About 2 hours drive from Auckland New Zealand is the Coromandel Peninsula, an area of extremely beautiful scenery. Blue seas, glorious bays, many islands dotted in bays and thriving small towns made this a highlight of our visit to New Zealand's North Island.
The official New Zealand tourism website describes the area glowingly.
"The Coromandel, with its pristine beaches, native forests and laid-back vibe, is one of New Zealand’s most popular and best-loved holiday destinations…..the home of many artists and craftspeople……home of many events and concerts that draw locals and visitors alike to this remarkable place…..accommodation providers have found themselves spectacular locations ….with an amazing view."
Whitianga was our favourite town on the peninsula. It was from there that we visited Mercury Bay, including Cathedral Cove (see my earlier article – Travel In New Zealand: Coromandel Peninsula Cruise), enjoyed great meals and based ourselves to visit the rest of the peninsula. But my favourite moment was when we woke on our last morning, to a most unusual view over the bay. The water was obviously warmer than the outside temperature and as the run came up steam lifted from the bay and hung there, suspended over the water. It was truly beautiful.
I'm always amused by the Facebook and Instagram photos of people's meals, but for once I wish I had photographed some of the food that we ate. At Salt in Whitianga, a well-known restaurant attached to a hotel and situated next to the marina, we had a superb three course meal. Certainly it wasn't inexpensive but the quality of the seafood and beef was superb, and the presentation and flavours made it worth the money.
Whilst the east coast of the peninsula is well developed and quite sophisticated in many ways, the western side of the peninsula is a different story. It's as if the last 50 years have not occured around the township of Coromandel. It reminded me of the New Zealand I visited when I was a University student, and that was many years ago! It is a quirky area and we were most amused by the rooftop icon on the local laundromat.
If you are planning to travel in New Zealand, try to include a few days to visit the Coromandel Peninsula.