Onemana is a little known but very charming spot on a very beautiful peninsula. It is a sunny, compact beauty spot and is well worth a visit.
Five or six kilometres along the Coromandel Peninsula road (S.H. 25) north of Whangamata a road sign indicates a right turn off to Onemana and the road indicated seems to disappear into the heart of the Tairua Forest. And so it does, for a sharply winding three kilometres, when dropping down from the crest of the hill the sea and a scatter of houses along a sunlit ridge are glimpsed before the road is swallowed again by the pine forest.
Then suddenly, you burst upon it – lots of houses, sprawling up hilly slopes on either side of the road, an expanse of blue sea and a glimpse of off shore islands. The road winds away and you have to gain the foreshore before the gem of a bay is revealed – lovely golden sands and a curving crescent shaped beach fringed at the south end by an impressive sweep of pohutukawa trees curving down from the clifftop to randomly strewn rocks and at the other end of the crescent (more of a cove than either of the neighbouring Whangamata and Opoutere beaches, but still about a kilometre long) more pohutukawas, a large rocky area, ideal for snorkeling, and pine trees atop a high headland reaching out into the sea. For Onemana is hemmed in by the Tairua pine forest on this side and on its landward side. It was once a sea shore farm, and its developers recognised the potential of its quite steep hills, almost all curving round to the shape of the bay, giving almost all of the 300 odd dwellings here a sea view, or at least a glimpse of the sea. It is from this particular bay that the off shore islands – the Slipper group (Slipper, Penguin and Rabbit islands), the Aldermen Islands and further round, Mayor Island – appear from a particularly appealing perspective.
The settlement sports a well stocked dairy and grocery store, two real estate agents, a restaurant, and a variety of craftspeople. It also has a chalet style motel, condominiums and a few private homestay establishments, a spa pool complex with swimming pool and barbecue areas, two tennis courts and a small children’s playground on its extensive grass reserve bordering the beach. The scene is complete with a small waterfall tumbling from the cliffs towards the northern end of the beach and a fresh water stream piped through from the hills which also flows into the sea. Between this and the grassy reserve is a small native seabird breeding area – much smaller and less official than the beautiful and extensive one on the Wharekawa sandspit at Opoutere, but nevertheless hosting two or three pairs of oystercatchers, many terns and seagulls and two or three pairs of New Zealand dotterel. There is also a sometimes resident pair of elegant blue heron. And when there are fewer people in residence (for many of Onemana’s homes are holiday homes) vacant sections and even cultivated gardens are visited by whole families of Californian crested quail and by elegant cock pheasants.