Great New Zealand Touring Route

The Great New Zealand Touring Route, Central North Island, is made up of the signposted Thermal Explorer and Pacific Coast Highways and the Volcanic Loop

Travel with confidence within the Great New Zealand Touring Route regions.

The Great New Zealand Touring Route is made up of the Pacific Coast Highway, theThermal Explorer Highway and the Volcanic Loop. These well sign-posted highways (signs every 14 kilometers) clearly indicate you are on path and heading in the right direction to your next destination.

The regions linked by the two highways are Coromandel, Hamilton/Waikato, Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Ruapehu, Hawkes Bay and the Bay of Plenty.

With the magnificent array of scenery on the routes, your journey is bound to have an impressive impact whether you travel on the Pacific Coast Highway or the Thermal Explorer Highway and the diversity that the regions en-route offer, make the central North Island a ‘must do’ in any New Zealand itinerary.

Pacific Coast Highway

Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Haw ke’s Bay. Glittering white sand, crystal clear rolling surf beaches and beautiful harbours, the Pacific Coast Highway traverses the spectacular east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

The Pacific Coast Highway is well signposted along the entire route, giving a safe and easy way to navigate through some of the most spectacular coastal scenery New Zealand has to offer. Travellers will be among the first people to see the sun as it rises majestically over the Pacific, casting its first rays over the stunning white sandy beaches along the length of the highway.

Experience pure escapism! Sample the world’s best seafood, innovative cuisine and award winning wines and indulge yourself in one of the many luxurious accommodation establishments along the way. Enjoy the diverse and unique heritage within the region.

You’ll find an abundance of buildings from another era, ancient Maori pa sites, countless historical delights and the living heritage of the stories and faces of the local people. Marvel at the talents of the local artists and share with them the environment that so inspires them - the slice of the Pacific paradise that is the Pacific Coast Highway.

Thermal Explorer Highway

Ruapehu, Lake Taupo, Rotorua and Waitomo. The Thermal Explorer Highway is well signposted along the entire route which allows for safe navigation through some of the most dramatic landscapes of the Central North Island.

See a myriad of crystal clear lakes, the spiritual home of the Maori of Te Arawa, and experience nature’s awesome earth forces- bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers and natural geothermal mineral pools alongside the life and pastimes of the Maori.

Travellers will have the opportunity to experience just about every adrenalin adventure you could want on air, land and water. But if it’s the sedate life you are after, the Thermal Explorer Highway is also the perfect place to take it easy, with magical hot springs to relax in and local cafes to enjoy.

Caves, an ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos are a must do and once you have had your fill of underground wonders, enjoy the above ground wonders.

The Volcanic Loop

An exciting ‘add on’ to the Thermal Explorer Highway. Heading south, the eastern shores of Lake Taupo offer many opportunities to swim or picnic. Head west at Turangi and follow State Highway 47 to National Park Village.

Travel south to Ohakune on State Highway 49 and on to Waiouru. From there head north back to Turangi, completing the loop. Along the way you’ll pass the three mountains of the dual world heritage Tongariro National Park - Mt Tongariro, Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe.