The Coromandel Peninsula - Introduction
Why the Coromandel?
The Coromandel is a scenic peninsular bounded by the Hauraki Gulf on one side and the Bay of Plenty on the other. It is not far from Auckland and regarded as one of the beauty spots of the North Island. It has a wide range of lovely bays and broad sandy beaches and the road frequently borders the coastline.
The Coromandel can be a real joy to cycle with clean, safe swimming every few kilometres. The camping grounds are often right on the beach and they can, if you wish, be beautifully isolated. Between the coasts are sealed roads travelling often through thick native bush. The Coromandel Ranges are a bit hilly in parts but I have never heard anyone complain this area was not worth the effort. The views over the sea and valleys are spectacular and some cyclists say this is the best part of their tour of New Zealand.
The route I describe is one that includes the best of the Coromandel with the most suitable touring roads. Bearing this in mind there are side trips to isolated beaches etc. and someone truly smitten with this area could spend many weeks exploring all the side roads, bays, native bush areas and DOC campsites.
Just a note on camping: The Coromandel has probably more 'no camping' signs than anywhere else in New Zealand. Careless campers may inadvertently camp on private or 'tapu' or sacred land, or land belonging to a local Maori tribe. Having said that, if you do wish to free camp ASK the local landowners. Most, if you approach them politely will point out a good spot where you can camp without upsetting anyone.
Downtown Auckland to Papakura Station by Train
I assume you are starting in Auckland and the train south gets you out of Auckland quickly and safely. Once you alight at Papakura station the route to your first camp ground is generally straightforward cycling through farmland and along scenic foreshores. (See notes on trains.) The first campground from Papakura Station is Orere Point (about 40 k). If you start late, then this is a good place to stop for the night. I recommend Miranda however, but this might stretch you a bit at 68k. Some head on to Thames at 88k, but often the train and your first day out can be a bit tiring and you might want to ease yourself into this part of the tour. The following plots towns and bays en route.