Holidaying in Coromandel Town
Navigating different family customs and traditions with the families of your grandchildren isn’t always easy when they holiday in your home together. One lot of early risers are up at the crack of dawn for an early swim, while the other family moan and groan and cover their ears while trying to sleep till at least 8am. My son leaves his children to be as independent as possible (which involves them making their own breakfast and not clearing up afterwards), while another sibling stressfully helicopters around her children, worried they might set the house on fire while attempting to make toast.
This year our chippie son, built a doggie agility course and set it up in the backyard for the 4 (yes 4!) visiting dogs to play on! This was a massive hit with kids, adults and dogs alike.
“I’m bored – What are we going to do today?”
Once Christmas Day is over, the most dreaded question a grandparent can hear, at regular three-minute intervals is, “What are we going to do today?” I’m not stupid – I know when I need help, so off I trotted to the Coromandel Information Centre to get advice.
Free family friendly attractions:
I was surprised by how many there are.
· The Coromandel Mining and Historic Museum has no entry charge for children and plenty of things to look at and do. While I was there, a family from Wellington were exploring the exhibits and really enjoying learning about the early history of Coromandel Town. They were even able to paint specially marked rocks to take back to Wellington. Their next stop was to feed the eels under the bridge on Albert Street.
· For those who bought bikes on holiday, a must visit is the Coromandel Town bike park. It is a professionally created course with a variety of options from a small, sealed track for toddlers, a rubbery surfaced trick track for BMX fans, a dirt track with multiple jumps and corners for thrill seekers and a mountain bike track of several kilometres for those who enjoy a ride in the bush. And it’s free!
· This track closely follows the Harray Walking Track which starts in Coromandel Town, winds its way up the Kauri block, climbs through farmland and bush-clad hills and ends up at a great waterhole at the Rings Rd gate (opposite Buffalo Road). It takes about an hour and a half to walk one way.
· A swim at one of the nearby beaches is welcome. Try Long Bay, Wyuna Bay or Oamaru Bay, all within a 10 minute drive of Coromandel shops. Two hours either side of full tide is the best time to swim, but there is plenty to explore and discover around the rocks when the tide is low. *
· Long Bay has the additional attraction of the Kauri walk. This short loop takes you through beautiful bush up to a huge kauri tree. I’m always amazed at both its size and how close it is to town. It’s a miracle it has survived for so long.
For exhausted grandparents, it’s probably time for a coffee, so stop in at the café adjacent to James Reserve and the Info Centre. Buy yourself a flat white and watch your grandchildren play on the free outdoor games provided by Weta Café, while you take a well-well-deserved rest. Walk up the main street a bit further and check out the playground in front of Hauraki House and then pop in and look at the free art exhibit which features creations by many of the local Coromandel artist community.
309 Water holes:
If you are driving here via the 309 Rd there are at least three good waterholes, a waterfall, the WaterWorks and of course the famous 309 Pigs to visit. Come on over and check it out. I love having my grandchildren visit me up here, but right now I’m waving then goodbye and planning to put my feet up for a well-earned Nana nap!