New Zealand is well known for its spectacular day walks. Whether you like traversing through mountains, volcanic landscape, dramatic coastline or glacial valleys, there is something for everyone in this little country tucked away at the bottom of the world.
The Coromandel is home to some of the best panoramic coastal views New Zealand’s north island has to offer, and it also happens to be where you can experience The Coromandel Coastal Walkway, a 20km (return) hike from Fletcher Bay to Stony Bay (or vice versa). There are many options to do the track 1 way also (approximately 3 ½ hours) which is what we did this time.
Getting to either of the starting points at Fletcher or Stony Bay is a magical journey just in itself. The Thames Coast Road (SH25) is lined with Pohutukawa trees as you follow the coast along the Firth of Thames and the Hauraki Gulf, with many stop the car moments along the way. Carry on through Coromandel town and Colville, and take either the Port Jackson Road or Port Charles Road to continue the drive with absolutely incredible scenery.
This part of the Coromandel is so diverse with bay upon bay of sandy beaches, rocky outlets, pebbled shores, walking tracks, dense native bush, coastal farm land , fishing, diving, photography, mountain biking .. the list goes on. Just a few spots to note are: Oamaru Bay, Amodeo Bay, Otautu Bay, Fantail Bay, Port Jackson (stunning sandy beach), and last stop Fletcher Bay .. but take your pick from around every corner basically!
We had decided we would do the walk from the Fletcher Bay side and arrived at around midday. We were greeted by the lovely DOC workers who run the Fletcher Bay Campground and backpackers. The backpackers facility is top notch and I would recommend it to anyone planning to stay the night here at the campground if you’re not choosing the tenting option.
The track to the Coastal Walk begins from the campground and traverses through farmland with spectacular coastal views as far as the eye can see. The vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean is a sight to behold, along with views of Great Barrier Island, the Coromandel Coastline and Mount Moehau just to name a few.
After we had crossed the farmland section of the walk the next stop was Poley Bay. This is a steep decline and ascent in and out, but worth it to see this rugged piece of coast line. I would say it’s probably the hardest part of the walk, and then things become easier after this point. Once out of Poley bay the view looking back towards the Gateway to The Coromandel is phenomenal.
The rest of the trail will lead you through stunning native bush with more incredible coastal views, and approximately 3 hours after you left Fletcher Bay you will arrive at Stony Bay. What a gorgeous place to end the one way walk and have a well deserved rest!
There are a few options you can choose after reaching this point. You can take the same track back to Fletcher Bay and admire the views going the other way. Or you can choose the option we did which was have Coromandel Adventures pick us up in their van and take us back to Fletcher Bay!
Willie and Sarni run a fabulous business (Coromandel Adventures) and know the Coromandel inside and out having lived in the area for 30 plus years. We heard some great stories on our journey back to Fletcher Bay and I would recommend using this company if you are wanting to do the walk one way.
The other option is to experience Willie and Sarni’s round trip package in which they drive you from Coromandel town to Stony Bay, and then pick you up at Fletcher Bay when you have finished the walk one way and return you back to Coromandel town. This way you can base yourself in Coromandel Town, have someone else do the driving for you, and then come back for a nice dinner at one of the buzzing restaurants in the town centre. There are many options for accommodation ranging from motels to campgrounds to tree houses! It’s all there and it’s all beautiful.
The Coromandel Coastal Walkway is one of my favourite short walks in New Zealand, with its spectacular views and a relatively easy hike to get to them! Even better, you can make a weekend of it and enjoy everything the Coromandel Township and surrounds has to offer.
Story supplied by Rach Stewart
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