History Of Coromandel

Formed by the steep-sided 80-kilometre long Coromandel Range and its short continuation, Moehau Range, the peninsula's much-indented coastline and general topography affords pleasure to many thousands of visitors annually.

Much of the roading calls for careful attention from drivers, but the rewards include the relaxing and historic goldmining character of Coromandel township and vicinity, the delightful coastal drive to the cliff-top at Cape Colville, the popular holiday resorts of Whitianga, Tairua and Whangamata and the many panoramic views from the high points on the roads, in some cases of both sides of the peninsula at the same point. Almost all of the bush areas now constitute the newly proclaimed Coromandel Forest Park.

The Coromandel region was first visited by Captain James Cook in 1769.

Bill Webster was the first European to settle in the Coromandel region. In the 1830's he deserted from an American whaling ship and set up his trading post on Whanganui Island (which is situated at the entrance to the Coromandel Harbour).

Webster learnt the Maori language and used Maori labour to build small schooners and prepare timber cargoes for the Australian market. At one time the island became the proposed site for the city of Auckland.

From as early as 1795 the huge kauri forests of the Coromandel were milled and used for the British navy ships. The first of the European settlers came to the area in the 1830s.

The Coromandel itself was named after the British Navy ship "H.M.S. Coromandel" which anchored first off Colville on 13th June 1820. The ship stayed in the Hauraki Gulf for 12 months then went back to England with a load of timber.