Coromandel Peninsula

Around seven million years ago Paaku was a volcanic island, but now it forms the northern head of Tairua’s harbour. Ngāti Hei had a here before being invaded by Ngāti Maru in the 17th century. It’s a steep 15-minute walk to the summit from the top of Paku Dr, with the pay-off being amazing views over Tairua, Pauanui and the Alderman Islands. Plaques along the way detail Tairua’s colonial history; only one is devoted to its long Māori occupation.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Coromandel Peninsula attractions

1. Moko Artspace

8.15 MILES

Near Hot Water Beach, Moko is full of beautiful things – art, sculpture, jewellery – with a modern Pasifika/Māori bent.

2. Broken Hills Gold-Mine Workings

9.66 MILES

Located 12km south of Tairua is the turn-off to Puketui Valley and the historic Broken Hills gold-mine workings, which are 8km from the main road along a…

3. Hahei Beach

11.84 MILES

Long, lovely Hahei Beach is made more magical by the view to the craggy islands in the distance. From the southern end of Hahei Beach, it’s a 15-minute…

4. Cathedral Cove

12.66 MILES

Beautiful Cathedral Cove, with its famous gigantic stone arch and natural waterfall shower, is best enjoyed early or late in the day – avoiding the worst…

5. Shakespeare Cliff Lookout

14.24 MILES

Shakespeare Cliff Lookout has excellent views over the ocean and Cooks Beach. It’s accessed across the harbour from Ferry Landing.

6. Mercury Bay Museum

14.63 MILES

A small but interesting museum focusing on local history – especially Whitianga’s most famous visitors, Kupe and Cook.

7. Lost Spring

15.03 MILES

This expensive but intriguing Disney-meets-Polynesia thermal complex comprises a series of hot pools in a lush jungle-like setting complete with an…

8. Rapaura Water Gardens

17.43 MILES

From Tapu, a mainly sealed 6km drive leads to the Rapaura Water Gardens, a marriage of water, greenery, sculpture and platitudes. It has accommodation on…