A short getaway is a tested antidote for the post winter blahs, to reconnect with the great outdoors and refresh your mind and body. If you need fresh inspiration for a spring break in The Coromandel, we have 7 very good reasons.
The Coromandel has a vast amount of protected and Department of Conservation land, which means well-maintained tacks to some of our most remote and untouched places. There is something for all levels of fitness and inclination but the walk to the Cookson kauri is accessible to almost everyone. The walk is 6km return and will take you 2 to 3 hours with time to appreciate the experience.
Drive up the Kauaeranga Valley to the Wainora Campsite, where you can park. From here, a well-graded track follows the pristine Wainora Stream, with some steps (718 in total) and bridge crossings. The sights and sounds of the water are a pleasant backdrop to the walk through lush native bush and a side track takes you to view the magnificent Cookson kauri. You return the way you came.
Please do remember to do your part to protect our kauri from dieback disease by:
- Using the cleaning station when you enter and leave.
- Always staying on the track.
- Scrubbing soil off shoes and gear and checking it's all removed before you go.
We are known as an enclave for creative types, and many artists and artisans have chosen to make their studios and homes in the landscapes that fuel their work. Whether you are in a reflective mood, seeking an imaginative link to your deeper self, or you find a piece that evokes a raw emotion, our local galleries have an amazing array of works. The Little Gallery in Tairua and Whangamatā is hosted by the exhibiting artists, so an insightful conversation is always on offer.
You will find some of New Zealand's best-loved artists' works, and also be impressed by the range and power of pieces from up-and-coming creatives. There is something about this place that stirs innovative talents, you may find yourself inspired in more ways than one.
Kate Hill - Kopu Bridge
Set in an old dairy factory on the water in Whitianga, the Mercury Bay Museum has exhibits about the Polynesian navigator Kupe, Māori artifacts and the Endeavour and James Cook. Add in HMS Buffalo (sunk 1840), kauri timber and gum diggers, early settlers’ records, natural history, fishing displays and a great photographic collection including portraits.
There are some moving stories of tangata whenua Ngāti Hei, who were so welcoming to Cook and early pakeha (including the Taputapuatea stream story). There is a picture of some of the plants collected by Banks, the Endeavour’s botanist, who found more than 1000 specimens in The Coromandel (now housed in Te Papa).
A new section "In Our Backyard" features the animals and natural history of Mercury Bay and its off-shore islands.
The Waikino Tavern, an historic roadside hotel in the Karangahake Gorge has had its share of fire and flood, excess and prohibition. There has been a hotel on the Waikino site since 1897. The first hotel burned down, the second was demolished during prohibition and the current wooden building was transported from nearby Mackaytown in 1926. It's a classic family-friendly country hotel, with pool tables and faithful regulars, hearty roasts and warming fare served with old school country hospitality. Great stop-off point on the Hauraki Rail Trail.
So we've all read the advice about the ability of pets and animals to relieve human stress levels, especially during Covid lockdown days of reduced freedom. If you don't have a menagerie at home, there will be an animal at Bullswool Heritage Farm Park to fit the bill. Set in tranquil and expansive hillcountry farmland just a short drive from the main route through the Karangahake Gorge, the farm is the perfect combination of petting zoo and nature reserve.
Glide into the berms and get into the flow on the new tracks at Ride Coromandel Bike Park in the heart of Coromandel Town. With one of only four Velosolutions pump tracks in New Zealand, it sits next to a mean skills area, and the descent trails are alongside. Grow with this park as your skills develop, or simply rip it for a fun family ride.
Ride Coromandel pump track. Photo credit: @graememurraynz
When you stay at Earth Energies Sanctuary in the cabin in the middle of the organic farm, you will be the only guests. The feeling of solitude and privacy is powerful as you look over the rolling hills, even though SH2 is at the end of the farm driveway.
The spa itself is a private wing on the main house which is designed to accommodate the specialist treatment rooms where Marie practices her deep relaxation and natural therapies. She offers flotation therapy, infra-red sauna, aroma, hypo and zero-balance therapies along with all-day bliss packages. Out of the ordinary.