It may be one of New Zealand’s most popular summer destinations, but if you want to avoid the crowds, the Coromandel Peninsula can be enjoyed year-round. Here are the best things to do and places to visit in Coromandel, no matter what season you visit.
I’ve recently come to realise the enchantment of visiting typically summer destinations during winter. Often, you can soak in all the goodness a region has to offer, whilst avoiding excessive crowds, inflated prices, and risk of sunburn.
A few weeks ago, I decided to test this theory. I grabbed a group of my girlfriends and we headed to the Coromandel- one of New Zealand’s most popular summer destinations- for a winter getaway.
After spending our days soaking in natural hot springs, huddling up by a fireplace to drink red wine and enjoying some of the most beautiful beaches of the region without a tourist in sight, this dreamy winter escape affirmed that I need to travel in off-season more often!
Things to do in the Coromandel in Winter
1. Take the opportunity for some pampering
What better way to kick off a winter getaway then with a healthy dose of pampering? As you make your way up to the Coromandel, stop into Pamper Me MediSpa in Thames, where you can treat yourself to a facial, manicure, pedicure, massage- whatever beauty treatment your heart desires! I can honestly say that the manicure I received here was the best I’ve ever had.
Warm up in the Lost Springs Geothermal Pools
Let the pampering continue in Whitianga at the enchanting Lost Spring geothermal pools. Entering this place kind of feels like entering Jurassic Park. The only real difference is that instead of running terrified from dinosaurs, you’ll idle happily towards waiters waiting to take your order for a frozen mango margarita. After wrapping yourself up in fluffy robes and slippers, spend the afternoon crossing over wooden bridges, delving into rock caves, passing through jungle-like foliage, and dipping in and out of steaming hot thermal pools.
Have the ultimate night in
Cold weather is as good an excuse as any for a night in- even when you are on holiday! Forget Uber Eats… Why not treat yourself to something a little fancier and order a grazing platter for dinner? Whitianga-based Picnic and Platter create truly insta-worthy spreads that are as delicious as they are beautiful. I would highly recommend pairing with a bottle of vino and consuming by a fireplace… I personally can’t think of many better ways to spend a winter evening!
Wake up early for a magical beach sunrise
One major perk of visiting the Coromandel during winter is that sunrise isn’t too early- meaning there is no excuse not to get up to watch it! Head down to Whitianga beach to witness a stunning sunrise over the misty water. Afterwards, head to The French Fig for a bite to eat. This is a favourite spot amongst locals, offering great coffee and tasty brunch options- the French toast is a must!
Go wine tasting at Mercury Bay Estate
Visiting a winery is another great thing to do in the Coromandel. Overlooking the beautiful Cooks Beach, Mercury Bay Estate is one of the most picturesque vineyards I’ve ever visited! Here, you can sit out on the terrace and enjoy a wine-tasting while admiring the gorgeous view. If you are feeling peckish, they also offer wonderful Italian-inspired antipasto platters and woodfired pizzas.
Cruise around Hahei by boat
Hahei is by far the most popular area of the Coromandel. In summer, this area is absolutely flooded with tourists, but head to the Coromandel in winter and you can virtually have the place to yourself! I’m not normally one for boat tours, but I would highly recommend going on the Hahei Explorer. On the tour, a local will take you out on a speedboat and shows you the stunning natural beauty of the region including, a marine reserve teeming with fish, both secret sea caves and secluded bays surrounded by rugged volcanic cliffs, and of course the world-famous Cathedral Cove.
Stay somewhere cosy in the Coromandel
The great thing about visiting the Coromandel in winter is that you’ll find plenty of available and affordable accommodation (unlike in summer, where everything gets booked up ridiculously quickly)! Bachcare offers a vast array of properties throughout the Coromandel that cater to different needs and budgets. We stayed at the Modern Beach Pad in Whitianga, which was situated in a neighbourhood just a short stroll from the beach. The place was very well-insulated and had a lovely gas fireplace, meaning we were kept toasty throughout our stay.
Take a peek at the video below of our girls getaway to the Coromandel:
For more winter travel, read these next:
- 10 Best Things To Do in Hokkaido in the Winter
- Why You Should Visit Helsinki in Winter
- HOW TO: Pack for a Winter Getaway