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To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

Peace River, AB
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To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

Hello,

We're trying to decide whether our family (2 adults in late thirties, DD 10 yrs, DS 8 yrs) should include the Coromandel in our upcoming trip to New Zealand in December. We will be traveling for a total of 6 weeks and plan to cover both islands in that time. We have three nights to distribute at the beginning or end of our trip (depending whether we do the NI or the SI first):

Option 1: Coromandel

Day 1: Auckland - international flight from Vancouver in around 06:00, overnight Auckland

Day 2: Drive Auckland to Coromandel Town, overnight Coromandel Town

Day 3: Drive Coromandel Town to Hahei via 309 Road, overnight Hahei

Day 4: Drive Hahei to Mt. Maunganui via Karangahake Gorge, overnight Mt. Maunganui

This option will mean we only have 1 night in Napier down the road (note that we are not into wineries, but would like to see the art deco architecture and Cape Kidnappers).

Option 2: No Coromandel

Day 1: Auckland - international flight from Vancouver in around 06:00, overnight Auckland

Day 2: Auckland - tour Waiheke Island, overnight Auckland

Day 3: Drive Auckland to Mt. Maunganui via Karangahake Gorge, overnight Mt. Maunganui

This option will mean we will have 2 nights in Napier down the road.

Opinions appreciated! Thanks!

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1. Re: To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

If you want to see both Cape Kidnappers and art deco architecture in Napier, you will need most of one day there. This means that, if you spend only one night in Napier, your following destination would need to be a relatively short drive away.

Peace River, AB
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2. Re: To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

We will be traveling Taupo - Napier, so should be able to spend the best part of a day in Napier. Thanks!

Nelson-Tasman...
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3. Re: To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

Our kids loved hot water beach and the the awesome short walk through the gold tunnels

thecoromandel.com/new-zealand/…

Take a torch and enjoy.

Hot water beach is only any good an hour side of low tide so it depends on your plans. The east coast of Coromandel is interesting. We didnt find much of interest on the west coast of coromandel, except lots of birds!

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4. Re: To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

From your reply, I'm guessing that you plan to arrive in Napier about mid-day from Taupo, and leave about the same time the following day. Would that be right? I'm not sure how you are planning to get to Cape Kidnappers, but if it's along the beach, then do be sure to check the tides for the days you plan to be there. There is also a tour option which goes through farmland.

It would be an easy enough drive from Hahei to Taupo, and I'd be more inclined to drop Mt Maunganui than Coromandel.

Peace River, AB
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5. Re: To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

Hi Selsy: Thanks for the reply, and apologies for being confusing.

Here's our full North Island itinerary (assuming we do Coromandel):

Day 1: Auckland - international flight from Vancouver in around 06:00, overnight Auckland

Day 2: Drive Auckland to Coromandel Town, overnight Coromandel Town

Day 3: Drive Coromandel Town to Hahei via 309 Road, overnight Hahei

Day 4: Drive Hahei to Mt. Maunganui via Karangahake Gorge, overnight Mt. Maunganui

Day 5: Day trip to White Island, overnight Mt. Maunganui

Day 6: Drive Mt. Maunganui to Rotorua, overnight Rotorua

Day 7: Explore Rotorua thermal areas, overnight Rotorua

Day 8: Drive Rotorua to Waitomo, explore Waitomo Caves, overnight Waitomo

Day 9: Drive Waitomo to Whakapapa, explore Whakapapa, overnight Whakapapa

Day 10: Flight-see Tongariro NP, drive Whakapapa to Taupo, overnight Taupo

Day 11: Explore Taupo, overnight Taupo

Day 12: Drive Taupo to Napier, explore Napier, overnight Napier

Day 13: Drive Napier to Wellington via Wairarapa, overnight Wellington

Day 14: Explore Wellington, overnight Wellington

Day 15: Ferry Wellington to Picton

The main goal of visiting Mt. Maunganui is a daytrip to White Island; the beach is a bonus (assuming it will be warm enough to swim early December?).

We were actually think of doing a tour to Cape Kidnappers if the tides are right. If not, we'll just explore Napier.

One more question: we're also planning to explore the South Island. I'm thinking we will want to do the North Island first because I've read the popular beach areas get a bit crazy once the NZ school holidays hit in the middle of December?

Thanks for all your help!

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Tauranga
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6. Re: To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

Why the 309 road? It wouldn't be my choice. As someone who travels the peninsula up one side and down the other three days a week, I'd stick to the highway. If you have a fine day, the views are as good as any I've seen in the world.

Peace River, AB
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7. Re: To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

Hi cssr: The main reason for taking the 309 road is to see the Waterworks (DH loves quirky stops like that), Wauiau Falls, and the Kauri grove (as we aren't going to make it to Northland). All three are toward the Coromandel Town end of the 309 road, however; perhaps we should just do a day trip?

Thanks for your input!

Tauranga
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8. Re: To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

Fair enough, but drive carefully. Being a gravel road, it can get a bit rough through there.

On your way to Coromandel, as you enter Thames, turn right at the BP garage and go up yo the DOC visitors centre in the Kauaeranga Valley. There is a replica of an old Kauri dam that sometimes they demonstrate, and at the newish centre they have displays showing the history of Kauri logging.

Another thought. After your White Island trip, why not stay in Whakatane? Before going to Rotorua, drop over the hill to Ohope, recently voted as most popular beachin New Zealand by Kiwis.

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9. Re: To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

I also suggest you stay overnight in the Whakatane - Ohope Beach after your White Island trip. Saves backtracking, while the ocean beach is lovely at Ohope.

Peace River, AB
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10. Re: To Coromandel or Not To Coromandel?

Thanks all! So using your suggestion re: Ohope Beach, our NI itinerary would look like this:

Day 1: Auckland - international flight from Vancouver in around 06:00, overnight Auckland

Day 2: Drive Auckland to Coromandel Town, overnight Coromandel Town

Day 3: Drive Coromandel Town to Hahei via 309 Road, overnight Hahei

Day 4: Drive Hahei to Mt. Maunganui via Karangahake Gorge, overnight Mt. Maunganui

Day 5: Drive Mt. Maunganui to Whakatane, day trip to White Island, overnight Ohope

Day 6: Drive Ohope to Rotorua, overnight Rotorua

Day 7: Explore Rotorua thermal areas, overnight Rotorua

Day 8: Drive Rotorua to Waitomo, explore Waitomo Caves, overnight Waitomo

Day 9: Drive Waitomo to Whakapapa, explore Tongariro NP, overnight Whakapapa

Day 10: Flight-see Tongariro NP, drive Whakapapa to Taupo, overnight Taupo

Day 11: Explore Taupo, overnight Taupo

Day 12: Drive Taupo to Napier, explore Napier, overnight Napier

Day 13: Drive Napier to Wellington via Wairarapa, overnight Wellington

Day 14: Explore Wellington, overnight Wellington

Day 15: Ferry Wellington to Picton

Lots of one night stays, but also fairly short drives; should be manageable?

Another couple of questions:

1. The SI DE's have advised we can cut one night from our itinerary there. If we were to use the extra night on the NI, what do you recommend we do with it? Spend another night in Auckland so we can do a daytrip to Waiheke Island? Spend it in the Coromandel? Spend a second night in Napier?

2. How do the crowds at the beach areas in the NI (Coromandel, Mt. Maunganui, Ohope) during the Christmas week / first week of January compare to the crowds at Abel Tasman during the same timeframe? This will probably determine which order we do the islands.

Any input appreciated!

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