A Guide to New Zealand's Beautiful Coromandel Peninsula

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Things to see and do on the "309" Road

Egan Park / The Kauri Grove

Waiau Falls / Chiltern Reserve

Castle Rock

Waiau Waterworks / Harmony Gardens

Traveling from Whitianga to Coromandel Town

A view (42k)
The 309 road is a narrow winding gravel road between Whitianga and Coromandel Town. It is very scenic; it follows the Mahakirau stream up from State Highway 25, going through farmland, scrub, and native bush. Once over the summit (306 metres) it meanders down the Waiau Valley, through more bush and pine forest. It presents no problem to the motorist who is prepared to drive steadily, and stay well to the left around the corners. It is the shortest way to Coromandel Town, and there are lots of things to see and do. Allow 3/4 of an hour driving time.


Egan Park.

Egan Park is a large grass and trees area beside the Mahakirau stream; a good place for a picnic and a swim. About 8 km from Whitianga.

The Kauri Grove.

The Kauri Grove is a group of Kauri trees about 1.5 km after the summit. It has been protected from before the turn of the century. There is a carpark on the left of the road, and an easy gravelled walking track in to the bush on the right. It follows the old coach road. These trees are magnificent, with the native bush wonderfully lush and cool and peaceful. It is 7.9 km from the Coromandel Town end of the 309. The walk takes about ten minutes, but you need 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour to appreciate it fully.

To DOC page Other DOC Walks.


Waiau Falls.

Waiau Falls is right beside the road a further 0.6 km down. It is a beautiful bush glade where the Waiau crashes over a rock face, and into a pool below. There are access tracks both upstream and down. Another place for a swim. Allow 1/4 of an hour plus.





Chiltern Reserve.

At 5.8 km from Coromandel Town there is a small National Park in a beautiful valley that a little tributary to the Waiau babbles down. It is called Chiltern Reserve. There is a delightful picnic place just over the bridge, and out of sight of the road. A rough track continues up the stream to a cascade down the bedrock. Regenerating bush. 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour.


Castle Rock.

Castle Rock is an old volcano core that rises above the bush, on the "backbone" of the peninsula. To climb it you leave the 309 road just before you get to Waiau Waterworks, and drive 2 km up through the pine forest. There you set off on foot up a clay road, and then a walking track in the native bush. Some places can be a bit muddy after rain. The last few metres is a scramble up, holding onto bits of tree root and rocks to the top. There is a panoramic view that makes it well worth the effort! The walk takes about 3/4 of an hour up, and 1/2 an hour down. No problems for any fit adult, or child older than about 3 or 4. Allow two hours altogether, and wear appropriate footwear.


Waiau Waterworks.

Waiau Waterworks is well signposted, and it features a whimsical display of sculpture, machines and playthings, all worked by water. There is a huge clock, a pedal powered pump, hydraulic rampumps, waterwheels, kinetic art and many other things. All in a beautiful, peaceful two acre park, with trees and gardens, lawns and ponds. Also a playgroung (for adults!) with an exciting flying fox, picnic grounds, and a tree fringed swimming hole in the river. Shop, toilets. A great place for an hour or two of fun and unique entertainment; something for everyone. Small charge. Open 9am to 5 pm daily throughout the summer.

Harmony Gardens.

The last stop at 1.6 km from the Coromandel Town end is Harmony Gardens. A unique, exquisite private garden, on a beautiful riverbank setting. Not to be missed. Open every day of the summer, 9am to 5pm. Small charge; allow 3/4 of an hour +.

Well, this day trip will certainly fill in your day with wonder! Enjoy.


Last updated on 28 Oct 2004.


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