Pacific Coast Highway

5 - 6 DAYS

Caractéristiques

  • Whales and Dolphins
  • Cathedral Cove
  • White Island

Proximity

  • By car: Total driving time 11 hrs
  • By : Total distance 800 kms

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  • Pacific Coast Highway

Experience a holiday of refreshing relaxation, geothermal attractions and every kind of seaside scenery as you travel the epic Pacific Coast Highway, from Auckland to Whakatane.

Day 1: Auckland

Auckland
Encounter dolphins, Auckland

By Camilla Rutherford

Caractéristiques

  • Whale watching and marine life
  • Fly above the forest canopy on a zipline
  • Visit world-class vineyards

Proximity

  • By ferry: 35 minutes
  • By : Downtown Auckland to Waiheke Island

With its picturesque harbour and bountiful islands, Auckland is the perfect place to start a coastal holiday.

Island hopping is a favourite pastime for Auckland ‘boaties’ and it's easy to see why, the region is simply littered with islands. Wind your way through the Hauraki Gulf on a whale and dolphin-watching cruise as you discover some of the gulf's friendly wildlife.

The most accessible of Auckland's islands is Waiheke, also known as the ‘island of wine’ for its numerous award-winning wineries. Indulge your taste buds with a delicious food and wine tour or for something a little more adventurous, try flying through the forest canopy on a zipline.

Day 2: Coromandel

Coromandel
Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

By Alistair Guthrie

Caractéristiques

  • Explore the world famous Cathedral Cove
  • Snorkel Orua sea cave
  • Dig your own hot pool at Hot Water Beach

Proximity

  • By car: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • By : Auckland to Cathedral Cove

Coromandel Peninsula, is home to some of the North Island's most spectacular natural sights, including the world famous Cathedral Cove, featured in the film Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Here the soft white rock has eroded away to create a magnificent archway connecting two secluded coves. A rocky island pinnacle completes the picture making it one of the Coromandel's most photogenic spots.

Not far from Cathedral Cove, you will find Hot Water Beach. Dig down into the sand a little way and create your own seaside bath from the rising natural spring that resides beneath the surface.

As you continue on to Whangamata, stop to take a kayak tour of Whenuakura Island. This unusual island contains a tranquil lagoon at its centre, due to the collapse of a volcanic blowhole. 

Day 3: Tauranga

Bay of Plenty
Sunrise on Mt Maunganui, Bay of Plenty

By Bay of Plenty Tourism

Caractéristiques

  • Mount Maunganui - voted NZ's best beach
  • Cycle the Hauraki Rail Trail
  • Evening kayaking with glowworms

Proximity

  • By car: 3 hrs 30 mins
  • By : Coromandel to Tauranga

Journey down the peninsula to Thames where you will find one of New Zealand's Great Cycling Trails. Following a historic railway route from Thames to Waihi, the Hauraki Rail Trail is rich with gold mining history and stunning scenery. One highlight is the spectacular Owharoa Falls.

Your next stop is the sunny city of Tauranga. Learn more about this favourite kiwi holiday spot with a guided tour of Mount Maunganui. Enjoy hearing local Maori legends as you wander from the mountain's base to its summit.

Alternatively, spend the afternoon on board a boat cruise meeting the Bay of Plenty's friendly marine life and exploring the region's many secluded islands.

Day 4: Whakatane (White Island)

Bay of Plenty
White Island, Bay of Plenty

By Tourism New Zealand

Proximity

  • By car: 1 hr 10 mins
  • By : Tauranga to Whakatane

Caractéristiques

  • White Island volcanic tours
  • Maori historical sites
  • Dolphin and seal nature tours

DISCOVER WHITE ISLAND

Learn more about New Zealand's only active marine volcano.

More about White Island

Wake up early to watch the sunrise from Mount Maunganui, before driving the short distance to Whakatane. Here you will join a thrilling scenic tour to White Island, New Zealand's only active marine volcano. Sitting just 49km off the coast, White Island is one of the world's most accessible active volcanoes. Step out on the volcano's surface and get up close to roaring steam vents, bubbling mud pools, boiling streams and a lake of steaming acid. The guides will give you a taste of the island's rich geological and human influenced history.

After your volcanic encounter return to Tauranga for the night, and spend the evening kayaking through a canyon alight with twinkling glowworms. A perfect end to the day.

Day 5: Rotorua

Rotorua
Naturally Hot Kerosene Creek, Rotorua

By @petiteloudy

Caractéristiques

  • Soak in hot pools at Kerosene Creek
  • Ride the Redwood mountain biking trails
  • Maori cultural performances at Te Puia

Proximity

  • By car: 1 hr 20 mins
  • By : Whakatane to Rotorua

From the Bay of Plenty, continue your journey inland towards Rotorua. Take a detour at Kerosene Creek and spend the morning soaking in natural hot pools surrounded by beautiful native forest.

If you're into mountain biking you can't go past Rotorua's Whakarewarewa Forest. Known to most simply as the 'Redwoods', this forest boasts world-class mountain biking trails and is one of just 6 centres in the world to receive gold-class status from the International Mountain Biking Association.

Switch gears in the afternoon, with a visit to Te Puia, where stunning geothermal features and unique Maori cultural experiences combine. Watch the world famous Pohutu geyser erupt, gaze on pools of bubbling mud and end the day with an authentic cultural performance.

Day 6: Return to Auckland

It is a leisurely 3-hour drive back to Auckland, through rolling hills and lush countryside. As you pass through take time to visit some of the region's many unique rural towns.

Other journeys you might like

Twin Coast Discovery in Northland →

Volcanic Loop Highway →

Thermal Explorer Highway →