Next time you're in the region, be sure to explore these spots ...

1. Paeroa

Once you've taken your photo by the big L&P bottle, head to the other end of town for a fabulous feed at the L&P Cafe. It has its own smaller bottle, plenty of parking for your bikes (Paeroa is a hub of the Hauraki Rail Trail) and the best home baking. Allow plenty of time for antiquing, there's always a treasure with your name on it.

2. Orakawa Bay

If you want to head away from Waihi Beach, check out this track that winds along the coastal ridge, with stunning ocean views and tunnels of native bush. The beach is classic Coromandel — golden sand, pohutukawa trees (although it's safer to leave the swims to Waihi Beach as it is a dumpy surf and not patrolled). Parts of the track may be inaccessible at high tide.

3. Thames

For more gold mining history, head back to the west for great historic walks in a series of Goldfield Era routes around historic buildings, reserves, natural beauty spots and cemeteries. Download the brochures from the website above or pick up at an I-site. And don't miss some great cafes on the main drag, or fresh fish and chips at the wharf on the way into town.

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4. Waihi Beach

Worth the trip over for the fantastic Waihi Beach Hotel, last summer's addition to the Hip Group's impeccable stable of eateries. Or join the summer playground at the beach with 9km of sweeping white sand and surf. There are summer surf schools, boogie boarding or kayaking.