Our Favorite Coromandel Day Walks
Not only is it filled with stunning mountains and lush forest, it is framed with spectacular coastlines and holds a fascinating mining history that can be seen woven throughout its terrains. This is a place that is begging to be explored – and what better way to do that, than by foot? From brief 30 minute hikes to the more intensive overnight hikes, we’ve listed our top 8 must-do Coromandel walks to inspire you for your next visit.
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1. Cathedral Cove walk
Medium (30 minutes each way)
If you want to explore the quintessential Coromandel scenery of white sandy beaches and brilliant red pohutukawa trees, then this is a breathtaking 2.5km coastal walk is the one for you. This 1 hour walk will take you to some epic sights, such as the famous Cathedral Cove itself, to lesser known beauties such as Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay, which are known for their wonderful diving and snorkelling spots.
While the walking track is maintained there are rather steep inclines and large steps, requiring an average level of fitness at a minimum and it is unfortunately not wheelchair friendly. However Instagram and photography lovers who feel fit and ready, will rejoice at the incredible array of lookouts and picture perfect photo opportunities found along the way.
2. Coromandel Coastal Walkway
Medium (3-4 hours one way, 7 hours return)
The Coromandel Coastal Walkway links Stony Bay and Fletcher Bay over a 10km track. You can complete this walk one way and organise for a transport service to pick you up at either end, or you can choose to take on the return trip, which will take the whole day. The track itself is an easy climb and covers a variety of coastline, bush and farm terrains. The only steep bit is going in and out of Poley Bay, where you’ll get wonderful views out towards the Sugar Loaf, Pinnacles and Great Barrier Island. If you’ve only got time for a short walk, there’s a signposted lookout just over an hour’s walk from the start at Fletcher bay, where you’ll still be rewarded with some epic views!
3. Mt. Paku Summit
Short (30 minutes)
This is a short but steep climb to the summit of the Mt. Paku, a volcanic mountain that dominates the head of the Tairua Harbour. Just a 15-20 minute walk from the car park will take you to the top where you’ll be rewarded with views over Tairua, Pauanui and the distant islands. The reward to effort ratio of the walk makes it a great option for a family activity. While there are a few steep bits that might involve a little bit of climbing, it’s a great and short adventure for the kids. A good way to round off the afternoon after the climb is to cool off at Tairua beach with a bit of swimming.
4. The Pinnacles
Long (Overnight/8 hours return)
The Pinnacles climb is by far one of the most famous walks in the region. The overnight option is so popular among New Zealanders and International visitors that the DOC hut books out well in advance (you’ll know why if you manage to catch the sunrise at the summit after an early morning climb). The first part of the walk will guide you up a steady slope through forest and across streams and bridges, followed by a climb to the summit and finishing past the Billygoat at the Kaueranga River. There are a fair few steep parts of the track, and quite a number of stairs so a fair level of fitness is usually advised for this walk. The pinnacles is one of the most popular Coromandel day walks, so bring a camera (and lots of water) and enjoy!
5. Wentworth Valley Walks
Short/medium (2.5 hours return)
Starting from the Wentworth Valley Campsite near Whangamata, this is an easy walk that follows the Wentworth River, eventually leading to some spectacular falls that have two 20 metre drops! If you continue a little further to the top of the falls you’ll find some caves (which are great entertainment for the kids) and stunning views out towards the coast. This is a great spot for an afternoon picnic if you’re looking to make a day of it! Keep an eye out for native birds along the way and if you’re brave, pack your togs for a dip in one of the swimming holes on your way down.
6. New Chums Beach Walk
Short (30 minutes one way)
This walk is the only way to access the beautiful New Chums Beach by land. Starting from Whangapoua Beach, the walk will take you across rocks and eventually lead to a short bush path. There’s no tricky bits, but remember to wear closed-toes shoes as the track can get a little muddy and rough in some areas. Near the end of the track you’ll see a turnoff that will lead you up to the lookout – this is easily missed but one to keep an eye out for as it’s often rated as the best part of the walk! Here you can also find the brilliant red pohutukawa trees. In the right conditions, it’s possible to haul your surfboard along with you for some excellent surf.
7. Square Kauri Walk
Short (20 minutes return)
This is a good detour if you’re heading along the Coast Road to your holiday destination. At the end of the Tapu-Coroglen road, a short but steep walk will take you to a very unique Kauri Tree. Suspected to be around 1,200 years old, the tree’s trunk is a rare square shape. The walk will also give you some great views of the Coromandel Ranges and the fresh air will be sure to cure any car sickness from the journey! A popular way to round off your Kauri visit is to take a snap hugging the special tree.
8. Karangahake Windows Walk
Short (1 hour return)
The kids will love this one! The Karangahake Windows Walk follows an old railway line and passes a series of caves and gold mining tunnels – perfect for exploring! Along the walk you’ll get some breathtaking views of the Karangahake Gorge, see some historic abandoned buildings and machinery, and cross a number of suspension bridges. All in all it’s bound to be an entertaining and educational walk for a great family day out, just remember to pack a torch!