This is the beach lover’s route to Wellington, with a serving of vineyards on the side. Kick off with the urban and marine pleasures of Auckland, then move on to the tranquil bays of the Coromandel coast. Over the ranges you’ll find a series of surf beaches that just doesn’t stop.
After the sunny city of Tauranga, head inland to the geothermal parks of Rotorua. Nip back to the coast to find Opotiki, then begin the memorable journey around the edge of East Cape.
The vineyards of Gisborne, Napier and Hastings should be investigated before you drive on to the heritage and cultural attractions of Wellington.
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, is situated between two enormous harbours and dotted with 48 extinct volcanic cones. It’s a place to enjoy marine adventures, wine trails, forest walks and urban sophistication.
The historic township of Thames was founded during the Coromandel gold rush. It’s a great place for walks – around the town, through the bush and on the mangrove board walk. The mining museum has a fascinating mineralogical collection and there are gold mining relics to discover on many of the bush walks. You can also take the boardwalk through the mangroves to watch seabirds in the Thames Firth.
The road to Coromandel clings to the edge of the coast. You’ll enjoy amazing views and a constant procession of beautiful beaches fringed with Pohutukawa trees.
Formerly a gold-mining and timber town, Coromandel is now a haven for artists, craftspeople and conservationists. It has many well-preserved Victorian buildings and an interesting museum. There are several good walks in the area and a railway enthusiast has created an hour-long train trip at Driving Creek.
The beach town of Whitianga is home to a fishing fleet - expect to eat some excellent seafood while you’re here. Best things to do include surfing, surf casting and beach walks.
Start in Auckland Central
This is the heart of Auckland, with a relaxed Pacific vibe by day and a night-time energy shared by the inner-city suburbs that surround it.
End in Whitianga
From Whitianga you can enjoy the beaches, water sports and boat excursions of Mercury Bay. Expect great seafood and enjoy a forest walk or two.