Bruce Bricknell’s Driving Creek Railway and Potteries
Coromandel township is home to Bruce Bricknell’s Driving Creek Railway, a one hour narrow gauge train ride that winds its way up a 3km mountain track through replanted kauri trees and native forests. You’ll cross bridges and viaducts, go through tunnels and zigzag round some seriously sharp bends before reaching the Eyefull Tower at the summit, a viewing platform with panoramic views over the forest, valley and Hauraki Gulf.
Bruce originally built the railway to extract clay from the hills for his pottery but was so inundated with requests for train rides; he decided to open it up to the public. Driving Creek Railway is now one of Coromandel’s most popular tourist attractions with 30,000 visitors a year but don’t think this is a get rich scheme. Once the costs are covered to keep to pottery business and railway going, the rest of the proceeds go to conserving and replacing the native bush and kauri trees that once covered this area.
Just a short distance from Coromandel Township on Road 309 is Waiau Waterworks. A fabulous place to spend the day, Waiau Waterworks is an innovative theme park with whimsical contractions and machines all powered by water. From water pipe men to giant water clocks, there’s every conceivable gadget (and a few that defy imagination) to delight the child in all of us. With a flying fox, kids playground, picnic area and safe swimming hole, Waiau Waterworks offers lots of fun for all the family.
The Lost Spring
The Lost Spring is a testimony to determination, perseverance and never giving up on your dream.
Inspired by old stories of a lost thermal water spring on the Coromandel, Alan Hopping spent 20 years searching for the spring. His eventual success led to the creation of the Lost Spring Thermal Resort in Whitianga, a spectacular set of luxurious hot pools fed by pristine geothermal water set in beautiful native forests. Dine poolside at the resort’s 18sixtyfive restaurant or sit in the lagoon style dining area looking out over tranquil soothing water and lush foliage.
Hot Water Beach
Hot Water Beach is one of those unique experiences every visitor to the Coromandel must do. While Hot Water Beach is one of the top surfing spots on the peninsula, the real reason for its fame is what gives this beach its name. An underground river of hot water surfaces at the beach and one hour either side of low tide, people flock there to dig their own natural spa pool in the sand. Winter or summer, this is a natural phenomenon that once experienced, you’ll never forget!
The World Famous Cathedral Cove
Te Whanganui A Hei Marine Reserve in Coromandel’s Mercury Bay, is home to the famous Cathedral Cove, one of the most visited and photographed locations on the Coromandel Peninsula. Accessible only by foot (via an access track at the northern end of Hahei Beach) or water, this magnificent cathedral shaped cavern, white sand beach and its spectacular environs are a “must visit” site.
A wonderful way to explore Cathedral Cove is by kayak and the folks from Cathedral Cove Sea Kayaking, located at Hahei Beach will give you a sensational experience. Great for experienced and first time kayakers, you’ll reach beaches, caves, blowholes and islands that others can’t get to by boat or foot.
Leslie Preston is founder of Bachcare a provider of Coromandel holiday homes and holiday accommodation for rent. Bachcare provides holiday homes, baches and rental accommodation throughout New Zealand’s favorite holiday and vacation destinations.