Getting Oriented in the Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty
The Coromandel and Bay of Plenty regions are about two to three hours southeast of Auckland and west of the Waikato farming district and are a mix of rugged and forested hill country and rich plains used for horticulture. They are about a seven- to nine-hour drive from Wellington and one to two hours from Hamilton and Rotorua. Many of the Coromandel's small settlements are based on former ports, established to transport logs in earlier days, when the forests were milled. Bay of Plenty, with its strong horticultural focus, is dotted with small rural towns fanning out from Tauranga's large port. You can fly over or take a boat to see an active marine volcano on White Island off the coast of Whakatane. The steaming fissures are dramatic whether viewed by sea, air, or standing on the marine volcano itself.
- The Coromandel. The Coromandel Peninsula beckons from the Hauraki Plains like a big lizard lying in the sun—the dark forest on the central mountainous spine promising more than just pretty pictures. When you arrive at the peninsula you'll be surprised how lush the forest growth is, wonder at how the road hugs the coast literally feet above the water, and understand why people like living here.
- The Bay of Plenty. People refer to the Bay of Plenty as New Zealand's food bowl—as in plenty of food. Some of the most fertile land for fruit and vegetables is found in the region, and seafood is abundant.
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