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Coromandel by campervan

Thursday, September 25, 2008
The Coromandel Peninsula is where Kiwis go on holidays. Renowned for its natural beauty, misty rainforests and golden beaches, its natural hideaways provide wonderful places for relaxing and unwinding. Discover 400km of coastline, and at Hot Water Beach you can dig your own hot-spa pool in the sand.

Cruise the islands by boat, explore the Coromandel Forest Park and choose from a range of trails to walk. White sandy beaches on the eastern side and native pohutukawa trees on the western side are divided by ranges adorned in native rainforest. There are museums highlighting the heritage of the region and artists' studios to visit.

It makes such sense to discover the Coromandel by campervan, and Spaceships — described as "the Swiss Army knife of campervans" — is the way to go. Their unique, compact design makes touring a pleasure, particularly along winding coastal roads. They are not reliant on powered sites, have a fold-away cooker, hidden storage, ceiling mounted DVD screen and fold-out table and chairs. There are 16 Space Stations throughout New Zealand, ready and waiting with information and directions.

First stop is Hahei Holiday Park, a beachfront property sheltered from winds. It offers family camping holidays, backpacker accommodation, sea view campervan sites, cabins, self-catering cottages and deluxe villas.

Hahei is at the start of the walk from Hahei Beach to Cathedral Cove, and there are 16 beaches accessible by boat. It was used as a location in the Chronicles of Narnia sequel, so keep your eyes peeled and you might recognise some of the locations.

Not far away is the town of Coromandel on the western side of the peninsula. The old goldmining centre is full of history. It was named after the HMS Coromandel, which called there in 1829 to gather kauri spars to make masts for the British Royal Navy. It was an early centre for timber milling and when gold was discovered in 1852, it flourished.

These days, it enjoys a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle and has attracted talented artists and craftspeople, who are inspired by its natural surrounds and tranquil atmosphere.

It has mussel and oyster farms, and fishing and scenic charters operate around the Coromandel Harbour, which is well-sheltered by a spit of land reaching out to Whanganui Island.

You can visit the Coromandel Oyster Company for deliciously fresh seafood and deli items and stop for a succulent lunch. Pacific oysters are its signature item, with its sweet, off-white flesh to be enjoyed raw or cooked.

Waiau Kauri Grove is a spectacular place to walk. A well-formed track with footbridges takes you through the majestic trees that have been protected since before the turn of the last century. They have been growing for around 1500 years and are only about halfway through their lifespan.

The road from Coromandel to Colville is considered to be one of the most scenic in New Zealand, with the tree-lined coast on one side and the rugged Coromandel Ranges on the other.

Doug Johansen and Jan Poole run Kiwi Dundee Adventures. They offer deluxe, small- group and private, customised tours and walks in the Coromandel Peninsula — and in fact, New Zealand-wide. They have both received Queen's medals for their contribution to nature and have a genuine, warm rapport with people, along with a deep love of nature.

While they specialise in deluxe adventure tours and walks, they do enjoy a challenge of any kind!

Coromandel has a number of campgrounds and holiday parks catering to the needs of travellers enjoying a New Zealand camping holiday. Whether you're looking for a campsite to pitch your tent, a cabin, or a caravan park for your campervan/RV, you'll find the widest choice here.


The Coromandel Peninsula, two-and-a-half-hours east of Auckland on New Zealand's North Island.


Kiwi Dundee Nature and Coast and Adventure and Wilderness full-day tours are about $190 per person. Lunch and entrance fees are included and they operate most days.

Best Western is offering two nights' stay for the price of one at selected properties throughout New Zealand. This is valid for stays until December 21, 2008 and the first 100 callers will receive a bottle of wine and chocolates. Blackout days apply and this offer is subject to availability. Quote "Getaway New Zealand".

Air New Zealand has special fares to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin or Hamilton. You'll have to be quick — they are only available until 11.59pm September 27, 2008 AEST and conditions apply.

One-way fares from:

  • Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne $229
  • Adelaide $359
  • Perth $509

Prices correct at September 25, 2008.

For further information

Tourism Coromandel
Goldfields Shopping Centre
Queen and Mary Streets
New Zealand
Ph: +64 7 868 0017
Fax: +64 7 868 5986

Coromandel Information Centre
355 Kapanga Road
Ph: +64 7 866 8598
Fax: +64 7 866 8527

Ph: +64 9 309 8777

Bookings in Australia
Ph: 1300 132 469

Kiwi Dundee Adventures
PO Box 198
New Zealand
Ph/Fax: +64 7 865 8809

Whitianga Visitor Information Centre
Albert Street
New Zealand
Ph: +64 7 866 5555

Hahei Holiday Resort
Harsant Avenue
New Zealand
Ph: +64 7 866 3889

Best Western
Ph: 1300 WESTERN

Tourism New Zealand

Air New Zealand

Check out our celebrity Getaway blog or our photo gallery for more Getaway adventure pics.

User comments
Dermi .. you are terrific....and your comentary was wonderful... thank you Dermi for this informative tour... if they only knew how popular you are here.. they would have mugged you Dermi... God bless.. and thank you for the excellent tour.
Hahei was our summer holiday spot growing up as a kid and I'vebeen back a few times as an adult. LOVE IT!!!!!! Great to see it recognised on Getaway!

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