Coromandel brunch spots with a side of outdoor adventure
Start your day with a hearty brunch at the best cafes on the Coromandel Peninsula. After you’ve fueled up and planned your next move, spend the rest of the day tackling the area’s best outdoor activities. Hiking, biking and kayaking are all on offer, or you have the option of taking on the thrilling driving creek ziplines near the town of Coromandel.
There’s certainly a hint of Australia’s second-largest city in the cosmopolitan setting of this airy café in historic Grahamstown, on the River Thames. High ceilings and brick walls reinforce the building’s past as a bus depot, and brunch menu highlights include fruit and yogurt granola, salmon hash cakes, and egg breakfasts. Later in the day, take part in the challenging Pinnacles hike (an overnight stay in the DOC’s Pinnacles cabin is recommended) or embark on easier, shorter hikes in the Kauaeranga Valley of the Coromandel Forest Park.
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Town of Coromandel
Wharf Road Cafe
Topped with creamy labneh and topped with a spicy kick of chilli oil, Wharf Road’s cilbir (Turkish eggs) are a great way to start the day. Soak up the Coromandel sunshine in the back yard before making the short drive to Driving Creek on the outskirts of town. Ride the quirky bush railway – including views of Auckland from the ‘Eyefull Tower’ – or soar on Driving Creek’s thrilling series of ziplines along a hill surrounded by native forest in regeneration.
Fuel up with Weta’s hearty breakfast – including a mini-heaven of hash browns, mushrooms and sourdough toast – or load up your backpack with selections from the excellent coffee counter. Active options with Hike & Bike Coromandel include traversing the Coromandel Coastal Walkway at the northern end of the peninsula, or hiring an e-bike to negotiate forest and farmland on the Tokatea Trail linking Coromandel town to Colville, even more sleepy.
Coghill House Cafe
This long-established Whitianga favorite also offers great counter fare – including legendary pies and daily muffin specials – and the stack of pancakes with bacon and seasonal fruit will see you through the longest day exploring the peninsula. Rent a bike from The Bike Man for the hilly 30km round trip to Hahei – operating the passenger ferry across Whitianga Harbor to Ferry Landing – or book an adventure on the water with Ocean Leopard Tours or Cave Cruzer. The two operators visit Hahei Cathedral Bay and cruise along the dramatic coastline of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve.
Bay of Lin Mill
From Ferry Landing, it’s an easy 1km walk along Flaxmill Bay to Eggscentric Cafe, a sprawling affair with well-established gardens and a local reputation for excellent brunches dating back to 1998. Ask if the poached egg with dukkah on avocado toast is available before you set out on the boardwalk at Shakespeare Cliff Lookout. It’s a decent loop trail of around 3km, and there’s also the option of a steep 15 minute return trail to compact Lonely Bay cove.
Port road project
Cool Scandi-style decor enlivens this versatile Whangamatā cafe, and a popular brunch is their pytti panna, a Swedish-style fried breakfast. After devouring Port Road’s potato, bacon, chorizo, chicken and ham scramble – all served with a fried egg – set off on a guided kayak or paddleboard tour with Surfsup around the wooded profile of Whenuakura (Donut Island). If you want to learn how to surf the (usually) gentler waves of Whangamatā, hook up with the Kiwi-Brazilian team at Surf N Stay.
Equal parts cafe, farm shop and orchard, the Colenso Cafe is proud to support local Coromandel produce. Counter food is available Friday through Monday, and the cafe’s weekend-only breakfast menu includes granola made with organic macadamias sourced from nearby Cathedral Cove Macadamias. Stock up on brittle macadamia before heading to nearby Hahei and the 40-minute rolling walk to the giant coastal arch of Cathedral Cove. For two hours either side of low tide, digging into a natural hot spring pool near Hot Water Beach is also an option.
Flatwhite’s absolute beachfront location overlooking Tūhua (Mayor Island) is a great place to enjoy brunch along Waihī Beach. Chai-flavored porridge or Belgian waffles, both served with mascarpone cream, are sweeter options before heading to the northern end of the beach and tackling the 45-minute walk to the top from a cliff to Orokawa Bay. Access to the bay is only possible on foot or by boat. Visit on a weekday and you’ll likely have Orokawa birdsong and the seaside pōhutukawa tree glade all to yourself.
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