I think we can all agree that it isn’t hard to find a quick getaway from Auckland (or in entire NZ!). Few hours of drive here and there will get you to mountain views, seaside escapes, and endless farmlands.
A week before my birthday, we ventured on a 2.5-hour drive from Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula. It’s a beautiful region filled with sandy beaches, mountain summits, rolling hills and hiking trails. It’s especially popular in summer because of its warmer climate than the rest of the country and the many stunning beaches surrounding it.
I enjoyed most of the drive looking past the cows and sheep grazing the fields. But had to force myself to sleep when we reached the narrow, winding roads. That bit of the journey really made me dizzy. Yet seeing the beauty of nature in its full, untouched glory made the crazy ride worth it!
Mount Paku Summit
Out first stop was at Mount Paku Summit which has a very convenient parking space nearby. The route to the top is bordered with trees and singing birds and only takes about 30 minutes. There are huge, steep boulders near the end of the trail but they are not difficult to climb. Once you get a preview of the surroundings in between the swaying leaves, you won’t even want to stop until you get there.
After making our way down from Mount Paku (which is so much easier), we drove to Otama Beach. These two are almost an hour away from each other so by the time we got there, it was already time for lunch. We ate our packed sandwiches, then walked along the white sand beach. Except for a family camping out on one end, we had the place all to ourselves!
We also found a swing under a tree which I really enjoyed! (I wanted to take it home!) Ge and I took our turns riding the swing while appreciating the serene, turquoise waters.
Cathedral Cove, Narnia’s Wonderland
Our last stop was at Cathedral Cove, another hour drive from Otama Beach. If you’ve seen the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, it was the location where the Pevensie children were teleported back into the magical world of Narnia – a massive limestone arch with views of the turquoise ocean.
The way to get here isn’t a breeze – it’s a 45-min long walk from the parking lot. The track is easy to follow but can be quite tiring because of its uphill + downhill nature. We visited in summer so it was quite crowded (you can easily figure out from the number of cars in the parking lot) and hot with no shade all throughout. Remember that there are no facilities available, so bring lots of water, snacks, sunblock, and wear a pair of comfortable shoes.
I felt that the walk was way longer than I had thought. There was no indication if we’re getting closer and you won’t even see the cove from afar. Thankfully, there were quite a few scenic spots that make for a good rest stop. And the overall experience is still rewarding.
There’s a lot to see and do around the Coromandel Peninsula but since we went on a day trip, we only get to see these three. It was a beautiful change of scenery from Auckland and a memorable way to spend a birthday. I won’t have it any other way. :)
Have you visited Coromandel? Let me know other places to check out in the area!