The essence of a holiday is the same but different for everyone.
Time to do something new, revisit old favourites, share time with the people who mean the most, and in doing so, re-energise for the return to everyday life. Learn something new, practice something you don’t get to do at home, eat outdoors and let the shape of the day determine your activities. Make plans, or not.
There are good reasons why The Coromandel is where Kiwis holiday.
1. It’s easy to get here
With the new Kopu Bridge, the drive from Auckland or the Waikato is certainly much easier than in the days of the gravel road up the coast from the Bay of Plenty. But we still have one-lane bridges to let you know that you've arrived and it's time to slow down into holiday mode.
2. It’s simple to organise
Pretty much all you need are your togs, a good book, bikes and rods on the back of the car, maybe a sleeping bag, definitely jandals and shorts. Book a space at the bach, a comfortable motel or a fully-equipped apartment and settle in.
3. Camping is big
Always high on the list for family holidays, kiwi camping is still alive and practised well in The Coromandel. Our holiday parks have welcomed generations of families, some even leaving their caravans all year round, year after year. Many have long since done away with the old cookhouses and ablution blocks and designed sleek new stainless kitchens, comfortable lounges with live sport on TV and family bathrooms with all mod cons. And they are in the best spots, often right on the beach, from springy green grass straight over the dunes on to the soft white sand, or a short walk across a pebbly beach to the calm waters of the harbour.
Up early or out late, the catch of the day is determined by tide and season, and your preferred place to hang out. Whether off the beach at Otama, the rocks at Sailor's Grave or the back of a kayak in the Coromandel harbour, it's a useful pastime that lets you do nothing, while perfectly enjoying yourself. Dinner is a bonus for perseverance.
Everyone has their favourite, from memories as a kid to the ones with the best shade and playground, the most beautiful sand, the best rockpools, the lazy surf. Because The Coromandel has so many (on 400km of coastline), there is always a place to be on your own, even in the height of summer. On the busiest of days, there is plenty of space to stake your claim near the surf lifesavers, doze beneath your summer paperback, contemplate the horizon as you dry off after a swim, stroll along the water’s edge in search of ice-cream, or do nothing at all.
There are so many places to go that cost absolutely nothing and deliver big on adventure. Much of the region is Coromandel Forest Park and DOC conservation land, which means well-maintained walking trails through cool green bush, waterfalls and giant kauri to track down, swimming holes and abandoned mining tunnels, coastal pathways to beaches hidden behind headlands where no road penetrates. Pack lunch and some water, the day is sorted.
7. Kids roam free
There is plenty of scope for self-exploration and discovery. Farm parks and nature reserves, getting up close with the wildlife, historic trains and sculpted quad and mountain bike trails, ziplines and flying foxes, holidays are time to test the boundaries and get excited by possibilities.
With many wide safe sandy estuaries, quiet playgrounds, deserted stony bays, flat riding trails and low-hanging Pohutukawa branches, kids build a sense of independence and confidence. All beneath the watchful eye under the paperback of course.
8. Eating outdoors
Tuatuas gathered on the beach at low tide in vinegar or on white bread, fish and paua fritters in the dunes, pizza by the rustic seaside shack as the sun sets over the surf, or elegant sashimi on the upper terrace of a fine restaurant; the fresh air makes it taste way better. Many of the parks have free gas-fired barbeques if sausages and steak are on your holiday menu.
Seafood is a feature, as most of the North Island’s mussels are harvested in the Hauraki Gulf and the wild oysters and scallops are plump and sweet in season.
9. Coromandel time
The secret ingredient. Whether it's summer or a quieter time of year, it's the relaxed Coro’ vibe and the simple ways of passing the idyllic days that are the consistent themes throughout the year.
You can't help but bump into them. We are a friendly bunch.