The fertile Hauraki Plains stretch southeast from the Coromandel Peninsula forming a low-lying former swamp-turned-farming region which, in typically laconic Kiwi fashion, describes itself as “flat out and loving it”. The Firth of Thames, the final destination for a number of meandering rivers, borders it to the north.

The hub of the plains is Paeroa, not much in itself but handy for walks in the magnificent Karangahake Gorge, running almost to Waihi.

The real gem hereabouts is Te Aroha, a delightful Edwardian spa town (little more than a village) at the southern extremity of the plains, where you can hike Mount Te Aroha and soak afterwards in natural hot soda springs.

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