Panoramic views, spectacular sunsets and nature's dawn chorus - New Zealand is famous for its stunning day walks and the Coromandel Coastal Walkway doesn't disappoint.
Taking in the remote northern part of The Coromandel — the last frontier — it’s a must-do for any Aotearoa bucket list. A heady mix of rugged isolation, remote beauty and idyllic walking tracks, the Coastal Walkway is the ultimate way to escape to real New Zealand and make memories to last a lifetime.
A 10km (one-way) walk that showcases the best scenery The Coromandel has to offer, the Coromandel Coastal Walkway borders the northern peninsula’s coastline between Stony and Fletcher Bays, following an old bridle path formed by early pioneers.
The walk itself takes three and a half hours and can be navigated in either direction, starting at either Fletcher Bay or Stony Bay.
Walking from Fletcher Bay to Stony Bay, you’ll set off across farmland, where the path will take you through pristine native bush as you climb out around several headlands, looking out over sheer cliffs to clear sparkling waters far below. The track then descends into small rocky bays, sometimes with a meandering stream to cross before another ascent to a headland for expansive views.
Taking the trail from Stony Bay heading towards Fletcher Bay, you’ll wind your way through regenerative native forest, farmland and rocky shoreline, as you take in sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Mt Moehau, Great Barrier Island (Aotea) to the north and Cuvier Island (Repanga Island) to the east.
A signposted lookout one hour 15 minutes along the track offers a shorter walking option, and provides breathtaking views along the coast north to Sugar Loaf and the Pinnacles area and south towards Port Charles; 45 minutes on from this lookout, the track descends steeply to Poley Bay. A short steep climb out of Poley Bay emerges on to farmland, where the track heads down to Fletcher Bay.
Your journey on the Coromandel Coastal Walkway begins the moment you start driving the gravel road north of Colville. You can choose to take the 20km eastern route via Port Charles to commence the walk at Stony Bay, or the 30km western route hugging the coast north through Fantail Bay and Port Jackson, arriving at the walk’s other access point at Fletcher Bay. It’s best to allow just over an hour to get to either destination.
If driving the remote unsealed roads of the northern Coromandel isn’t for you, opt for a guided tour, which will cover your transport and collection needs from either access point.
And if you’re planning on making a night of it, there are Department of Conservation campgrounds at both Fletcher Bay and Stony Bay. Camping overnight will allow ample time to complete the seven-hour return walk without first having to embark on the lengthy drive to the walk’s entry point. There’s also plenty of accommodation in Coromandel Town, Colville and Port Charles.
Finish off with a well-earned hearty meal in Coromandel town and watch the sun set across the Hauraki Gulf.
This advertorial featured in the March edition of North and South Magazine. Images supplied by Destination Coromandel, copy supplied by North and South.