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December 2017 Issue
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Coromandel Walkway, Coromandel Forest Park

The shepherd’s hut had a view to Sugar Loaf Rocks. Photo: George Driver
Distance
10km each way
Total Ascent
786m
Time
Fletcher Bay to Poley Bay, 1hr, Poley Bay to Stony Bay, 2.5hr
Grade
Easy/Moderate
Access
Fletcher Bay or Stony Bay campsites
Map
AZ34
GPX File
Coromandel Walkway (gpx, 33 KB)
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Peninsula getaway

Tracking the coastline at the top of the Coromandel Peninsula, the Coromandel Walkway has spectacular views out to Little Barrier and Great Barrier, and winds through lush native forest and farmland.

With four DOC campsites at the end of the peninsula, the walk is a great addition to a weekend getaway.

The track offers a one hour walk to Poley Bay, or for a longer trip, the full track is a seven hour return trip, which could be completed as a two-day loop by staying at the beachside DOC campsites at Stony Bay or Fletcher Bay.

Starting from the Fletcher Bay campsite, the trail soon heads over a small hill, providing views over the campsite and onto a number of beaches heading out to the Sugar Loaf headland (220m). It continues through farmland with manuka scrub before ascending another ridge, with views out to the Jurassic Park-like Sugar Loaf Rocks at the end of the peninsula.

A small stream runs through lush forest to Poley Bay. Photo: George Driver

Just over the ridge is an old shepherd’s hut, which was built in the 1930s, using materials from a house which was demolished on the beachfront below. It housed farmhands, to save them walking back to the homestead at Stony Bay. The trail itself is an old bridle trail, linking the two bays.

The trail continues into another sheltered valley and through verdant forest, with mature puriri, nikau and pohutukawa, descending to the sheltered Poley Bay. The bay features interesting rock forms on either side and is an excellent lunch spot. Diving gannets suggest there is also good fishing to be had.

From Poley Bay, you can continue to the DOC site at Stony Bay. The trail to Stony Bay follows the coastline and includes a lookout point and a sidetrack to Shag Bay. You can then return on the Stony Bay Mountain Bike Track, which follows a steep and slippery stock route across farmland and through regenerating forest, or retrace your route back to Fletcher Bay.

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