The Coromandel Ranges back Whangamata (fahng-a-ma-ta), another harborside town, with a population of around 3,500. Once a town of modest houses, it's been discovered by city people wanting to work remotely from the beach, and some mighty big homes have now been constructed here. The harbor, surf beaches, mangroves, and coastal islands are glorious. In summer, the population more than triples. It's a great spot for deep-sea fishing, and its bar break creates some of the best waves in New Zealand. For classic- and muscle-car enthusiasts, the Whangamata Beach Hop held each year at the end of April is a must-go. You'll see amazing classic cars and listen to some of the best rock-and-roll bands around. In October, British cars and bikes are a feature during the "Brits at the Beach" festival.
There seems to be something about this remote collection of islands that fosters the rare, the fearless, and above all, the weird.More