Backpacking off the Beaten Track: Whitianga & The Coromandel

With a history as a timber port but now very much a beachside resort town, Whitianga in Mercury Bay is popular as a base from which to explore the nearby natural attractions of Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, as well as the wider Coromandel region. Whitianga itself is very popular with travellers in summer, and provides all the essential services you need, including a laundromat, pharmacy, supermarket and other stores, plenty of good cafés and restaurants, lots to see and do, and a number of accommodation options for backpackers and campers.

Kayaking, mountain biking, walking, fishing, golf and scenic cruises are all on offer in and around the town. Fantastic beaches are within easy reach, including Buffalo Beach and the unique Hot Water Beach (where you can dig your own hot pool in the sand – really!). Be sure to visit the spectacular limestone arch at Cathedral Cove. You can reach it with 30 minute walk to the beach from the small town of Hahei (east of Whitianga), or see it from the ocean in a sea kayak. To find out more, check out Exploring The Coromandel.

Hot Water Beach offers the chance to dig your own private hot pool. Grab a spade at low tide and target the area ahead of a rocky outcrop in the middle of the beach, then dig until you hit hot water!