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A trip to the North Island of New Zealand isn’t complete without visiting the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel Peninsula is one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations because of its pristine beaches and laid-back vibe, not forgetting the rain forests to explore. Our road trip around New Zealand included visiting Auckland, Waiheke Island, Rotorua and then finally Coromandel before heading back to Auckland where we started from and catching our flight back to the US.
We had plenty of outdoor activities planned for our visit to Coromandel, but the rain but a damper on a few of our activities. However, we did not let that stop us from getting out and exploring. Rain or Sunshine, we were going to make the most out of our time.
After a fun filled day in Rotorua, we set out on a 3hr drive to Coromandel. When we got there, we noticed that the vibe was definitely laid back. It was very different from the previous cities we had visited.
When Did We Go There
What Was The Weather Like
It rained on the first two days of our stay which I wasn’t happy about. However, on our 3rd day, there was glimpse of sunshine which got all of us excited. We definitely did as much as we could on each day, weather permitting of course.
How Did We Get There
We flew to Auckland on United Airlines for an error fare [Click to read more – “How To Find Error Fares” that cost us $360 round trip per person. We then drove from Auckland to Rotorua, and then Rotorua to Coromandel. It’s amazing how much greenery there is in New Zealand.
How Did We Get Around
We rented a Toyota Camry from National Car Rental at the Auckland airport with 2 car seats which was perfect. I prefer renting from National because they have newer cars. It gives me peace of mind as I’d hate for me to get a rental car that’ll break down in the middle of a trip in a foreign state / country.
Where Did We Stay
We stayed at Beachfront Resort in Whitianga. We were initially going to stay in Tairua but changed our plans last minute after doing a bit more research on the best place to stay based on the activities we had planned. When searching for a place, my goal was to find a place as close to the beach as possible. And when I say as close as possible, I wanted to be able to leave my window open and listen to the waves splash as my bedtime lullaby. If you love the beach, then you can understand what I mean. The beach is one of my happy places, I feel at ease and at peace and so much more.
Anyways, Beachfront Resort was perfect; it had 2 rooms and a small kitchenette. The best part about this resort is waking up, opening up the blinds , stepping onto the balcony and then on to the sand in just a few steps. They also had books for the kids to read, a trampoline and barbeque pit. This resort is my ideal vacation spot. If the weather was great and we had more time, I would have loved to spend a week relaxing here. The boys loved waking up, and just lounging outside in the mornings.
What Did We do
We arrived Whitianga in the evening and we were pretty exhausted from the drive. We didn’t do anything at all except have dinner, explore our condo and enjoy the sounds of the waves.
Driving Creek Railway and Potteries
It was raining when we headed out to the Driving Creek Railway and Potteries but I wasn’t worried as I knew we wouldn’t be in the train. The boys love train rides, so they really enjoyed this.
The train made a stop mid trip and we were able to get off, climb up a couple of steps and enjoy the scenery. Ahh, sooo beautiful. It was rainy and cloudy making it hard to soak it all in. I can guarantee you that on a sunny day, these views would be ten times better.
On our way from Driving Creek Railway, we saw the sign for Waiau Falls and had to stop. We are pretty adventurous like that. We weren’t sure how long the hike down there was, but hey, we had nothing to loose so off we went. It was a short hike and the waterfall was quite small, but still a nice sight. The boys love outdoor activities so anything then gets the walking, exploring and asking questions is a win.
We got here right when they were closing up. The boys were really sad about not being able to get in. They saw me looking through the website earlier in the day and were really looking forward to having fun here. They usually would have been open, but closed early due to the rain. Bleh
Cathedral Cove Walk
When our Cathedral Cove boat tour was cancelled 2 days in a row due to the weather, I was super bummed out. Cathedral cove is one of New Zealand’s most sought after locations. Since we couldn’t take the tour there, I figured we’d just do the walk. So we drove to the starting point, parked and started walking. On a busy day it would be impossible to find parking, but due to the rain it wasn’t busy or crowded. It is recommended to park in the car park, and ride the bus to the Cathedral Cove walk starting point.
We were initially going to hike to Cathedral Cove, but when we got there and noticed the weather conditions as well as how we were dressed, we decided on Gemstone Bay. Gemstone Bay is a marine reserve and the best place to go snorkeling. I really wished it wasn’t raining, as I really wanted to try snorkeling again. PS – Make sure you dress comfortably as the hike goes uphill and downhill. I wouldn’t recommend a stroller here, the hike down to Gemstone Bay has a LOT of steps, lol. I was out of breathe on my way up, and the boys were far ahead of me. They are so fit, I need seriously get on it !! Also, they had appropriate shoes on, Plae [Click to sign up and receive $20 off your purchase], which I highly recommend. Every child should own a pair of Plae shoes.
When we woke up this morning, we caught a glimpse of the sun – Hooray!! We decided to do two of the activities that we couldn’t do due to the rain.
The Esplanade Playground
This playground is located across the street from The Epsy Cafe and the boys loved playing there while waiting for our food to be ready. One of us stayed with them while the other waited in the restaurant.
Hot Water Beach
I really didn’t understand the concept of the hot water beach prior to going there. Was it the sand that was hot, or was it the actual beach water that was hot. I was really curious about it and I am glad that we got to experience this. It was like the best of both worlds. The boys would hang out in the warm water pool that we dug and then when they got too hot, they would run out to the beach and cool off. Check out my post on “10 Things You Need To Know Prior To Visiting The Hot Water Beach“ for more tips.
We rented shovels for $5 from the lifeguards at the Hot Water Beach. The boys each got their own shovels and were very excited about digging. You really have to dig for the warm water to come up. After a while they gave up and my husband helped them. If you don’t want to dig, that’s okay, I can guarantee you that you’ll find one that has already been dug by someone else, lol. just watch for when someone leaves and the you can jump in. After digging for a while we noticed our water wasn’t as hot as we wanted, so we found one that had already been dug and took over it. The water was quite hot!
Cathedral Cove Cruises
After having so much at the hot water, I called a few of the companies offering tours to Cathedral Cove. I was glad to find out that some of them were offering shortened tours. We picked Cathedral Cove Cruises and drove there. Our tour guide was a bit worried about the kids due to the waves but we assured him that he had nothing to worry about. The scenery was beautiful and we were able to capture several photos. If the weather was much better, we would have also had a chance to snorkel at Gemstone Bay, the same place we hiked to the day before.
Our tour guide told my husband to grab the camera and sit opposite us so that he could capture some photos of myself and the boys. I had no idea why he wanted to do this, but I soon understood why. He then hit the gas and tilted the speed boat and woooooo, I shouted with excitement, Ethan not so much. The look on his face was hilarious.
The kids were able to feed the fish at Gemstome Bay which was exciting for them. The boys loved throwing the food in there and watching the fish fight for it. Even though we didn’t get to snorkel, we did get to see some awesome fish.
Currently working on my last post on our New Zealand trip – Coromandel, woo hoo. Due to the gloomy weather / rain, our “Cathedral Cove” tour was cancelled for 2 days. And then on the 3rd day, there was a glimpse of sun and we got so excited. I reached out to the tour company and they said they’d be willing to do a short tour vs the regular tour which includes snorkeling etc and I said, “I’ll be right there” lol. When we got there, our tour guide was a little worried. He said, “I thought it was 4 adults”. I said “Nope, 2 adults and 2 kids”. I guess he worried about how well the kids would do based on the sea conditions. But let me tell you something, the kids loved it. The ups and downs and wave bumps etc were super exciting for them. At the end of the tour, our guide told us how impressed he was with them. . Anyways, if you make it to New Zealand, and the weather is good, make sure to visit Cathedral Cove. Have you been there? #Coromandel #CoromandelPeninsula #NewZealandVacations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #adventurefamily #familyadventure #tmom #lpkids #explorerkids #jetsetfam #travelingkids #trekarooing #travelingclassroom #blackfamilytravel #blackkidstravel #kidslovetravel #familytravelblogger #familytravelblog #kidstravel #takeyourkidseverywhere #travelwithfamily #familytravelling #blackhomeschoolfamily #familyonthego #homeschoolfamily #jetsetkids #homeschoolingrocks #familygo #havekidswilltravel #homeschoolfieldtrip #familytravel
Where Did We Eat
We literally only ate at two places in Whitianga. If something isn’t broke, then don’t fix it. Basically, the food at both restaurants below was sooooo good that I did not want to try any other place and be dissapointed. Both restaurants exceeded our expectations by far. Fresh, delicious, well seasoned healthy food.
- I cannot stress this enough, dress comfortably for the activity planned. Make sure to check if it requires walking, hiking etc and what you need to wear to be comfortable. New Zealand has so many amazing outdoor activities and wearing the right clothes and shoes will ensure that you do everything that’s on your list.
- You can never go wrong with the food. New Zealand has one the healthiest and yummiest meals I’ve ever had. I’d go back just for the food lol
- Visit TripAdvisor, The Coromandel, All About Whitianga, Lonely Planet and New Zealand.com for other family friendly things to do in Whitianga / The Coromandel Peninsula.
- Click to read my post on “10 Things You Need To Know Prior To Visiting The Hot Water Beach“