The Coromandel is one of the most beautiful areas of New Zealand and a place of many contrasts. It has golden sandy beaches, hot pools, extremely rugged native bush and mountain ranges, historic timber trails and gold workings, safe swimming, boating and fishing, skin-diving, snorkeling and all types of water sports. Another major attraction is the new cycleway section from Thames to Waihi through the amazing Karangahake Gorge including the historical 1.2km train tunnel. Easily accessible as less than 500 mtrs from Thorold Country House.
The Coromandel is also one of the few areas in NZ that is home to the unique Kiwi as well as many types of birdlife. Captain James Cook anchored in the Firth of Thames and explored inland along the Waihou River, one of the twin rivers of Thames, by small boat as far as Netherton where a cairn marks the place where he landed. This is a pretty 20 minute drive from Thames through the Hauraki Plains dairy farming district.
In particular Thames is a well-appointed town for the Coromandel Peninsula and a perfect place to be based while exploring the region with its interesting cafes, restaurants, art galleries and craft shops. It is within 70 minutes of Auckland International Airport, an hour from Hamilton or Tauranga and an easy 2½ hour drive to Rotorua.
All the following are a comfortable day trip from Thorold Country House and most are suitable for people of general fitness except perhaps the walk to Mount Karangahake which is more arduous. We are happy to advise on any of the local attractions in the Coromandel Peninsula.
WALKS OF THE COROMANDEL:
The Coromandel is famous for its wonderful walks & there are many local to Thorold Country House, taking in the Kauri timber industry and native bush life. The nearby Kauaeranga Valley Road ends at the Department of Conservation Visitors Centre & from there begin the walks in Coromandel Forest Park. In particular The Pinnacles, which is a good day’s walk, offers spectacular views. There are shorter walks from the DOC Centre including Tarawaere Kauri Dam, one of the few remaining original dams used for logging kauri. There are several well signposted swimming pools in the Kauaeranga Valley.
Drive along the beautiful Pohutukawa lined Thames coast to Coromandel Town and have a swim at any of the many sheltered bays. Stop on the way to visit the Square Kauri near Tapu. Admire the amazing views of the Coromandel coastline and the Hauraki Gulf as you climb the hills toward Coromandel Town. Visit Driving Creek Railway and Potteries (www.drivingcreekrailway.co.nz) for stunning panoramic views on NZ’s only narrow gauge mountain railway and see replanted native kauri forest.
Take SH25a through the rugged backbone of the Coromandel Range passing through Tairua to Hot Water Beach. Have a swim and dig your own hot pool in the sand at low tide. Visit Cathedral Cove and either walk there from the track at Hahei or take any of the scenic tracks in the area. Drive on to Ferry Landing, stopping at the James Cook Lookout, and take the passenger only ferry across to Whitianga or drive further north to Kuaotunu Bay, Matarangi Beach and Whangapoua Harbour.
Follow SH26 along the foothills of the Ranges to Paeroa with its many antique shops and the home of L&P (a unique NZ soft drink). Carry on through the beautiful Karangahake Gorge famous for its gold mining history (www.karangahakegorge.co.nz). Take a swim in the stream, go on one of the many wonderful walks following the old railway route through the gorge or take in the expansive views from the top of Mount Karangahake. Continue to Waihi and see the only open pit gold mine in NZ. Finish off with a swim on Waihi Beach overlooking the islands of the Tauranga Harbour.