North Island trips

Pacific Coast Highway

6 Days
1170km
728mi

Route

Auckland Central to Napier

Highlights

  • Beaches & wineries
  • Active volcano
  • Untouched rainforest

Best time of year

All year

Experience every kind of seaside scenery on this epic coastal journey, from Auckland to Napier, otherwise known as the Pacific Coast Highway. The trip takes you off the beaten track to some of the North Island's most beautiful and remote coastal areas.

Around the Firth of Thames, on your way to the old gold town of Coromandel, you’ll see peaceful beaches and picturesque bays. On the other side of the peninsula, surf washes onto fine white sand - dig your own spa pool at geothermal Hot Water Beach. The lifestyle city of Tauranga is nice for a night before you move onto Whakatane, where an active volcano steams offshore.

After the friendly settlements of East Cape, you’ll arrive in the Chardonnay town of Gisborne. Take a detour to the untouched forest of Urewera National Park.l Napier is your final destination – enjoy the architecture and the wine.

Day 1

Auckland - Whitianga

2 hrs

36 mins

203 km

127 mi

Auckland

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 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.

Auckland city from Mt Eden

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.

Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

End in Whitianga

From Whitianga you can enjoy the beaches and boat excursions of Mercury Bay. This town is home to a fishing fleet - expect great seafood!

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