The Coromandel 

The Coromandel Peninsula is to the east of the Auckland Metropolitan area and separated by the Hauraki Gulf. The town of Coromandel itself is about two hours from central Auckland by road and as well there is a ferry which runs once a day and takes about the same time as the road trip.

The Thames- Coromandel Highway. This road winds up the western side of the Coromandel Peninsula. It is narrow and needs to be driven carefully. It is sealed all the way though.  There are plenty of places to pull off the road and admire the view of the little beaches , rocky headlands and  pohutukawa trees especially when the trees are in flowers which is  December January. thamescoast    
            drivingcreek  Just north of Coromandel Town is the Driving Creek railway. It is an excellent place to visit and the trip on the small gauge railway is less than $NZ25. It was put in by Barry Brickell, a potter, who wanted to use the clay from the hill behind and found the  building of the railway the best way to get the clay out. There are considerable plantings of kauri and other native trees and much of the land is regenerating well. The commentary is good, the views excellent  and the experience memorable.

To get to the eastern side, you can take the main highway and divert off it to see Matarangi, a seaside resort with houses built as weekend or holiday homes by people who live mainly in Auckland and fly or drive in when their work schedule allows. Probably only about 200 permanent residents but over December- January the population rises to about 10,000.    Photo of Matarangi
An alternative route to the eastern side of the peninsula is by  route 309 On it you can stop and walk into a grove of large kauri trees, visit water gardens and play areas and buy some 309 honey from a near roadside stall.
The road is unsealed for much of its distance but if you are a good and careful driver, dont let this stop you going this way.
beach     Whitianga and Whangamata  Both these seaside towns are based on marine activities.i.e.  Swimming, Boating, Kyaking, and fishing. The towns populations swell considerably over holiday times and through the summer. There are many sandy beaches like this one at Whangamata along this coast.
Waihi. At the southern end of the peninsula is the gold mining town of Waihi.
The main street is well set up for tourists with some attractive bronze statues depicting life in a mining town. The 'large hole' of the working mine is just off the main street and is easily visible from lookouts above the street but not from the street itself.
In the photo on the right, the boy is washing his feet in the warm water flowing away from the mine diggings..