AUCKLAND – WHITIANGA (Via Thames & Coromandel)

Driver Information
New Zealand ItinerariesTravel Distance is approximately 212kms (133 miles).
Allow at least 2.5 hours drive time (not including stops).
Part of The Great New Zealand Touring Route

The Great New Zealand Touring Route showcases some of New Zealand’s top surf beaches! Your journey starts in Auckland (New Zealand’s largest city) and takes you on a stunning scenic self-drive tour around the North Island that includes fabulous coastal views, historic sites, vineyards, forests, mud pools, hot springs and more!

Departing Auckland, you have a choice of a couple of routes to Thames, you can choose to take the fast way or the scenic way! A brisk pace along the motorway and over the Bombay Hills is part of the faster route, which does include some scenic views as you travel across the Hauraki Plains to Waitakaruru. Alternatively you can take the more scenic, leisurely route as you wind through pretty farmland, through Celevdon and then via beachside settlements such as Kawakawa Bay, Orere Point and Kaiaua.

From Thames you travel into the beautiful Coromandel region, which is home to a great range of artists and craftspeople. The drive to Whitianga is studded with plenty of photo opportunities before arriving in the beach town of Whitianga where you will spend your first night of this 11 day tour.

Some notable stops along the route to Whitianga include:

New Zealand ItinerariesThermally heated fresh mineral water pools centrally located just off State Highway 2 45 minutes out of Auckland. A range of hot thermal mineral water pools ranging in temperate from 36-38 degrees C includes private spa pools.

This historic township was originally founded during the Coromandel gold rush and is known as the Gateway to the Coromandel. A look around is advised, if you have time you can check out the Historical Museum with it’s great displays of the gold rush days or take the boardwalk through the mangroves to the Hide, where you can sit and watch birds in the Thames Firth.

Located on the western side of the Coromandel Peninsula, the township is loaded with gold-mining history, including many historic buildings. Fishing and scenic charters are popular visitor past-times in the township, while the craft trail is popular with those wanting to view local galleries and workshops. The Road from Coromandel to Colville is famously referred to as one oft he most scenic roads in New Zealand!

A popular surf beach that is down a side road on your way towards Whitianga and well worth the detour! A pretty surf beach that is also popular for body surfing and boogie boarding.

This popular holiday resort is a great place to relax and revitalise in the fresh ocean air! This is a fabulous family holiday spot with plenty of fish to catch and shellfish to gather, while the relatively sheltered waters of the bay are great for all water sports.

New Zealand ItinerariesIf you are travelling during peak season we strongly suggest you book your overnight accommodation before you arrive, including campervan parks, or arrange accommodation before settling down to enjoy all the local visitor attractions and activities within this stunning location.

Highly recommended Whitianga tourist attractions include…

Cooks Beach – Located just a short ferry ride from Whitianga, Cooks Beach is a popular visitor stop-off due to it’s fine golden sand beach, safe swimming waters and the Purangi River picnic spot.

Big Game Fishing & Scenic Cruises – Whitianga is the departure point for big game fishing enthusiasts, with plenty of charter boats of all shapes and sizes available for hire. Scenic Ocean cruises on the azure blue sea is also a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

Golf – If land sports are more your style, then you wont be disappointed. A selection of attractive golf courses include an 18 hole golf course plus a couple of 9 hole golf courses at Purangi near Cooks Beach and at Matarangi.

Mercury Bay Historical Museum – Located by the wharf in Whitianga, the museum has exhibits dating from 800-950 AD. A popular family attraction with an interactive natural history exhibit, Maori artefacts and much more.

Matarangi – This purpose-built resort town boasts 4.5km’s of beautiful sandy beaches and is a lovely, safe swimming spot. Golf, tennis and other activities are also on offer.

The busy coastal fishing town of Whitianga is a great place to spoil your tastebuds with fresh fish and shellfish available in any of the local restaurants. During the day there is plenty of activities on the water and land, including surfing, cruises, horse riding, bush walks, land tours, arts, crafts and much more.
New Zealand Itineraries: North Island Suggested Itineraries

Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!

  • 5 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
  • 6 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua and Rotorua – Auckland
  • 6 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Dargaville, Dargaville – Kaitaia, Kaitaia – Paihia, Paihia – Whangarei and Whangarei – Auckland
  • 7 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Napier and Napier – Wellington
  • 8 Day Itinerary: Wellington, Wellington – Masterton, Masterton – Wellington, Wellington – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim and Blenheim – Christchurch
  • 9 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier – Taupo, Taupo – Rotorua, Rotorua – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
  • 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Whangarei, Whangarei – Paihia, Paihia – Hokianga, Hokianga – Auckland, Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
  • 11 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier Taupo Napier, Napier – Wellington, Wellington – New Plymouth, New Plymouth – Waitomo and Waitomo Caves – Auckland