THE COROMANDEL FAMILY FUN
The Coromandel provides an exceptional range of quality experiences for families to enjoy together. Prepare for squeals of delight and hoots of laughter as you and your children participate in these highly entertaining nature-based activities in true Coromandel style.
Thames & Coromandel Town
All aboard! Begin your family adventure with a trip to Driving Creek Railway in Coromandel Town. One of the most popular train trips in New Zealand, this adventure has special appeal for kids as it includes spirals, tunnels, reversing points and large viaducts as it ascends the steep hill to the ‘Eyefull Tower’ lookout. It’s also a relaxing opportunity for Mum and Dad to enjoy scenic Coromandel views from the narrow gauge mountain railway. If you’re heading through Thames, be sure to visit the Thames Small Gauge Railway at Victoria Park. The perfect size for children, this train ride through the picturesque park is guaranteed to capture the enthusiasm of every passenger. A bit further up the Thames Coast just out of Thames is home to the Butterfly and Orchid Garden, take the time and enter this little wonder world.
While around Thames, you might like to take your family for a picnic and swim at one of the many waterholes. The Kauaeranga Valley near Thames has several popular waterholes, the kind of places you can happily stay all day.
A family trip to The Coromandel cannot be complete without a stop at The Waterworks on the 309 Road, Coromandel Town. For years families from all over the world have been flocking to this amusement park with a difference. Water-themed inventions set in a stunning park-like setting will ensure there is something to capture the attention and imagination of every member of your family. Bicycle-powered water guns, water cannons, boat races and more...prepare to get wet and have loads of fun in the process. The Waterworks has a great cafe onsite, so enjoy the opportunity to stay the day. While on the 309 Road, the kids are sure to enjoy the short bush walk to view the Waiau Kauri Grove and slightly further up the road are the Waiau Falls.
If you have family members who prefer being on the water rather than in it, take a tour on the family-friendly Mussel Barge Snapper Safaris. It’s a fishing trip with a difference, as you’ll venture out amongst the mussel farms for some fabulous fishing in and around Coromandel Harbour.
When time is no barrier, a road trip further up the peninsula to the popular beaches of Papa Aroha, Shelly Beach, Waitete Bay or Oamaru Bay for a picnic and a paddle or a swim is sure to please. Otherwise head right to the top and navigate the Coromandel Coastal Walkway, a full day coastal walk, but easlily navigated by smaller walkers. Retrace your steps to suit the pace and time available.
Colville Café and Hereford 'n' a Pickle both based on the main road in Colville, offering light lunch options and takeaway meals for your journey north.
Waihi & Paeroa
Bring your bikes and board the Goldfields Railway vintage train for an excursion from Waihi to Waikino in the impressive Karangahake Gorge. From your drop-off point at Waikino Station, hop on your bikes and enjoy some family pedalling along The Hauraki Rail Trail. This cycle way provides a fantastic introduction to cycling for even the youngest family members. Its flat, wide tracks make it easy for families to pedal together, with plenty of fascinating sights to break the journey along the way, including the exciting 1,100m long Karangahake Tunnel (a torch or bike light is recommended). Pedal as much as your family can manage, then jump back on the train for a gentle journey back to Waihi.
Bullswool Farm in the beautiful Karangahake Gorge is a superb family attraction, especially for city families. As a working farm, their animals can be seen in large paddocks in natural flocks and herds. Your children will love meeting all the members of the Bullswool family. They include miniature horses, emus, goats, alpacas, llamas, deer, paint horses, kune-kune pigs, miniature cattle, rabbits, rare breed chickens, ducks, pheasants, coloured sheep and donkeys.
Whitianga and Around
Spend an entire day of family adventure at Whitianga Fun Zone and Adventure Park. Enjoy paintball, laser claybird shooting and an exciting argo ride through the mud, farm and forest with plenty of thrills and spills along the way! Then take an exhilarating ride on the Banana Boat in Whitianga. Their state of the art water-craft skims through the water at speeds of up to 40 km/h, combining speed and safety to create a fun ride for all ages.
Rangihau Ranch offers guided horse treks into the Coromandel Ranges on a working sheep and beef farm in Coroglen, between Tairua and Whitanga. The tracks cover native bush, open pasture, hill country and some spectacular scenery out across the Coromandel Peninsula, with horses to suit all levels of ability. Family treks can last one, one and a half or two hours, and even preschoolers can enjoy a half-hour lead-rein trek on a quiet pony. Saddle up and enjoy the ride!
Pay a visit to some furry and feathered friends at Whiti Farm Park near Whitianga, set on over eight acres of farmland and native bush. Kids will love playing on the big old fire engine, tractor and old-fashioned games in between feeding over 40 species of animals. Raisin the Opossum is a favourite! Plenty of shade for a picnic, and the toadstool picnic tables are a favourite with littlies. A great spot for a birthday party or other special occasion.
Finish the day off with with a stop at the popular waterhole at the Coroglen Reserve (formerly the old stockyards). Just off the main road, the reserve offers ample parking and plenty of space for a picnic or barbecue.
Whangamata, Pauanui and Tairua
Ideal for your thrill-seeking teens or older children, spend the day chasing adventure over land and sea. Take a guided Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) or kayak tour to the beautiful Whenuakura Island, a wildlife sanctuary that opens up into a stunning lagoon. If you have any energy left, traverse the trails with thrills and spills at Ridges Mountain Bike Park. Featuring trail grades 1-5, the park offers something for all abilities, with single track, purpose built berms, jumps and rollers.
Learning to Surf or SUP is an entertaining Coromandel activity for the entire family - and usually lots of laughs for the kids, who tend to have more success than their parents. Popular Coromandel beaches for beginner surfers are Whangamata and Pauanui Beach. Take a family group lesson with Outback Surf at Pauanui Beach or Whangamata Surf Shop in Whangamata.
The Whangamata, Tairua and Pauanui areas offer a great selection of walks suitable for the kids. Wentworth Valley just south of Whangamata is an easy track taking you over river crossings to the stunning 40m waterfall. Heading north to Tairua/Pauanui, drive to nearby Broken Hills, Puketui Valley and take your pick from several fresh water swimming holes and rocky shoreline picnic spots.
A hike to the top of Mt Paku is a great view of where you've spent your day. Finish the day with a traditional kiwi ice cream cone and a stroll along the Beach. You’ve earned it!