There’s a place, on a peninsula called Coromandel, for magical picnics and roadside stops. And there’s a famous cafe right there on the highway, across from the picnic spot, with a spread of classic kiwi baking, tremendous coffee and lots more.
At times it’s been tough, through this part of the peninsula over our summer, with storms taking the road into the sea. It’s been a tough time, thanks to Mother Nature, for many of New Zealand’s coastal residents and businesses right through the country. And here there are road crews working hard in restoration and, as some of the Coromandel’s travellers, we are immensely grateful for that restoring work.
A perfect picnic
You’re a few kilometres north of Thames, heading up the Coromandel, this North Island eastern peninsula, an easy distance from many main centres.
On the western side, where you’ll find Waiomu Bay, it’s known as the Pōhutakawa Coast. It’s an extraordinarily beautiful coastline all year round. In the summer, stunning crimson flowers lead the drive north up the coast. In the winter, the trees are equally majestic, framing the view out to sea and providing a treat of a view around each corner.
Stop in at Waiomu, meaning water or stream of Mu. It’s been called the gateway to the Coromandel. It’s a tremendous place for a thermos stop, a beautiful picnic spot.
A famous cafe
And just across the highway from this lovely reserve and the sea, you’ll find another treasure, the Waiomu Beach Cafe. From the cafe there are more magic views of the Firth of Thames and the splendid pōhutukawa trees along the coast road. What a location.
Visit for a cup of tea and fabulous ginger slice, the perfect pick-me-up after being on the road.
Or what about a wonderful selection of baked cakes, pastries and other goods, all made on site. And there’s a plated lunch menu too. How does a summer tomato and basil soup sound? The hard job is choosing what to have…
One day we called in, the sign outside said that difficult roads led to beautiful destinations. And, we’d add, divine ginger slice. It was certainly worth the journey.
And a reason to stop
The cafe is a favourite with the locals and travellers passing through to enjoy the stunning peninsula.
The Waiomu Beach Cafe team is a friendly delight. And, right there, the team makes those cakes, slices and famous signature scrolls, beautifully displayed under the hanging net, all local and organic ingredients where possible.
There’s a great feeling of that local seasonal produce - citrus off nearby trees, neighbourly deliveries of plums - and community. And there’s no greater feeling of community than when the road is threatened by the sea, and the road crews are out to get the roads working again. Pulling together, you get the feeling that’s what happens around here.
That’s the sort of cafe we love. Enjoy a delicious coffee sitting on the front verandah, raised and in view of the reserve and sea. And count yourself lucky.
So thank you, Waiomu Beach Cafe. And thanks, too, to all New Zealand’s magical rural and seaside cafes, and all those people who work really hard there, in sometimes slightly isolated spots, and sometimes when nature’s might is bearing down. What an amazing job you do, offering the rest of us a chance to enjoy some fabulous New Zealand food.
And for more….
For more on what to find and enjoy on North Island travels, including treasures in the Coromandel, explore food treasures on our North Island Food Travel Guide app - click here. You’ll find more delightful coffee stops and eateries, artisan producers, and a whole lot more.