Colville, a small town in the north of the Coromandel Peninsula in the North Island of New Zealand, lies 26 kilometres north of Coromandel in Colville Bay on the Hauraki Gulf, and is the northernmost town of any note on the peninsula. North of Colville, 28 kilometres of rough road lead to the small settlement of Port Jackson, close to the peninsula’s northwesternmost point, Cape Colville and 20 km to Port Charles on the northeastern side.
The town is the service and social centre for the area, with a co-operatively-owned general store, Postal Delivery Centre, volunteer fire brigade, school, community hall and several houses. Just beyond the town is the beginning of the Te Moehau Range, which forms the bulk of the northern end of the Coromandel Peninsula, and contains valuable ecological areas, including a population of the threatened North Island brown kiwi.
Colville the town took its name from the cape, which Captain James Cook named on November 18, 1769 after Rear Admiral Lord Colville, under whom Cook had previously served (1759-1761) on HMS Northumberland in the Royal Navy. Colville was also known as Cabbage Bay, thought to be in reference to the cabbage trees in the bay.
Colville General Store
Colville township grew following the construction of a general store with a motor garage alongside. This was built by Richard (Dick) Goudie, a local man whose grandparents had settled in Cabbage Bay. Dick Goudie later ran a taxi service from the town, being the first to drive a motor vehicle across the new bridge at Papa Aroha which opened up the northern peninsula from Coromandel. Fossicking for semi-precious stones such as carnelian and for kauri gum are popular activities among tourists visiting the town.
Another member of the Goudie family, John, developed a motor camp a few kilometres north of the town some years later.
The Motukawao Islands lie five kilometres off the coast to the southwest of Colville, in the Hauraki Gulf.