The New Zealand Walks for Wimps series provides essential information about short, relatively easy hikes around New Zealand. Today we are taking a short jaunt up the Fantail Bay Track near the Northern end of the Coromandel Peninsula. Click on the map markers and links on the right for more great easy NZ walks!
Nearest town: Coromandel Town
Type of track: there and back
Official distance: 3 km return
Official time: 1 hour return
Jenny’s time: about 1:15
Toilets: at the Fantail Bay Campsite
Tips: Look for the track on your right, just up the hill in the trees as you enter the campground. It’s actually fairly obvious but I wandered around a bit before I found it!
I kept climbing, up, up and up the steep grassy Fantail Bay track until I was so high on the hill that the water looked smooth below me. I was out of breath and my legs were protesting but I kept going, thinking that the view from the top would be the perfect reward for this short but punishing climb.
Then I reached the end of the track. In a forest.
A fence blocked my way, a sign tacked to it proclaiming that this was the end of the track.
I couldn’t see a thing. No spectacular vista of blues and greens, no nice spot to sit and have a snack at the top. Just trees.
I continued along the fence line, where clearly others had explored in the hopes of finding a nice spot for a picture or at least a sit-down. But there was nothing.
In retracing my steps I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Just because the trail ended in a forest didn’t mean that there weren’t spectacular views.
Walking just a couple hundred metres back along the track I emerged from the forest into the sunshine. I realized I’d just had my back to the scene on the way up and had been focusing on slogging up the hill instead of taking pictures of the rolling green hills and coastline.
So I took my time on the way down, camera in hand, taking picture after picture and marveling at how high up I’d actually gotten in such a short time and how steep the hill I was on actually was.
And the next day, on my way back down the peninsula I stopped in Fantail Bay again to watch the sunset. Gorgeous.
There is a DOC campground at Fantail Bay if you wish to stay the night, which I recommend. It’s an incredibly beautiful and peaceful spot. The Fantail Bay Track begins from the South side of the campground, near the entrance. Look for a gate and sign.