The peninsula’s northernmost town of any substance is charming little COROMANDEL, 58km north of Thames, huddling beneath high, craggy hills at the head of Coromandel Harbour.
From the south, SH25 becomes Tiki Road and then splits into two: Wharf Road skirts the harbour while Kapanga Road immediately enters the heart of town, which is made up of photogenic wooden buildings, where all you’ll find are a couple of supermarkets and petrol stations, a bank and a cluster of cafés. A couple of blocks further on, it becomes Rings Road, before heading northwards out of town towards the main attractions, the stamper battery and the Driving Creek Railway.
The town and peninsula took their name from an 1820 visit by the British Admiralty supply ship Coromandel, which called into the harbour to obtain kauri spars and masts. A more mercenary European invasion was precipitated by the 1852 discovery of gold, near Driving Creek.