This range lies 50 miles east of Auckland. In its northern part it is a peninsula that separates the Hauraki Gulf and the Firth of Thames from the Pacific Ocean. Its southernmost extension is usually defined by the Karangahake Gorge through which the Ohinemuri flows from Waihi to Paeroa. Except for the northern-most end, the range consists of volcanic flows of Late Tertiary age. As such, it could be extended 20 miles southwards where it would join the Kaimai Range at the Whakamarama Plateau. Thus defined, the range is roughly elliptical, 90 miles long and 20 miles wide at the centre. The highest peaks would be Te Aroha, 3,126 ft, an eroded volcano near the southern end, and Moehau, 2,926 ft, at its northern end. The western and possibly eastern margins are defined by great earth fractures, hence the very steep western slopes. Most drainage is north-eastwards, the Ohinemuri and Kauaeranga Rivers being the main exceptions.
Rich in minerals, the range has poor access. Old routes are overgrown, the bulk of the range being in virgin or second growth. Nevertheless, even some of the steepest slopes are being converted slowly to pastures. The road between Thames and Coromandel, and the east coast beaches such as Whitianga, Whangamata, and Waihi Beach, are popular scenic and holiday resorts.
The name comes from the naval vessel, Coromandel, which several times visited Hauraki Gulf, the Firth of Thames, and nearby places during the early 1800s for kauri spars and timber. A harbour, a township, a county, and a peninsula on which they are situated, also bear the same name.
by James Cecil Schofield, M.SC., New Zealand Geological Survey, Otahuhu.