Pacific coast highway

Travel the legendary Pacific Coast Highway from Auckland to Whakatane for a holiday of refreshing leisure, geothermal sights, and every kind of seashore scenery.

Go New Zealand Go New Zealand 1 month ago
Pacific coast highway

Day 1: Auckland

Auckland, with its stunning port and plentiful islands, is the ideal site to begin a seaside vacation. Island hopping is a popular sport among Auckland's 'boaties,' and it's simple to understand why: the region is brimming with them. On a whale and dolphin-watching trip across the Hauraki Gulf, you'll see some of the gulf's friendly species. Waiheke Island, commonly known as the "island of wine" because of its numerous award-winning wineries, is the most accessible of Auckland's islands. Treat your taste buds to a delectable cuisine and wine tour, or try ziplining through the forest canopy for something a little more adventurous.

Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Day 2: Hahei (Cathedral Cove)

The world-famous Cathedral Cove, which was featured in the film Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, is located on the Coromandel Peninsula, which is home to some of the North Island's most stunning natural sites. The soft white limestone has crumbled away to form a beautiful archway that connects two isolated bays. The scene is completed by a rocky island pinnacle, making it one of The Coromandel's most photogenic sites. Hot Water Beach is a short distance from Cathedral Cove. Dig a little deeper into the sand and use the rising natural spring beneath the surface to construct your own beach bath. Take a kayak trip of Whenuakura Island as you make your way south to Whangamata. Because to the collapse of a volcanic blowhole, this peculiar island has a peaceful lagoon at its heart.

Cathedral Cove
Cathedral Cove
Cathedral Cove, Waikato, New Zealand

Day 3: Tauranga

Travel down the peninsula to Waihi, where one of New Zealand's Great Cycling Trails may be found. The Hauraki Rail Trail, which runs from Waihi to Paeroa and beyond, is steeped in gold mining history and offers breathtaking landscape. The Owharoa Falls, located in the magnificent Karangahake Gorge, are a must-see. The sun-drenched city of Tauranga is your next stop. A guided tour of Mount Maunganui will teach you more about this popular Kiwi vacation location. As you walk from the mountain's base to its pinnacle, listen to local Maori legends. Spend the afternoon on a boat ride, meeting the friendly aquatic life of the Bay of Plenty and seeing the region's numerous hidden islands.

Mount Maunganui
Mount Maunganui
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
Mataatua
Mataatua
Mataatua Duke Street, Ōpōtiki, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Day 4: Whakatāne

Before travelling the short distance to Whakatne, see the sunrise from Mount Maunganui. Between October and January, this stretch of seaside road is lined with berry farms where you may harvest your own berries. Visit the island refuge of Moutohor to learn about endangered native fauna (Whale Island). You can travel to this pest-free haven by motorboat or sailing catamaran and learn about the conservation initiatives that conserve this valuable piece of New Zealand. Then, at the island's quiet hot water beach, dig yourself a peaceful geothermal spring pool. Spend the afternoon on a boat ride and encounter the friendly marine life of the Bay of Plenty.

Whakatane
Whakatane
Whakatane, New Zealand

Day 5: Rotorua

Continue your journey inland from the Bay of Plenty to Rotorua. Spend the morning swimming in natural hot pools surrounded by gorgeous native woodland at Kerosene Creek. The Whakarewarewa Forest near Rotorua is a must-see for mountain bikers. This forest, commonly referred to as the "Redwoods," is home to world-class mountain biking routes and is one of only six gold-class centers in the world, according to the International Mountain Biking Association. In the afternoon, change gears with a trip to Te Puia, a geothermal wonderland with unique Maori cultural experiences. Watch the world-famous Pohutu geyser erupt, gaze into bubbling mud pools, and close the day with a genuine traditional performance.

Kerosene Creek
Kerosene Creek
Kerosene Creek Old Waiotapu Road, Waiotapu, New Zealand

Day 6: Napier

Another gorgeous journey from Rotorua will take you to Napier, a wonderful area to relax and unwind. Hawke's Bay is a wine-growing region with one of the best collections of Art Deco architecture in the world. Once in Napier, you can take a self-drive, chauffeured, or bicycle tour of Hawke's Bay's many wineries. Luxurious sauvignon blanc, silky merlot, and peppery cabernet sauvignon are all easily enjoyed at the winery restaurants. The world's largest gannet colony can be found near Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauwae-a-Mui, which can be visited on foot, by kayak, or by tractor. The Cape also has one of the top golf courses in the country.

Cape Kidnappers
Cape Kidnappers
Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Day 7: Return to Auckland

The drive back to Auckland is long (five and a half hours) but lovely, passing through rolling hills and lush countryside. Take time to see some of the region's many fascinating rural communities as you pass through.

Auckland
Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

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