Thames is located on the southwest corner of the Coromandel Peninsula. The Peninsula can be seen from Auckland on a clear day and is well worth a visit for a day or two. With only a day to spare in our schedule, we made a last minute decision to spend a day exploring the peninsula by car.
Things To Do & See
1) Coromandel Town
We only passed through the town of Coromandel. However, there appeared to be a cute main street, with a number of restaurants and lodging options. Additionally, see this website for some addition hiking/tramping options near the city.
2) Whangapoua Summit Lookout
As you drive towards Whitianga (on SH25), there will be signs for a lookout, with a small parking area. (About 15km outside of town.) Climb the few steps to the lookout, where you will have a great view of Coromandel town (to the west) and the Whangapoua Harbour (to the east). This is well worth a stop!
A major tourist site located on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, near the town of Hahei. Two (busy) beaches / coves are joined by walking under a picturesque cathedral archway. From the carpark at the end of Grange Road, it is about a 1.5 hour (w/return) walk to the coves.
An interesting phenomenon, that is a major tourist attraction. Hot water streams run underneath this beach. Thus 2 hours on either side of low tide, you will find hoards of people with a spade digging shallow holes in the sand in search of the hot water, to create their own hot water pool. Be careful, as the water can be VERY hot. There is no map to exactly where the hot water is located, but if you dig a few inches deep and do not find it…change locations and try again. People tend to congregate in one area, where people have struck the hot water. You can rent a spade to dig, we used our feet to clear away sand — but never found our own hot water spring. Instead, we dipped our feet in ones that were abandoned by other beach goers.
The Coromandel Mussel Kitchen came highly recommended from our accommodation hosts in Thames. Unfortunately, we passed through early in the day (shortly after eating breakfast) and missed out. We will be sure to give it a try the next time we visit the Peninsula.
After driving through Coromandel Town, it appeared that there were a number of dining options available.
We enjoyed our overnight stay at this motel. It was clean, spacious, and had a number of nice amenities, including a kitchen, free wifi, a spacious bathroom with a spa tub, pool, and pay laundry facilities. Our host was very gracious and provided us with a number of recommendations for restaurants in town and things to see/do on the Peninsula.