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309 Road Kauri
Kauri Trees

309 Road Mussel Kitchen
Coromandel Mussel Kitchen

Castle Rock
Castle Rock


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309 Road – A fantastic Scenic Drive

It is very scenic, it follows the Mahakirau stream up from State Highway 25, going through farmland, scrub, and native bush. The hill country in this area includes ancient volcanic activity, see the craggy Castle Rock (526m) and then a ‘sister rock’ Pukewhakataratara (394m), just south of Manaia. Once over the summit (306 metres) it meanders down the Waiau Valley, through more bush and pine forest.

The Kauri Grove

The Kauri Grove is a group of Kauri trees about 1.5 km after the summit. It has been protected from before the turn of the century. Kauri trees are famous in New Zealand because of the size they grow to, and their excellent timber. They are now fully protected; the ones in the photo are about 1000 years old. There is a carpark on the left of the road, and an easy gravelled walking track in to the bush on the right.The walk takes about ten minutes, but you need 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour to appreciate it fully.

Waiau Falls (top photo)

Further on up the road it’s only a short walk to the Waiau Falls. It is a beautiful bush glade where the Waiau crashes over a rock face, and into a pool below. There are access tracks both upstream and down. Another place for a swim. Allow 1/4 of an hour plus.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock is an old volcano core that rises above the bush, on the "backbone" of the peninsula. To climb it you leave the 309 road just before you get to Waiau Waterworks, and drive 2 km up through the pine forest. There you set off on foot up a clay road, and then a walking track in the native bush. Some places can be a bit muddy after rain. The last few metres is a scramble up, holding onto bits of tree root and rocks to the top. There is a panoramic view that makes it well worth the effort! The walk takes about 3/4 of an hour up, and 1/2 an hour down. No problems for any fit adult, or child older than about 3 or 4. Allow two hours altogether, and wear appropriate footwear.

Waiau Waterworks

Waiau WaterworksCheck out the Waiau Waterworks, several acres of whimsical water wizardry and gadgetry in a garden setting, with a cafe too. Play and delight in the whimsical and wondrous creations, where you can squirt water from bike powered pumps, do battle with water cannons, ride the flying foxes, play in the mouse wheel, race tiny boats. Smile at Kay’s sculptures, figure out how the water clock works, and enjoy the many other fun things to see and do. 12 min from Coromandel town.
Fun and Funny!

NOTE: The 309 road is in places steep, winding and often unsealed so drive slowly and carefully.


© BLUE WATER MOTEL   |  213 Main Road, Tairua, NZ  |  Phone 0064 (0)7 864 8537  |  Email: bluewatermotel@yahoo.co.nz


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