The Coromandel Peninsula stretches around 50 miles north from the famous Bay of Plenty, and is renowned for its misty rainforests and golden beaches. The terrain tends to be fairly steep and hilly, so it’s ideal for clifftop walks and discovering secluded hideaways – the stunning Coromandel Coastal Walkway is your best bet. Head to the outskirts of the town of Coromandel for the Driving Creek Railway, a narrow mountain railway track on a scenic route lined with pottery murals, or stop off at the fascinating Hot Water Beach on Mercury Bay; this beach is on a geothermal spot and is normally deserted, but head here two hours either side of low tide and you’ll be able to dig your own thermal spa.
The Bay of Plenty stretches for over 150 miles of open coastline and has some fantastic spots worth visiting during a stay on North Island. Spend some time in Tauranga, a vibrant harbour city and New Zealand’s fifth largest, before heading across the harbour to Mount Maunganui. Mauao, the mountain itself, is steeped in Maori mythology and culture, and you can surf, swim, play golf or go shopping in this area. Another excellent spot is Waihi Beach – this six-mile stretch of beautiful sand is one of New Zealand's safest surf beaches, home to a friendly beachside community and great for a family day out. It also has numerous walking and cycling tracks.