Overlooking Mahurangi Island on the edge of Mercury Bay, Hahei is a small settlement on the Coromandel Peninsula. It’s on the doorstep of the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve and the Hot Water Beach, as well as the famous Driving Creek Railway’s zig-zag route.
Things to do
Hahei is the gateway to the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve, a magnificent stretch of coast renowned for the Te Hoho rock formation. Follow the walking track from Hahei Beach to Cathedral Cove or explore the snorkelling trail at Gemstone Bay to get up close to marblefish, butterfish and red moki.
Just to the south of Hahei is the famous Hot Water Beach, where spring water heated underground filters up through the sand. Dig your own pool at low tide to bathe in the enticingly steamy waters or stroll along the beach while enjoying views of the Pohutukawa Cliffs and Castle Island.
Stretch your legs along the Shakespeare Cliff to Lonely Bay Walk, which takes in some of the Coromandel Peninsula’s most spectacular vistas. Follow the grassy headland trail through a grove of New Zealand Christmas trees before arriving at a lookout with sweeping views of Mercury Bay.
Ride on the narrow gauge Driving Creek Railway, which traverses tunnels, bridges and viaducts before arriving at the Eyefull Tower summit station. Departing from the outskirts of Coromandel, it tackles five reversing points as it zigzags up the hill, then reaches a summit with a wildlife sanctuary and sculpture park.
Hahei is around 2.5 hours’ drive from Auckland and Auckland International Airport. The town is easy to explore on foot, but having your own vehicle is best for visiting the surrounding sights.