Matarangi, NZ – Your Insider New Zealand Holiday and Travel Guide Including Tips For Visitors

Mention the Coromandel Peninsula and most people think of Coromandel’s stunning east coast beaches; Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach, Hahei and Whangamata. But at the northern end of the peninsula lies a spectacular smorgasbord of largely unpopulated, unspoiled beaches with pristine white sand so fine it squeaks between your toes. Welcome beach bums to beach heaven starting with the gateway to this north facing coastal playground; Matarangi.

Imagine 4.5 kilometres of sandy white beach, crystal blue sea, gentle surf lapping on the shore and all day sun. Now keep that picture in your head because that’s Matarangi!

Matarangi beach is super safe for kids, making it one of the most popular family destinations on the peninsula. This also means it is the most developed of the northern facing beaches, yet Matarangi is a place very much in touch with the simple things in life. This is a community where life is centred around the general store, where families come year after year to relax and unwind from the stresses of city life.

There’s just enough of those city lifestyle pleasures; an international 18 hole golf course, a licensed restaurant and bar and Piper’s Cafe for those who can’t do without their daily caffeine fix, but not so much that people forget why they came here; to fish, swim, dive, go boating, walk in the many natural reserves or just lie on the beach.

For those who want to experience the holy grail of truly untouched beaches, then you must visit New Chums beach. New Chums is rated among the top beaches in the world by Observer and National Geographic, yet is virtually unknown by most New Zealanders. Forget about driving to this beach because the only way you’ll get here is by foot.

From Matarangi, head north to the far end of Whangapoua Beach, wade across the shallow lagoon then walk 30 minute walk, around coastline, over rocks and past a magnificent grove of Nikau Palms. Then take a huge breath as you prepare to be stunned by this magnificent unspoiled beach paradise lined with overgrown pohutukawa trees; no people, no houses, nothing but sandy white beach and the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Head back to Matarangi and wind your way along Bluff Road, taking some time to stop at Rings Beach, a small settlement of about 20 houses with a fresh water lagoon that’s ideal for kids. Then continue on past the many rocky outcrops (ideal for surf casting) until you reach Kuaotunu. This is quintessential New Zealand; a picturesque country village and sandy white beach, surrounded by native bush and rugged farmland. Kuaotunu Beach is not only a safe swimming beach but is also famous for its surf break off the Blackjack Reef. At Kuaotunu, you’ll enjoy idyllic days sailing, boating snorkelling and water skiing and swimming with dolphins who are regular visitors to the bay.

Blackjack Road is a gravel road that winds its way to two beaches that many feel are the real jewels in a royal treasure trove of beautiful beaches; Otama and Opito Bay. This is where you come to simply enjoy what’s here; the beauty, the privacy and seclusion. This feeling of seclusion is further enhanced at Otama by the broad strip of farmland and bush reserve that goes the length of the beach so there’s no housing near or visible from the beach. Being north facing, it gets all day sun; brilliant sunrises and sunsets and with no city lights and light pollution, the night sky is simply dazzling.

Opito Bay is a sweeping, horseshoe shaped beach, framed by farmland and bush and a necklace of outlying islands. While Otama is known for its surf, Opito Bay is a safe swimming beach and known for its friendly, laid back, family feel and vibe. With no shops or restaurants and very few houses, this is as close as you’ll get to an untouched world that you can reach by car or boat. For a holiday of peace and relaxation, look no further than Opito Bay.

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Pauanui NZ – Your Insider New Zealand Holiday and Travel Guide Including Tips For Visitors

Pauanui is a place that hums. It’s partly due to the influx of summertime visitors that boost the local resident population from 1,200 to 12,000; and the golden sand beach that’s 4 kilometres long; and the town that packs in fine dining restaurant and casual cafes to just about every sporting and outdoor activity imaginable.

But what makes Pauanui really hum is the sound of private planes buzzing in and out of the airport as Pauanui is a playground for the rich. The Pauanui waterways were the first in NZ; a purpose built community with marinas, apartments, residential homes, private berths and its own private beach.

But Pauanui is more than just a holiday spot for the rich and famous. This is a place where everyday people have been coming to for years to enjoy the sea, surf, sun and lifestyle. That’s the great thing about Pauanui; the lifestyle, as Pauanui caters for everyone whether you arrive by plane or combi van. Park up your car and jump on your bike (or hire one) as the compact size of Pauanui means cycling is the perfect mode of transport to get around this beachside resort.

The first place to start is the beach. 4 kilometres of golden sand that’s not only safe for swimming but has some great surf spots. This is also an excellent beach for walking, running and biking and at the southern end of the beach, there’s also wheelchair access. Stretching the length of the beach is a wide grass area with lots of trees, ideal for picnics or for getting some shade from sun.

The Pauanui community love visiting families and have pulled out all the stops to make Pauanui a fun place for kids. The skate park is a favourite hangout for skateboarders and roller bladders to pull tricks with nearby outdoor basketball courts to shoot some hoops. There are 16 tennis courts around Pauanui, all accessed by a placing a token in a honesty box. Kite flying, kids cricket and touch rugby are favourite activities at Kennedy Park. Pauanui’s Mini Golf course was opened in 1975 and is as popular as ever with families. Head to Tairua Harbour (which lies between Pauanui and Pauanui’s twin resort Tairua) and there’s boating, fishing, windsurfing, jet skiing and kayaking. You can also take the kids on a ferry trip across the harbour to visit Tairua, a picturesque village and beach resort with a laid back, relaxed ambience.

However, Pauanui doesn’t forget the adults. There’s two 9 hole golf courses and the magnificent Lakes Resort 18 hole golf course. The climb to the top of Mt Pauanui is not for the faint hearted but worth it for the incredible 360o views. Then treat yourself (after that climb you know you’ve earned it) with a visit to the Grand Mecure Puka Park Resort. Miha Restaurant is highly recommended by the locals and renowned for its fine cuisine. Surrounded by lush plants and trees, dine alfresco on the large outdoor deck and really feel like you’re on holiday. Or indulge yourself at Puka Park’s spa complex. Soak in the spa pool, relax in the sauna or spoil yourself with a nature’s touch facial or treatment.

For something that’ll really get your heart racing, head to the airport and go tandem ski diving. This is an incredible way to see Pauanui and one you’ll never forget. If staying inside a plane is more to your liking, then take one of the regular scenic flights and get a bird’s eye view on Pauanui and the Coromandel. Back on the ground, head to Johnasen’s Adventures for clay shooting and try your hand (you’ll probably need both) at the confidence course.

Like everything else, food is also something that Pauanui does really well. Head straight for the Pauanui shopping centre as it’s all here; from great shopping to fabulous dining.

For the coffee hounds, your first stop is Chocolate Pretzel as it has the best coffee in town. Like its name, this place is a real delight with indoor/outdoor seating and a lovely casual dining atmosphere. If you’re feeling hungry, then look no further than the melt in your mouth salmon frittata.

For something cheap and cheerful, a visit to the 19th hole is a must. Popular for its light meals and pizzas, the 19th Hole sparks up at night with big screen TVs for watching live sport, poker nights and live music.
Styles Restaurant and Bar is the place for evening dining. With an a la carte menu and outdoor BBQ and garden bar, locals recommend Styles for its fish, lamb and chicken dishes.

There’s so much to do in Pauanui, it’s easy to see why people come back here year after year and never go anywhere else. So come and visit Pauanui and see what makes this such a great place.