The Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand is home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. The golden sand and clear blue waters are so picturesque, it really is the stuff from postcards.
Some of the best beaches in the Coromandel you can only access by foot, is it worth the journey? Oh you bet!
In my mind, my summer is not complete if I haven’t ticked off at least one of these hikes, although I try to do as many as possible because I always love travelling to this stunning part of the North Island.
The best part about doing these hikes in summer is you get to cool off with a swim and of course, the views are pretty spectacular too.
So what are the best hikes in the Coromandel Peninsula that lead to stunning beaches?
New Chums Beach
It’s extremely hard for me to pick a favourite hike in the Coromandel Peninsula, but if I HAD to choose, it would probably be the walk to New Chums Beach.
The view is incredible if you manage to make it all the way to the top of the lookout. Take it easy if you’re afraid of heights, this one isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Once you’ve taken in the views, head down to the beach to enjoy a swim on probably one of the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen. Let me tell you, I’m not overexaggerating here. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
For the walk be sure to wear good shoes as the surface can be uneven in parts and right at the beginning of the track you walk over some rocks. Before you reach the rocks, there will be a stream to cross so bear that in mind when deciding what shoes to wear, you can always take them off until to wade through the stream and then pop them back on after. Crossing the stream is best-done two hours on either side of low tide.
Need to know
Length: 5 km
Time: 1 hr 20 min
Access: Start from Whangapoua Beach and walk across the rocks at the far north end of the beach until you come to a short bush path. Once you get towards the end of the track there’ll be a turnoff that will take you up to the lookout. The hike up to the lookout takes an extra 10 – 15 minutes.
Another not to be missed hike in the Coromandel Peninsula is the walk to Cathedral Cove.
While making your way along the track to the famous Cathedral Cove, be sure to stop every now and then to take in the gorgeous views. There are some great vantage points along the way and places to rest.
I’d highly recommend swinging by Stringray Bay on your way, it’s just a little detour and well worth it. The water is incredibly clear and blue. A lot of people tend to just focus on getting to Cathedral Cove and miss Stingray bay altogether so don’t be surprised if you find you have the place to yourself for a bit.
Overall the track is relatively easy and a lot of work has been done in recent years to make it more accessible, there are just a set of steep steps at the end, down to the beach and a few inclines that’ll get your heart rate up on the return journey.
The best time to visit Cathedral Cove is in the morning because in the summer months it will get very busy and also very hot. At least there’s another gorgeous beach in Hahei if you need to cool off again.
Need to know
Length: 2.5 km
Time: 1 hr 30 min
Access: Take the shuttle from Hahei to the top of the road and start the track from here. It is possible to not get the shuttle and walk up but it’s a rather steep hill and you’ll feel pretty tired before you even start the walk. Once you get dropped off, the track is clearly marked and easy to find, just follow the signs.
Opito Point Pa Walk and Crayfish Bay
To begin this hike, you’ll start off by arriving at the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Opito Bay. It’s surprisingly remote and you won’t find any shops or cafes out this way. The last cafe you’ll come across is in Kuaotunu which you’ll drive through to reach Opito. The drive from Kuaotunu to Opito Bay takes just under 20 minutes via Black Jack Road.
Once at the far eastern end of Opito Bay, start your adventure off by ascending 196 steps up to the historical pā site where you’ll drool over beautiful views of the Mercury Islands.
When you’re ready to come back down and you’ve reached the bottom of the stairs, be sure to continue along to Crayfish Bay. It’s certainly not to be missed and is a pretty unique bay.
The spectacular rockface reminds me of something you’d find in the Greek Islands, not in New Zealand.
Spend some time exploring and if you’re feeling game, give the cliff jump a go. There are metal bars that have been mounted to the rockface if you want to climb up the rock for a second jump rather than swim back to shore.
Again you’ll find Crayfish Bay to be quite a secluded spot but that’s part of what makes it so special.
Need to know
Length: 1.4 km
Time: 1 hr 10 min (including Crayfish Bay section)
Access: From Opito Bay, walk along to the far eastern end of the beach. You’ll find a set of 196 steps that will take you up to the pā at Opito Point. Upon descending the stairs, continue across the farmland to access Crayfish Bay.
And there you have it, the best hikes in the Coromandel Peninsula that all lead to stunning beaches. Photos don’t even do these places justice, which means you’ll just have to go and see them for yourselves.
Whether you’re a tourist or a local, work these three hikes into your summer plans and you certainly won’t be disappointed. Once the Coromandel has found a place in your heart, trust me, it stays there.
Have you been to the Coromandel? Got it on your bucket list? Got any questions, comments, updates or corrections? Let us know by commenting below.