)
shells and crabs legs
cathedral cove
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Rainy day activities

  • Mercury Bay Museum - a surprisingly interesting way to spend a rainy afternoon. Very hands on, and has a wide range of knowledge stored in the old historic building. I have to say, watch the video they show. As well as being really informative, it was quite funny!
  • The Lost Springs - if you want to spoil yourself, spend a bit of time relaxing at the lost spring. They have a day spa, geo-thermal pools and a restaurant for you to spend all your hard-earned moolah in :)
  • The local galleries - Whitianga is an attractive place for artists to hunker down in apparently - there's a couple of amazing art galleries to peruse in the tiny town. See some unusual pieces as well as beach scenes - there's definitely something for everyone.
  • Eggscentric Cafe - located in Flaxmill Bay, the cafe, restaurant and art gallery has a good reputation for a good time. We stopped for ice cream - some of the flavors are even homemade.
  • Driving Creek Railway - ride the train through replanted native Kauri bush, and see the Hauraki Gulf from the top of the 'Eyefull Tower'.
Whitianga boats
seashells and starfish
flaxmill bay from the cruise boat

Not-so-rainy and not-so-free activities

  • Paddle boarding - we spent a slightly windy afternoon on the water in Flaxmill Bay and it was absolutely fabulous. Check out Shanans' website for details, it's definitely a must-do when you're here! 
  • Windborne Charters - I really wanted to do this cruise, but the weather gods had other plans for us. The skipper, Avon, was incredibly helpful and adaptable to our plans and the weather and I would totally book in with him again. Snacks, sailing, sights... There's not much more you need! 
  • Cathedral Cove Scenic Tours - we did this tour on the morning we left Whitianga, and it was so much fun! Our guide was fun and informative, the boat was fast and the sights were stunning. I found this company to be a little cheaper than the others, for essentially the same things. Well worth it! Be prepared to get a little wet, we got soaked in sea spray! 
  • Kayak Tours - Darn the weather gods again! We missed out on the sunrise kayak tour to Cathedral Cove, which looked AH.MAY.ZING.
  • Banana Boating
  • Rangihau or Wairakau Horse Treks - the Rangihau trek is history orientated, whereas the Waikarau trek is more family orientated.
  • Diving - choose Whitianga or Hahei as your base, and check out the top-notch dive spots in the Coromandel.
  • Quad Cycle Cruisers - these bad boys will have you cycling Whitianga in style... Just kidding. You'll be cycling for sure, but stylish.... not really. They sure do look like fun though!
seagull by the water
Agapanthus, Flaxmill Bay
Whitianga Ferry

Have you got anything you think should go on the list? I'd love to know!