Pacific Coast Highway

coromandel

Explore the dreamy east coast of New Zealand

7 Days

1104 km

Highlights

  • Beaches & wineries
  • Active volcano
  • Untouched rainforest

Explore the route

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Explore seaside scenery along the east coast, taking you off the beaten track to some of the most beautiful beaches including Mount Maunganui - voted as New Zealand's best beach.

Travelling from Auckland to Napier, you'll experience lakes, wildlife, vineyards and a tranquil lagoon. 

Day 1: Auckland to Whitianga

coromandel

The Coromandel

Pristine beaches and dramatic coastlines.

Highlights

  • World famous Cathedral Cove
  • Snorkel Orua sea cave
  • Natural hot pools at Hot Water Beach

Top 10 things to do in the Coromandel

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Begin your journey in Auckland and travel south to the Coromandel Peninsula.

The Coromandel is home to some of the North Island's most spectacular sights, including world famous Cathedral Cove/Te Whanganui-A-Hei. Here the soft white rock has eroded away to create a magnificent archway connecting two secluded coves.

Not far from Cathedral Cove/Te Whanganui-A-Hei, you'll find a Hot Water Beach. Dig down into the sand a little way and create your own seaside bath from the rising natural spring beneath the surface.

As you continue on to Whangamatā, 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 2: Whitianga to Tauranga

rotorua

Spectacular beaches and an active volcano.

Highlights

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

Top 10 things to do in Tauranga

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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 Māori legends as you wander from the mountain's base to its summit.

Spend the evening kayaking(opens in new window) through a canyon alight with twinkling glowworms. A perfect end to the day.

Day 3: Tauranga to Whakatāne & Whale Island/Moutohora Island

eastland

Berry farms and native wildlife

Highlights

  • Endangered native wildlife
  • Dig a hot water pool
  • Dolphin and seals nature tour

Discover Whale Island

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Watch the sunrise from Mount Maunganui, before driving the short distance to Whakatāne. This stretch of coastal road is dotted with berry farms, you can pick your own berries from October until January.

Discover endangered native wildlife on a trip to Moutohorā (Whale Island). You can journey by motor or sailing catamaran to this pest-free oasis and learn about the conservation efforts that protect this precious slice of New Zealand. Then dig yourself a soothing geothermal spring pool at the island’s secluded hot water beach.

Or, spend the afternoon onboard a boat cruise meeting the Bay of Plenty's friendly marine life. 

Days 4 - 5: Whakatāne to Gisborne via Te Araroa

eastland

Tairawhiti

World class surfing, vineyards and native forest

Highlights

  • 600m Tolaga Bay wharf
  • Tikitiki's ornate Māori church
  • Rere rockslide

Top 10 things to do in Gisborne

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The drive around East Cape is beautiful but challenging. If you have time, spread this trip over two days and spend a night in Te Araroa.

The friendly coastal towns offer a plethora of things to see and do, with uninterrupted swimming and surf beaches, walking tracks and top fishing spots.  

Near Te Araroa you can visit the country's easternmost lighthouse and Tikitiki is home to one of the most ornate Māori churches in New Zealand. 

Uawa (Tolaga Bay) a good spot to take a break; stretch your legs with a walk along the historic 660-metre wharf.

Day 6: Gisborne to Wairoa & Waikaremoana

eastland

Home to a vast world of stunning lakes, forest and mountains

Highlights

  • Te Urewera wilderness area
  • Morere Hot Springs
  • Onepoto Caves

Learn more about Te Urewera

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From Gisborne there are two routes to Wairoa and nearby Lake Waikaremoana.

The inland route gives you the chance to visit the spectacular Te Reinga Falls(opens in new window), while the coastal route takes in Morere Hot Springs(opens in new window) and the fabulous beaches of the Mahia Peninsula.

At Waikaremoana you will find one of the North Island’s most beautiful lakes, and the gateway to Te Urewera wilderness area.

Hiking, kayaking and fly-fishing are popular activities nearby and one of New Zealand's Great Walks the 3-day Lake Waikaremoana Track is a prominent highlight.

Day 7: Wairoa to Napier

hawkes-bay

Hawke's Bay

Discover wineries, wildlife and Art Deco design

Highlights

  • Cape Kidnappers gannet colony
  • Winery tours
  • World-class golf course

Top 10 things to do in Hawke's Bay

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The last leg of your journey takes you past Lake Tutira and on to the city of Napier, a great place to relax and unwind.

Hawke’s Bay is a fertile wine-growing region that boasts one of the world’s best collections of Art Deco architecture.

Once in Napier, you can visit the Hawke’s Bay’s wineries on a self-drive, chauffer driven or bicycle tour. The winery restaurants make it easy to appreciate lush sauvignon blanc, smooth merlot and spicy cabernet sauvignon.

Nearby Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauwae-a-Māui is home to the world’s largest gannet colony which can be reached on foot, by kayak or on a tractor. The Cape also happens to have one of the country’s best golf courses.

View the route below

 View the route below

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