Lonely Bay and Cooks beach
This long sandy beach which caught Capt Cook's eye is an ideal place to unwind and explore beautiful Mercury Bay. Cooks Beach is flanked by Shakespeare Cliff to the west and sheltered and picturesque Purangi Estuary to the east. The area boasts some of NZ's oldest history - Capt James Cook sailed on the HMS Endeavour into Mercury Bay in 1769 and made anchor at Cooks Beach off Purangi. Strangely enough he had chosen the same bay that Kupe, the mythical Polynesian explorer had chosen when he first landed in New Zealand calling it Aotearoa. A short distance away at Ferry Landing is one of NZ's oldest Maori pa sites with Kupe, the famous Tahitian explorer & his people setting foot in Whitianga in 950AD. Nearby, Ferry Landing is the oldest stone wharf in Australasia, built in 1837. Ferry passengers can cross the harbour to the attractive township of Whitianga from this historic site. Located between Cooks Beach and Ferry Landing are the sheltered and white, sandy beaches of Front Beach & Flaxmill Bay providing a captivating walk along the water's edge to Shakespeare Reserve. Bush tracks over the reserve lead to a vantage point with memorable views of Mercury Bay and where you can view the Cook Memorial. A highlight of the walk is the walk down to beautiful Lonely Bay - an artist's dream - with its white sand of crushed shells and enormous limestone boulders! Like Capt Cooks once discovered, Cooks Beach is one of Coromandel Peninsula's best kept secrets!