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 Pacific Coast Highway

This is a journey for those that love the beach and coastal drives (and the odd vineyard), and since you will be enjoying part of the stunning Pacific Coast Highway themed route, you can relax in the knowledge you will be experiencing an ocean-flavoured journey with plenty of fabulous photo opportunities.

Departing Auckland, which is New Zealand’s largest city, enjoy the scenic as you casually wind through stunning farmland, into the rural township of Clevedon before skirting along the Firth of Thames into Thames. From Thames the route to Coromandel winds along the edge of the coast, and will treat you to spectacular coastal and ocean views framed by beautiful beaches fringed with Pohutukawa trees. After exploring the gold-mining town of Coromandel you will continue your drive towards Whitianga, your stop-over for the evening.

Some notable stops along the route to Whitianga include:

Located just off SH 2, only 45 minutes from Auckland, the thermally heated fresh mineral pools are situated on 2 acres of picturesque grounds and are a great place to soak and unwind on your North Island trip.

New Zealand ItinerariesThames is the ‘Gateway to the Coromandel’ and a great place to enjoy the boutique shopping along the historic main street. The Historical Museum is worth a visit to view the displays about the gold rush days and mining of yesteryear while a walk along the boardwalk through the mangroves to the Hide, is a wonderful place to sit and watch birds in the Thames Firth.

Formerly a gold-mining and timber town, the historical Coromandel township is now more famous for unique artwork and craft creations which are on display throughout shops and markets in the town.

Enjoy a remarkable 1 hour train journey as you pass through breath-taking Kauri forests and climbs to the Eyefull Tower with its stunning panoramic views.

A ‘must-do’ for visitors to the Coromandel! Accessible only on foot or by boat, the famous Cathedral Cove track begins at the northern end of Hahei. Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve covers 9 square kilometres and is New Zealand’s sixth marine reserve.

New Zealand ItinerariesConsidered one of the most beautiful coastal walks in New Zealand, enjoy views of Great Barrier Island, Cuvier, the Hauraki Gulf and Pacific Ocean on this 3 hour walk.

Boasting an awesome surf beach and a large harbour, the area is a great place to stop and stretch your legs on your journey. Take a pleasant 30 minute walk just north of the beach and you will find yourself in the tranquil secluded New Chums beach.

Breathe in the fresh ocean breeze as you arrive in Whitianga and feel instantly revitalised. This is a great beach holiday spot, with fish to catch and shellfish to gather, while the relatively sheltered waters of the bay are great for all water sports.

If you are travelling during peak season we suggest you book your overnight accommodation before you arrive, 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…

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.

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.

Whitianga is a thriving coastal fishing town and you will be spoilt for fresh seafood choices when dining out in any of the great restaurants. During the day there are 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