Spectacular scenery and unique, chalet accommodation make Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort the ideal base for your Coromandel adventures. Located in picture-perfect Pauanui, this beautiful spot combines the treehouse dreams of childhood with the modern needs and luxurious touches of adulthood. To help you #TravelWell in the Coromandel, here’s a look at the Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort.
But first, watch our 2 day trip to The Coromandel here:
Where is the resort located?
You’ll find the Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort located in Pauanui, on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand’s north island. A laid-back holiday town, Pauanui allows access to beautiful beaches, a tranquil harbour and spectacular scenery. It is around 2 hours, 14 minutes drive from Auckland, 50 minutes drive from Hahei where Cathedral Cove is and 47 minutes drive from Hot Water Beach and 45 minutes drive from Thames.
I’ll reference it a few times throughout this post but the Coromandel is a vast region so choosing a spot to stay that’s close to everything to see and do is impossible. Instead, it’s best to find a spot you really want to stay and be prepared to enjoy the scenic drives between destinations dotted across the landscape.
How to get to the Coromandel
Located in the North Island of New Zealand, the Coromandel is around 2 1/2 hours drive from Auckland. It is the perfect addition to a New Zealand road trip itinerary or a great extension to a visit to Auckland (Read: How to spend 2 days in Auckland here).
Overseas visitors will most likely want to travel to Auckland by plane. Visiting from Australia, we flew direct from Brisbane Airport to Auckland Airport with a flight time of 3 hours. We opted to fly with Qantas as they allowed 30kg of checked luggage and an in-flight meal.
On arrival at Auckland Airport we collected our hire car from GO Rentals. The Coromandel Peninsula extends 85 kilometres (53 miles) north from the western Bay of Plenty and with that much space to explore, a car is essential. We opted for a small SUV (Toyota RAV4) owing to our 3 1/2 week road trip through the north and south islands, though a small car would be fine too. The GO App allowed us to complete check-in before we departed home, making our vehicle pick-up fast and easy! Find GO Rentals here.
Pro Tip: Stay connected with a local sim card from SimsDirect. Get your sim card before leaving home, ensuring you’re able to ‘check-in,’ navigate and find great things to do on the go!
What are the chalets like?
Traditional hotels usually feature one main building, with rooms spread out across a number of floors. Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort embraces its idyllic position, nestled into the foothills of Mount Pauanui, with chalet accomodation spread out across the grounds.
Chalets are semi-detached in blocks of two with each standalone set positioned perfectly in the bushland. After checking-in at the main building, which houses reception, dining and a range of other facilities, guests can opt to park their car and have the buggy help them to their chalet or drop their bags at the chalet themselves then park. Some of the chalets are on steep slopes so I’d recommend contacting the hotel prior to booking as they’ll be able to point out the most accessible and appropriate chalets for you.
We stayed in chalet 39, one of the resort’s Rimu Chalets. The boardwalk leading to each chalet sets the tone for a stay among the treetops, making you feel as though you’re on your way to a luxury treehouse sure to make your inner child happy. Inside, raked timber ceilings create an open and earthy space with a cosy sofa and additional armchair providing additional seating options.
The king sized bed sits in the middle of the room, adorned with comfortable pillows and warm bedding to keep you toasty in the cooler months. Sliding doors allow the generous-sized bathroom to open into the space or closed off for privacy. Under floor heating, a heated towel rack and large bathtub perfect for two, combined with a seperate shower, are luxurious and functional touches.
A private deck adorned with wooden table and chairs make for the ideal spot to sit and unwind. Our itinerary kept us out and busy during the day so, sadly, we didn’t get to enjoy the deck properly. I would have loved to have sat out there, listening to the sounds of water trickling by and wildlife chattering while enjoying a cup of tea and some local sweet treats.
What facilities does the hotel have?
The most unexpected thing about our stay at Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort was the food at the onsite restaurant, Miha, led by Head Chef, Bhimsen Pakhrin. I’ll be honest, hotel restaurants can be hit and miss and if you find yourself needing a meal of an evening only to wander up to the hotel restaurant to find it’s a dud, it can be frustrating. I generally wouldn’t restrict myself to just eating at a hotel but Miha is the exception to that rule.
Miha totally and completely exceeded any and all expectations Matt and I had. The exceptional quality and flavour of the food combined with fantastic service make it a dining destination worth visiting whether you’re staying at the resort or not. We both thoroughly enjoyed each and everything we ate at Miha. In fact, Matt declared his steak one of the best he has ever eaten. It was so good, he ordered it two nights in a row. I cannot rave about it enough.
In addition to an obscenely good restaurant, the resort offers a range of other facilities including a heated swimming pool, spa and sauna, tennis court, gym, laundry facilities, bicycles and more. We found the staff to be incredibly friendly and helpful, so be sure to reach out to them for help planning your time in the Coromandel or organising activities. They also are able to provide shovels and advice on tide times for visiting Hot Water Beach.
Best things to do in the Coromandel
We spent 2 days and 2 nights in the Coromandel but, honestly, I wish we had one additional full day and night. There’s an abundance of beautiful sites and great activities spread throughout the Coromandel and we found ourselves doing a lot of driving to see them all! Having one extra day and night would’ve allowed us to spread our itinerary out and have a little more time to slow down the pace and soak it all in so, if you can, allow for 3 full days at a minimum.
We filled our days with a mix of activities combining spectacular natural scenery, great food, local culture and talented artisans and unique experiences you just can’t have anywhere else. Watch our YouTube video guide at the top of this post and on the Little Grey Box YouTube channel to see more of the hotel and watch our itinerary unfold. You can also get more inspiration and read all about 9 of the best things to do in the Coromandel here: Your Ultimate Guide to The Coromandel.
The thing I love most about the Coromandel is the scenery. The jagged coastline, white sand beaches and sparkling blue water. The dense greenery, winding mountain roads and wild terrain. It would be such a shame to visit somewhere so beautiful and find yourself stuck inside a cookie-cutter hotel room that disconnects you from it all.
Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort works in harmony with its surroundings, ensuring you never feel like you’re missing a single thing. Whether you’re eating breakfast at the restaurant, enjoy the views of the Pacific Ocean, relaxing on the private deck with a good book or simply walking to your chalet, you’re always surrounded by beautiful scenery.
I mentioned at the start of this post the importance of choosing a spot you want to stay, rather than trying to find one in close proximity to everything in the Coromandel. For me, Puka Park Resort was just that. It would be the perfect, romantic escape for a couple looking to enjoy the region together and have an unforgettable holiday and a place I know my family would enjoy. Book Grand Mercure Puka Park here.
Our two-night stay was generously hosted by Destination Coromandel. All opinions are, as always, authentically our own.
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