Best Beaches in the Coromandel

For picture-perfect beaches of all types, Coromandel stands out in New Zealand – it has hundreds of drop-dead gorgeous beaches, many bordered by native rainforest, some secluded and only accessible by walking track, and others on the edge of Coromandel communities with beautiful cafes and accommodation. At Mercury Ridge, we have our top 5 beaches we’d recommend for a great beach day out, before coming back to Mercury Ridge to relax with a cold beverage.


Cook’s Beach

Just minutes’ walk from Mercury Ridge, this 3-kilometre white sand beach has been a Coromandel favourite for generations, with holiday houses down its length above the sand dunes. Indeed Cook’s Beach has a lot of history – it was where Polynesian explorer Kupe first landed in Aotearoa, and also one of the places Captain Cook came ashore from the HMS Endeavour (hence the name).


At one end of Cook’s Beach, Shakespeare Cliff provides a great walking path with amazing views of Mercury Bay, and at the other end there is the beautiful Purangi River and estuary. The estuary is a calm, sheltered spot great for swimming, popular with families. From the estuary, you can hire a stand up paddleboard or kayak from Coromandel Paddle Boarding. Why not paddle an hour up the river, and dock at the pontoon at The Hive for a delicious lunch (open during the summer months), before drifting back down to the estuary.


Lonely Bay

Be treated to one of the most beautiful little beaches around – so close to civilisation but a world away! At the end of Cooks beach, take the track over Shakespeare Cliff. You’ll then traverse the cliff via a steep dirt trail, and drop down into secluded Lonely Bay with shell-strewn sands and clear blue waters, Pohutukawa, rocks to explore and a huge amount of beautiful crushed and whole seashells. Lovely place to set up camp for a few hours, swim, collect shells, or just read a book in an idyllic location.


Cathedral Cove

This famous cave-like rock formation in the Coromandel is one of the most picturesque spots in the area. Walking the beach at the cove takes you through an enormous, cavernous archway, which frames bright turquoise waters and white sands on each side (or on a rainy day, the archway provides great shelter).


To get to Cathedral Cove, beginning at the carpark, it’s a 1.5-hour return, undulating coastal walk through native forest and farmland, with a collection of staircases to navigate just before you get to the cove. From 1 October to 30 April, the carpark at the start of the track is closed but you can park for free at the entrance to Hahei Village, and walk via the beautiful beach to the start of the track (or use the Park and Ride shuttle bus).


Please note: Following the destruction caused by Cyclone Gabrielle in February 2023, the Cathedral Cove walking track is closed. Currently, the best way to see Cathedral Cove is via boat or kayak tour. Please enquire for our recommendations.


Hot Water Beach

This is a classic Coromandel activity and one for the bucket list: take your spades and dig yourself your own hotpool in the sand! It can be extremely busy during the day – and especially at the weekend – but the novelty makes it all worth it. Head to this beach within two hours each side of low tide, and you’ll find hot water just under the sand. If you forget your spade, you can hire them from the cafés at the beach near the carpark. If you’re swimming, swim only between the flags and when the Surf Life Savers are on patrol – the area around the hot springs in particular has strong currents, holes and rips. If you’re an experienced surfer, Hot Water Beach often gets great swell.


New Chums Beach

This beach is an internationally-rated wilderness beach – it’s a pristine curve of golden sand lined with Pohutukawa, with no development, camping or roads whatsoever! As such, it’s a half-hour walk to get there – but you’ll pass through stunning nikau and Pohutukawa forest. From the northern end of Whangapoua Beach, cross the stream, along the shore, and up over the headland on the Mangakahia Drive track.  There are no toilets at the beach, only at William Mangahakia Lagooon Reserve.


We hope you enjoy these beaches as much as we do – and at Mercury Ridge we’re always happy to help with directions, local tips on other places to visit, or anything else you require.


Posted by Mercury Ridge on April 17, 2023

What our previous guests have said