Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through & make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
Kuaotunu is a small beach town located in the Coromandel Peninsula. It’s midway between Whitianga and Coromandel Town and it is well worth visiting. The beaches are gorgeous and the town is quiet and peaceful, making it the perfect place to relax and get away from it all.
Plus, there are plenty of things to do and see in the Kuaotunu area, so you’ll never be bored. Here is your ultimate guide on what to do and where to stay when you visit Kuaotunu.
Why you should travel to Kuaotunu, New Zealand?
Kuaotunu is a popular holiday destination and it’s easy to see why. The nearby beaches are some of the most beautiful in New Zealand, and the small town has a really laid-back vibe.
If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all and recharge, Kuaotunu is the perfect spot. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. It’s one of my favourite spots in the Coromandel Peninsula!
10 best things to do in Kuaotunu
1. Visit Kuaotunu Beach
One of the best things to do in Kuaotunu is obviously to visit the beach! Kuaotunu Beach is absolutely stunning, and it’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or just taking a stroll along the long stretch of white sand.
The beach also has an estuary which is great for paddleboarding in, it even flows through the local campground!
2. Go fishing
Fishing is a popular activity in Kuaotunu and there are plenty of spots to fish from the shore. Otherwise, if you’re lucky enough to have access to a boat, the ramp can be found at the northern end of the beach.
3. Swim at Otama Beach
Otama Beach is a stunning secluded beach, often a bit quieter than Kuaotunu Beach if you happen to be visiting during the peak of summer.
It’s still a popular spot though and it’s easy to see why, the water is crystal clear and perfect for swimming while the sand is soft and golden.
The water also gets deep pretty quickly so you don’t have to walk out very far before you can dive under the waves. Super refreshing on a hot summer’s day!
Pohutukawa trees line the beach and create the perfect bit of shade on those hot sunny days.
Down the far end of the beach, you’ll find the Otama Beach Swing which makes for a great photo spot. It’s super easy to spend the entire day here, it’s so gorgeous you won’t want to leave!
4. Grab a meal at Luke’s Kitchen
Luke’s Kitchen Kuaotunu has worked up a pretty good name for itself. The food is delicious, the staff are great and the location couldn’t be better – the beach is right across the road.
In summer if you sit outside you can watch the sunset and if you’re lucky, there’ll be some live music on the weekends.
Don’t be surprised if you see a line stretching outside the restaurant of people waiting for tables. It really is that popular! The staff are so efficient however, that the line does move pretty quickly. The delicious food and the awesome atmosphere are worth the wait anyway!
5. Enjoy the view from Black Jack Road
Black Jack Road is a must-do when you’re in Kuaotunu. Take a drive to see the 180-degree views of Mercury Bay.
There are some parts of the road where you can pull over to really take in the view. We stopped to eat lunch here one day!
Keep driving a little bit further along this road and that’s when you’ll come across Otama Bay and Opito Bay.
6. Explore Opito Bay
Opito Bay is the next bay along from Otama and you could argue that it’s even more beautiful. The calm turquoise water is just breathtaking.
You can easily soak up the sun and lose track of time here. The ocean is calm and perfect for swimming, stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking.
The gentle slope of the sand makes Opito Bay a very safe beach as the water doesn’t get deep too quickly. It also means the water is lovely and warm in the summer.
This is another spot you’ll want to spend the entire day at!
7. Walk around to Crayfish Bay
Once you’ve had enough of lounging around at Optio Bay, you may as well make the walk across to Crayfish Bay. The track only takes 10 minutes and it’s well worthwhile, I promise!
Crayfish Bay is a lot more secluded than Opito. It’s such a beautiful spot, especially when the pohutukawa trees are in bloom.
Be sure to walk around the rocks, the views are pretty stunning and if you’re feeling brave enough, jump off the cliff and into the ocean down below.
There are metal rails fixed to the rocks so you can climb back up and jump all over again, or alternatively just swim back into shore.
8. Book a tour with the local astronomer
The coromandel night sky is gorgeous. Kuaotunu is one of the best places to stargaze as there’s very little light pollution.
Starting on the spacious elevated observation deck, you’ll learn about the different constellations and bright stars. Then you’ll learn about how the stars and planets move in the sky.
9. Enjoy an ice cream at the local dairy
Now before you dismiss this too quickly, you should know the local dairy is famous for the Killer Kuaotunu Icecream.
What better way to cool down after spending a hot summer’s day at the beach?!
10. Explore the local bush walks
The Waitaia loop track is worth doing when in the Kuaotunu area. It’s an easy 2-kilometre-long loop walk that takes you through some of the native bush.
There are some steep steps along the way which can be a little difficult to navigate so bear this in mind when planning your trip.
The walk itself is lovely, the area is known as a safe haven for birds and is part of the Project Kiwi Kuaotunu Kiwi Sanctuary.
How to get to Kuaotunu
Kuaotunu is located on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, in the Coromandel Peninsula. The closest major city is Auckland, which is about a two and a half hour drive away.
If you’re coming from Auckland, the best way to get to Kuaotunu is to rent a car and drive. The drive is beautiful and it’s a great way to see more of the country.
Once you’re in Kuaotunu, the town is so small you may find you can walk to the town and certainly the beach, depending on where your accommodation is located. You will definitely need a car however to get out to the likes of Otama and Opito Bay.
The closest larger town is Whitianga, located just under a 20-minute drive away. Here is where you’ll find a supermarket and a range of other stores. It’s best to stock up on food here as there isn’t a supermarket or a Four Square (a small local supermarket) in Kuaotunu.
Where to stay in Kuaotunu
There are a number of options when it comes to Kuaotunu accommodation. You can stay in a lodge, camp in a holiday park or even rent a bach (beach house).
If you’re on a budget, the Kuaotunu Campground is a great option. I’ve stayed here each time I’ve been to Kuaotunu and loved it.
Or if you’ve got a bit more to spend, why not book a holiday home. Being a rather small town you won’t find any hotels or motels here, IMO though, I’d much rather stay in a holiday home!
No matter what your budget is, there’s somewhere to stay in Kuaotunu that will suit you.
Best Kuaotunu Holiday Home Accommodation
1. Kuaotunu Chalets
Kuaotunu Chalets offer comfortable, self-contained accommodation in a beautiful setting. There are three different chalets to choose from which sleep up to 2 or 4 people.
The chalets are located in a private setting amongst the native bush and have all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay. Relax out on the balcony to take in the sea views.
You can even walk from the chalets to a nearby waterfall at night to see the glow worms.
2. Rawhiti Cottage
Rawhiti Cottage is a cosy 1-bedroom cottage with a stunning view. It’s located in the garden overlooking the olive grove with a view out to the sea.
With another single bed in the lounge, the cottage is just the right size to sleep three people.
Being self-contained it has all the amenities you need. The cottage has a kitchenette, lounge and dining area and a private patio with a barbecue.
It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a romantic getaway.
Best Budget Kuaotunu Accommodation
1. Kuaotunu Cabins
Kuaotunu Cabins offer simple, affordable accommodation.
Each cabin has a bathroom, double bed and a small kitchenette with a fridge, microwave and kettle.
There are rental bikes available if you want a break from driving around.
2. Kuaotunu Campground
If you’re on a budget, Kuaotunu Campground is a great place to stay. The park is located right across the road from the beach. There are a number of cabins and campsites available, so you can choose the accommodation that best suits your needs.
One of the most relaxing things about this campground is the estuary that runs through it, you get some epic sunrises here too! So if you’re after a campsite, try score one next to the estuary.
The best time to visit Kuaotunu
Kuaotunu is a great place to visit all year round, but the best time to go is definitely in summer. You’ll be able to make the most of the amazing beaches in the area and enjoy the warm water.
The weather is always better in the summer months (December to February) in New Zealand we tend to have quite long summers as well so even in the shoulder months, if you get a nice sunny day it can be very warm.
It is possible in winter (June to August) to still get some good days but it’ll be quite a different trip compared to travelling here in the summer.
You’ll also find the town to be very quiet so if that sounds more your vibe, don’t let the colder weather hold you back.
What clothes to pack for Kuaotunu
Kuaotunu is a pretty casual place, so you really don’t need to worry about packing too many clothes. You’ll probably spend most of your time at the beach anyway!
I would recommend bringing:
– A few T-shirts or tank tops
– A light jacket or sweater for the cooler evenings
– A pair of shorts or skirts
– A bathing suit
– A hat
– Insect repellent
And that’s it really! Kuaotunu is the perfect place to escape the busyness of other towns. You’ll no doubt fall in love with the rustic, laid-back vibe.
Conclusion: The Ultimate Guide for visiting Kuaotunu 2022
So there you have it, your ultimate guide for Kuaotunu 2022. Kuaotunu is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and just relax. With its stunning beaches, great accommodation and relaxed vibe, you’ll fall in love with this little town.
From stunning beaches to walks through the bush, there’s something for everyone in Kuaotunu. I could easily spend a week here and be very content.
With its relaxed vibe, no doubt you’ll fall in love with this little town too. It’s such a beautiful area of New Zealand.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!