Coromandel is the name of a harbour, township and mountain range all situated on the Coromandel Peninsula which juts its rugged, bush-clad length northwards from the Hauraki Plain and northern Bay of Plenty. It encloses the Hauraki Gulf on the eastern side, and faces the South Auckland coast which runs parallel on the west side of the Gulf.
The name, Coromandel, comes from HMS Coromandel which sailed into the harbour (about 45 km north of Thames which is at the base of the peninsula) in 1820 to take on kauri spars for the Royal Navy, and to take Samuel Marsden to Thames for an overland trip to Tauranga. The peninsula was spectacularly covered with the tall, straight kauris and because of the long coastline, they were especially accessible by sea. The township of Coromandel, 5 km north of Coromandel harbour, the mountain range and the peninsula itself subsequently took on the name of the ship, first bestowed on the harbour.
The township is situated on a fertile flat area — the only one of any extent on the western side of the peninsula. It services small fishing and farming industries, is a favourite summer holiday resort for Aucklanders and in recent years has become an alternative lifestyle haven for craft people, notably potters.