7 Days

1104 km


  • Beaches & wineries
  • Active volcano
  • Untouched rainforest



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.

Day 1: Auckland to Whitianga

The Coromandel
Cathedral Cove, The Coromandel


Pristine beaches and dramatic coastlines.


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


  • by car:

    2 h 20 min | 170 km via SH2 & SH25

  • by ferry:

    2 h | to Coromandel Town by Fullers

  • Visit an iSITE for local activity information

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 the world famous Cathedral Cove. Here the soft white rock has eroded away to create a magnificent archway connecting two secluded coves.

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 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 2: Whitianga to Tauranga

Bay of Plenty
Sunrise on Mt Maunganui, Bay of Plenty


Spectacular beaches and an active volcano.


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


  • by car:

    2 h 30 min | 165 km via SH25 & SH2

  • by bus:

    4 h | via Thames by Intercity

  • Visit an iSITE for local day tours.

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.

Spend the evening kayaking through a canyon alight with twinkling glowworms. A perfect end to the day.

Day 3: Tauranga to Whakatane & White Island

Bay of Plenty
White Island, Bay of Plenty


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


  • by car:

    1 h 10 min | 89 km via SH2

  • by bus:

    6 h 30 min | via Rotorua by Intercity


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

Read more

Watch the sunrise from Mount Maunganui, before driving the short distance to Whakatane, gateway to White Island.

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 history.

Or, 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 - 5: Whakatane to Gisborne via Te Araroa

Tolaga Bay, Tairawhiti


World class surfing, vineyards and native forest.


  • 600m Tolaga Bay wharf
  • Tikitiki's ornate Maori church
  • Friendly coastal towns


  • by car:

    5 h 20 min | 372 km via SH35

  • by bus:

    3 h 5 min | to Gisborne direct

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 plethura of things to see and do, with uninterrupted beaches for swimming, walking, surfing and fishing. 

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

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

Day 6: Gisborne to Wairoa & Waikaremoana

Hawke's Bay
Lake Waikaremoana, Hawke's Bay


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



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

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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, while the coastal route takes in Morere Hot Springs 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 in this area. As one of New Zealand's Great Walks the 3-day Lake Waikaremoana Track is a particular highlight.

Day 7: Wairoa to Napier

Hawke's Bay
Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauwae-a-Māui, Hawke's Bay


Discover wineries, wildlife and Art Deco design


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


  • by car:

    1 h 40 min | 116 km via SH2

  • by bus:

    2 h 25 min | by Intercity 

  • Visit Napier iSITE for local day tours.

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 many 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

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