The Coromandel is a Mecca of fun things to do with kids. Less than three hours from both Auckland and Hamilton, it’s the perfect destination for a fun-filled family holiday. To get you started here are 24 things to do in this coastal wonderland with kids.
1. Karangahake Gorge
State Highway 2
Formerly one of the busiest and most lucrative gold mines, the Karangahake Gorge was once a maze of bridges, tram, water races and construction. Now the gorge is home to a selection of stunning walkways with a lot of surprises and fun things to explore, including waterfalls, old mining relics, and old tram ways. Our favourite walks are the Historic Walkway, the Windows walk and the Karangahake Tunnel walk.
2. Cathedral Cove
Accessible only by foot or boat, Cathedral Cove is worth the 2.5km walk or boat ride. Your kids might recognise it as a place from the movie Prince Caspian, but the stunning rock formation is a fabulous place to spend a few hours. Explore the Cathedral rock formation, play on the beach or take a swim in the crystal clear water. If you don’t fancy the walk to Cathedral Cove then Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga do a 2 hour tour to Cathedral Cove where their guides provide a fun commentary enriched with local history, Maori culture, geology and marine life information.
3. Bullswool Farm and Nature Park
Bullswool Farm is a unique, hands-on rural experience, home to a large variety of rare-breed farm animals that can be safely fed and interacted with, as well as a working sheepshead that is open to visitors. The kids will love living the farm life for a few hours.
4. Gold Discovery Centre
Become immersed in interactive activities surrounding gold mining at the Gold Discovery Centre in Waihi. Lean on a plunger to trigger a simulated explosion down the gold mine, or try and beat the shady dealer at a game of Two-up. It’s a hands-on place to visit where kids feel comfortable to run around and explore.
5. Driving creek railway
Enjoy a scenic one hour return train ride on this mountain railway. Travel through regenerating and replanted native Kauri forest with unique pottery sculptures and tile murals lining the track. The railway includes two spirals, three short tunnels, five reversing points and several large bridges. Your journey takes you to the top of the hill, where the ‘Eyefull Tower’ lookout building awaits to give you spectacular views over the Hauraki Gulf and Islands.
6. Hot water beach
A truly unique Kiwi experience, where an underground river of hot water flows from the interior of the earth to the surface in the Pacific Ocean, and pops up at Hot Water Beach. When the tide is out, if you dig a hole, it will fill up with… well, hot water to create your very own spa pool.
7. The Waterworks
Experience New Zealand’s quirkiest theme park The Waterworks. This is a theme park with a difference, as it has water powered inventions, quirky contraptions and fun to discover at every turn. There are over 70 attractions to look at, play on or interact with including water cannons, bikes that pump water, and a human sized hamster wheel.
8. Coromandel zipline tours
Discover the Coromandel’s native bush from above with CoroZip. Stretching over 1km, Corozip has eight separate ziplines (the longest of which is 200m) which guide you through the bush canopy alongside kereru, korimako (bellbirds), tui and over the Copeland Stream. The minimum age to go on the Corozip is 6-years.
9. Coromandel school of mines and historic museum
The life of mining and its impact on a small town are at the heart of this adorable village museum. The collection covers early goldmining, kauri logging, geological specimens, photographs and general local history.
10. Sea cave adventures
The best way to see the full 25kms of volcanic scenery of the coromandel is by boat, and Sea Cave adventures have a great tour that takes you to all the best places.
11. Fun Zone adventure and family park
Fun Zone adventure and family park has loads of fun activities perfect for kids, including archery (10-years +), kids quad bikes (6-11 years), target paintball shooting, argo rides, a soccer gold course, laser clay bird shooting, and outdoor laser tag.
12. Whiti Farm Park
Whiti Farm Park is where you can meet, feed and interact with over 40 species of farmyard and exotic animals, birds and reptiles. There is over eight acres of mature park like surroundings and a short bush walk to explore. Alongside the animals, there is a trampoline to bounce on, hay to roll in, tree huts to climb, and an authentic fire engine for imaginative play.
13. Ngtea water gardens
The Ngtea Water Gardens are 5 acres of picturesque gardens. The path that takes you through the garden will take you over bridges, past water lily ponds, waterfalls, waterwheels and magical fountains. Plus, you’ll find friendly birds, fish and turtles to hand feed along the way.
14. Stargazers astronomy tours
Enjoy an evening of stargazing with Stargazers Astronomy Tours in Whitianga. You’ll learn to identify several constellations, then view them through the telescope. Kids can even operate the rotating dome, learn how stars are born and die, hold meteorites older than the earth, and examine dinosaur fossils and mineral specimens.
15. Mercury Bay Museum
The Mercury Bay Museum is home to exhibits about the Polynesian navigator Kupe, Maori artifacts, the Endeavour, and James Cook, the HMS Buffalo, kauri timber and gum, the old dairy factory where the museum is housed, early settlers records, natural history, fishing displays, and a wonderful photographic collection. It’s a haven of knowledge for inquisitive minds.
16. Wentworth Valley Falls
The walk to Wentworth Valley Falls is an easy, two hour return walk alongside the Wentworth River, where you will make your way over two bridge crossings before climbing to a lovely view of the falls.
17. Colville Farm holidays horse trekking
Go horse trekking with Colville Farm Holidays. The treks are from 1 hour right up to 5 hour horse treks and cater to all levels of riding experience. Walk, trot or canter along the grassy flats and up the hills. View the streams meandering through the valley with Mount Mocha in the distance, for more experience riders there are longer beach treks on offer too.
18. Thames historical museum
Go back in time in the Thames Museum and discover the varied elements that went into the creation of the iconic town, that is the heart of the Coromandel Peninsula.
19. L&P bottle
What is a road trip to the Coromandel region without a visit to the world famous (in New Zealand) giant L&P bottle.
20. Whitianga rock walk
The trail for the Whitianga rock walk begins at the oldest stone wharf in Australasia and continues on to the Maori Pa site and various other historical points of interest.
21. Whitianga bike park
The Whitianga bike park has around three hours of riding for various grades. The BMX track, PUMP track and DIRT track should keep kids of all ages entertained.
22. Thames small gauge railway
The Thames small gauge railway is perfect for families, the miniature train runs along 900 meters of track along the picturesque Thames foreshore.
23. Birdwood springs mini putt
No weekend getaway is complete without a round of mini-golf, the Birdwood Springs mini putt hs 18 fantastic holes, perfect for the whole family, no matter their golfing ability.
24. Goldfields Heritage Railway
Take a ride on the nostalgic Goldfields Heritage Railway through beautiful pastoral land between Waihi and Waikino. Enjoy an area rich in history including historic gold mining.
More family holiday ideas