Mussel Barge Snapper Safaris. If you've been in Coromandel for more than five minutes, you'll know mussel farming is big business. Here's your chance to take a closer look, onboard the mussel barge that heads through sheltered waters past offshore islands to these marine farms in the Hauraki Gulf. The large concentration of so much kaimoana (sea food) means the farms are also a hit with the local fish population looking for lunch, mostly snapper and very tasty in their own right! Thus fishing for snapper around the farms can be rewarding—not to mention exciting! There's shelter and a barbecue on board, cruises last about 4 to 5 hours and depart daily at 7 am and 1 pm from Sugar Loaf Wharf, Te Kouma, 7 km (4½ miles) south of Coromandel township. (Be there 15 minutes before sailings.) Cost is NZ$50 for adults; fishing lines available for hire and bait for sale (must be pre-ordered), if you don't have your own. Sugar Loaf Wharf, Te Kouma Rd., Coromandel, Waikato, 3581. 07/866–7667.

Top Catch: Bait, Tackle, Advice. The name says it all. If you're new in town and are hankering for a spot of fishing, start here. These guys can arrange fishing trips with local fishing boats to suit all levels. They also sell all the fishing gear you could need, although they don't hire out equipment—generally, that is arranged through the fishing boats. They're also keen, opening from 6 am most days. Advice is given freely, although it may be—by proprieter Wayne's own admission—dodgy. And although this might be one of a national chain of fishing shops, the knowledge is definitely local. 2 Kapanga Rd., Coromandel, Waikato, 3506. 07/866–7397. Open daily in summer (end of Oct. to end of Apr.), in winter Wed.– Sun.


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