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BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

 

BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

Destination guides > Pacific Islands > New Zealand > Waikato > Coromandel Peninsula > Coromandel Town

Coromandel Town

An hour north of Thames on State Highway 25, little Coromandel Town has a laid-back atmosphere and a good deal of charm and local flavour. It was a major centre during the height of the gold rush, but those days are long gone. Today, Coromandel Town has a notably artsy character, some good cafés, excellent local fish and shellfish and the dramatic coastal scenery of the northern peninsula.


There isn’t a great deal to do in Coromandel Town. The most popular activity is probably the Driving Creek Railway, a narrow-gauge railway that passes through a wildlife sanctuary and pottery complex; and the Coromandel Gold Stamper Battery, an authentic old machine that miners used to crush rocks into sand. It’s powered by New Zealand’s largest working water wheel.


Shuttle buses from Coromandel Town can bring you farther north to the rugged, beautiful Coromandel Coastal Walkway, which links Fletcher Bay to Stony Bay. It’s a 3-4 hour walk over remote farmland, coastline and bush, and it takes in views of the Hauraki Gulf, Great Barrier Island and the Pacific Ocean.

Practical information

Coromandel i-SITE Visitor Centre

355 Kapanga Road, Coromandel
Tel (07) 866 8598
Website www.coromandeltown.co.nz
Open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-2pm

Coming & going

InterCity Coachlines (tel (09) 623 1503) and Nakedbus.com stop at the visitor information centre (355 Kapanga Road, Coromandel).

 

Go Kiwi Shuttles (tel 0800 446 549) operate minibuses between Coromandel and Whitianga.

Hostel accommodation

Anchor Lodge

448 Wharf Road, Coromandel
Tel (07) 866 7992

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Coromandel Town Backpackers

732 Rings Road, Coromandel
Tel (07) 866 8327

Lion’s Den

126 Te Tiki Street, Coromandel
Tel (07) 866 8157

Tidewater Tourist Park (YHA)

270 Tiki Road, Coromandel
Tel (07) 866 8888

Tui Lodge

60 Whangapoua Road, Coromandel
Tel (07) 866 8237

Eating & drinking

Coromandel Town doesn’t have the choice of places to eat and drink that Thames does, but it does have a few charming cafés and restaurants, mostly located on Wharf Road, the main commercial strip.


Definitely worth a visit is the famous Coromandel Smoking Company (70 Tiki Road, Coromandel), which sells a great selection of smoked fish and seafood; the smoked mussels are the stuff of local legend. They’re a little bit more than the ordinary backpacker budget might allow, but if you can splurge, go for it – you won’t regret it.


There’s a Four Square supermarket (18 Kapanga Road, Coromandel), near Wharf Road.

Sightseeing, museums & tourist attractions

Coromandel Gold Stamper Battery

If you missed the one in Thames, Coromandel’s Gold Stamper Battery is a good spot to learn about the region’s gold mining heritage. The museum features working 100-year mining machinery including New Zealand’s biggest working water wheel.

410 Buffalo Road, Coromandel
Tel 025 2464 898
Website www.webtrails.co.nz/coromandel/coromandeltown/stamperbattery/
Admission $5
Open summer 10am-5pm daily; winter Sat-Sun 10am-5pm

Driving Creek Railway

Located just 3km north of Coromandel Town, the Driving Creek Railway is the creation of potter Barry Brickell, who built the country’s only narrow gauge railway over a period of 26 years. The one-hour train trip passes replanted kauri forest and it includes a unique double-decker viaduct plus two spirals and a great view from the ridge-top terminus.

380 Driving Creek Road, Coromandel
Tel (07) 866 8703
Website www.drivingcreekrailway.co.nz
Fare $20
Departures summer 10.15am, noon, 2pm, 4pm daily; winter 10.15am, 2pm daily

Waiau Waterworks

The unique sculpture garden on the 309 Road, 9km from Coromandel Town, features a whimsical collection of water-powered sculptures.

471 The 309 Road, Coromandel
Tel (07) 866 7191
Website www.waiauwaterworks.co.nz
Admission $12
Open 10am-5pm daily


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