Mount Maunganui is just another of New Zealand's numerous volcanoes. Referred to by locals as "The Mount", it's almost a rite of passage to climb it, something I had intended to do but didn't.
There are walking tracks both around the Mount and to the summit. The veiw from on top though, according to all I've canvassed, makes the half hour slog worthwhile. From up on high you have panoramic views of the Bay of Plenty islands and unobscured vistas up and down the coast. On a clear day the plume of smoke from the distant active volcano, White Island, is visible.
Fondest memory: Known as "Mauao" in Maori, which translates as 'Caught by the dawn', it stands 232 metres above the sea that surrounds it. The Mount has a small central shopping precinct, on the main inland street, with chic cafés and surf shops along the ocean beach frontage.
The ocean side features a very popular and surf beach, so pretty it's worth going to see it for the view alone.
Fires over past years have been a problem and native plant growth is being encouraged to protect the mountain. As you see the growth has a "cloak" appearance and the sheep keep the lower slopes free, to prevent fires and to keep ancient archaelogical sites clear.
The volcanic peak, Paku, and offshore views of the jagged Aldermen Islands (pic 3) are the natural focal points of the Tairua area. Paku is a must-climb if you get here. It offers one of the finest panoramas in New Zealand.
Large areas south of the river, between Pauanui and Wharekawa Harbour (Opoutere), are dominated by exotic forests. North of Tairua is the rugged coastal area of Sailors Grave - an area for a fine half day coastal walk.
Inland, the Tairua River runs to the sea from its source in the Coromandel Range, snaking through historical Broken Hills on its journey before reaching the tidal flats.
Fondest memory: I seem to remember taking a couple of snaps of the town but they've been misplaced. Still, I hope this gives you an idea of how beautiful the place is.
The town itself is village size but there's accommodation, restaurants and, hopefully, a place for petrol. One we tried was on the verge of closing the next week.
This is a place for those who want a laid-back holiday. There's walking, some sports, water activities and a few other things to do but you'll not find a theme park or such here.
Just driving around Coromandel can be classed as an activity, much like most of New Zealand.
Fondest memory: There's lush fields (pics 3 & 5), beaches just off the road (pic 2), flowers here and there and lots of rolling hillsides. If it weren't for all the bends, you'd probably be able to see more of it!
I thought I'd share a few of the pictures I stopped and took that really don't belong anywhere in particular.
If you are headed out to Coromandel, I would definitely recommend that you stop in to the Thames Information Center, which is located in the city center of Thames, on the Southwestern tip of the Coromandel Pennisula. Since you will have to drive through Thames to get up to Coromandel, this is important.
In the visitors center, you can get maps of the pennisula, and discount coupons to the various attractions along the way. Also, most important for travellers coming from Auckland, this is a great spot to use the restroom before adventuring up into the Pennisula.
Thames Information Centre
206 Pollen Street, Thames.
PHONE (07) 8687284 / (07) 8687251 FAX (07) 8687251
The Coromandel Peninsular is a great place for a nice sunny day motorcyle ride. The roads are really good but most of all they are interesting and challenging for the keen rider.
Nice corners, you get to do some real riding and not just straight and level along highways or open roads. You can test your skills and enjoy the thrills of leaning into a corner.
Of course it's a bit extreme and you shouldn't push your limits or you may end up off the road over a steep cliff. Not so nice!!
Groups often travel the roads, and stop somewhere nice for lunch and return home. But it would be really nice to spend a couple of weeks, doing the whole peninsular with a tent or something. Summertime would be preferable for the nice weather.
Not many corners of the world have these lovely symmetrical Norfolk Pine trees. Originating from Norfolk Island, they are prevalent on the Coromandel Peninsular.
The Norfolk really enhances any beach view, and can be found at most beaches on this Eastern coast.
Coromandel in this modern era, is far less remote than earlier ages, and therefore you can access some amazing bush in this northern Rainforest.
In the years when they were milling large trees for masts for sailing ships and such, some of the large trees of Coromandel were saved simply because they were (then) inaccessible.
On the public walk to Cathedral Cove you get to enter the rainforest briefly and see some of the coastal trees, here the Puriri.
This is a half day trip, so is a wonderful opportunity to sample rainforest, without having to venture deep off the main road.
The accomodation was basic and furnishing basic and dated but in good working conditions. The BBQ on...more
An older motel, but immaculately kept an very appealing, with panoramic harbour views. This is one...more
Hetherington Road, , Whangamata
Good for: Couples