On a sunny day, you can witness the scenic Coromandel Peninsula when glancing across the Hauraki Gulf from Auckland. However, if you’re planning to drive there instead of taking a flight or ferry ride, prepare yourself for an extended journey.

An Auckland to Coromandel road trip is the perfect escape for a short break. Not only is it within easy reach, but there are numerous activities and sights to visit along your journey. Whether you’re in search of beaches and walks or galleries and cafes, here is a suggested itinerary for your 7-day adventure.

Auckland to Coromandel Road Trip Distance

Pack your bags, pull out your GPS, and get ready for a journey filled with jaw-dropping landscapes, delicious food and great memories. This 326km drive through New Zealand’s North Island, along Pacific Coast Highway, will take around 5 hours of travel time. But with plenty of rest stops and attractions along the way, it’s best to set aside at least a few days for this adventure in order to make the most of your time and beautiful surroundings.

Quick stats

326km trip distance

7 day roadtrip

Campervan recommended

road trip map

Day 1: Auckland to Thames

Travel Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Person in campervan taking a photo of Auckland cityscape

Start off your engine and make your way to the Thames, a town imbued with intriguing heritage and original craftsmanship. Enjoy the unique streetscape with its friendly locals offering up fresh produce, artworks, and genuine hospitality, all framed against an unspoilt bush wilderness backdrop. For travellers looking to immerse themselves in a range of activities, Thames is sure to provide memories that last long after your road trip has ended.

Sightseeing #1: Thames Goldmine Experience

Visit the Thames Goldmine Experience for an educational and exciting dive into a bygone era. Whether it’s viewing relics from a photographic museum, discovering steam-powered machines, or panning for gold, this self-guided tour can provide you with a unique exploration of mining history and processes. Remember to wear reliable protection against mud and moisture, such as closed-toe shoes and waterproof jackets, while bringing along your own flashlight if you have one.

Sightseeing #2: Hauraki Rail Trail

Located between Auckland and Tauranga, the trail is split into five sections, with an additional section recently opened to Matamata, which is the home of Hobbiton. For those looking to take it all in at once, the entire trail can be completed using 3–5 days and staying in provided accommodation along the way. Alternatively, there are options for day-long rides complete with convenient bike hire services and shuttles for added convenience.

Day 2: Thames to Manaia

Travel Time: 45 minutes
Campervan on road in New Zealand

Spend the day in Manaia, a small town boasting the motto, ‘Bread Capital’. Located on the Surf Highway route, Manaia offers plenty to do. Both locals and visitors alike are sure to enjoy the Country Music Museum, featuring a collection of artifacts from New Zealand’s music scene. Be sure to take a selfie with the infamous bread sculpture for a classic Instagram shot. And don’t forget about George, the heroic Jack Russell dog whose story can be found in Manaia and inspire travellers to find their own adventures along their road trip.

Sightseeing #1: Manaia Road Saddle and Lookout

Situated on Manaia Road, the Manaia Road Saddle and Lookout is a highly recommended viewpoint for sightseeing in the Coromandel region. The lookout can be tricky to enter from Coromandel Town due to the road’s bend, but it’s worth the effort for its unparalleled views of New Zealand’s rugged coast. On a clear day, the vista takes one’s breath away – encompassing mountains, forests, lakes and more, with moody clouds and birds soaring in the sky. It’s an idyllic location for nature lovers looking to take some memorable photos, savour a hot coffee or simply enjoy some tranquillity in a magical place.

Sightseeing #2: Mana Retreat Centre

For those looking for a more holistic experience on their visit to Manaia, the Mana Retreat Centre may offer just what they are looking for. With its wide range of courses and programmes in creative and healing arts, Mana provides a unique way to discover spirituality or mental well-being. From movement exploration to T’ai Chi, there is something here to suit anyone’s interests. Plus, guided by the experts working at the centre, guests are sure to get the full benefit of their stay here.

Day 3: Manaia to Coromandel

Travel Time: 15 minutes
Campervan on road in Coromadel, New Zealand

After a leisurely 15-minute drive from the Manaia to Coromandel, you’ll find yourself immersed in the picturesque scenery of The Coromandel. From ancient Kauri forests and sprawling golden beaches to enchanting Coromandel Forest Park, Coromandel features some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking spots for adventure. Whether you’re looking for a day at the beach or an overnight hike through the woods, this destination has everything needed for an unforgettable journey.

Sightseeing #1: New Chums Beach

New Chums Beach is renowned around the world for its stunning scenery and unspoiled beauty. Its powdery white sand and crystal-clear blue waters make it an idyllic destination for a beachside picnic lunch or an afternoon spent lounging in the sun. Although the walk to get there can be quite a long one, arriving at this beach is incredibly rewarding and well worth the effort. The sheer size of the beach makes it suitable for groups or large gatherings, so don’t be afraid to pack enough supplies for a few hours’ stay – you won’t want to miss out on a moment of this serene paradise.

Sightseeing #2: Waiau Kauri Grove

Experience the unique beauty of ancient Kauri trees on a peaceful walk in Waiau Kauri Grove. During this leisurely wander, you can witness the striking grandeur of 600-800-year-old trees and be awe-inspired by knowing that these majestic giants have been living here for centuries, persisting through many generations. This mature kauri tree stand is the most accessible and preserved on the Coromandel Peninsula. Take some time to enjoy the splendour of these endangered species while learning about their cultural and natural heritage.

Day 4: Coromandel to Kūaotunu

Travel Time: 30 minutes
Person jumping next to campervan with sunset view over ocean, New Zealand

From Te Rerenga, a scenic route awaits that leads to Kūaotunu and its spectacular offerings for the day. Otama Beach is one of them, offering camping and stunning sunsets over the ocean. Further down the road is Opito Bay Beach, a popular surf spot, then Stargazers Astronomy Tours provides a unique chance at night to take in the beautiful night sky from Coromandel’s North Island. With so much to discover at Kūaotunu, this will be a memorable stop along your 7-day Auckland to Coromandel road trip.

Sightseeing #1: Otama Beach

Otama Beach is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches on the Coromandel Peninsula, boasting a stunning expanse of white quartz sand. Naturally separated from nearby bays by dunes that have been untouched for years, it’s no surprise that this beach is so special. With limited housing in the bay and a stretch of shoreline spanning 2km, Kūaotunu’s Otama Beach offers the perfect spot for peace and quiet, whether you’re looking to sunbathe or take in the scenery.

Sightseeing #2: Stargazers Astronomy Tours

Stargazers Astronomy Tours in Kūaotunu provides visitors with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the gorgeous New Zealand southern night sky. Located away from light pollution on the Coromandel Peninsula, visitors can access a range of high-quality optical tools to appreciate the beauty of stargazing truly. Classes and groups are welcomed with the help of Alastair Brickell, a professional geologist and amateur astronomer who deeply understands this incredible subject matter.

Day 5: Kūaotunu to Whitianga

Travel Time: 15 minutes
People in the back of campervan in New Zealand

Day 5 of your Auckland to Coromandel road trip is sure to be an exciting one as you ascend up north towards Whitianga. This coastal town provides a blend of beaches, rivers and bush walks, allowing you to soak in the unforgettable sights and sounds of nature. Such beauty is complemented by great restaurants and bars where you can enjoy fresh seafood and specialty beverages. For those with an eye for retail therapy, there are shops that offer unique clothing items, souvenirs and more.

Sightseeing #1: The Lost Spring

Enjoy the peaceful restorative atmosphere, and take advantage of the geothermal mineral pools surrounded by lush native bush. Let yourself be pampered with a massage or one of the many treatments available at the day spa, or choose to soak in the pools while treating yourself to a delicious cocktail and dinner. With something for everyone – from relaxation to pure indulgence – the Lost Spring is ideal for an extraordinary day out that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Sightseeing #2: Mercury Bay Museum

The Mercury Bay Museum in Whitianga provides both locals and visitors alike a captivating glimpse into New Zealand’s past, featuring intriguing displays on Polynesian navigator Kupe and Maori artifacts along with details of the HMS Buffalo. Additionally, here you may find informative exhibits on James Cook and his endeavour ship while learning about the area’s kauri timber & gum industry and perusing its photographic collections or admiring fishing records from early settlers. History buffs, nature enthusiasts and travellers will all find something to admire at this must-see attraction when visiting Whitianga.

Day 6: Whitianga to Hahei

Travel Time: 30 minutes
Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve in Coromandel Peninsula North Island, New Zealand

With its magnificent backdrop of Pohutukawa trees and stunning views of Mahurangi Island on Hahei Beach, it is no wonder Hahei is a popular destination. In addition to this, tourists can also explore the wonders of nature located at Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve, from its limestone arch at Cathedral Cove to colourful reefs at Gemstone Bay. Further south awaits Hot Water Beach, an idyllic spot for bathing beneath the sand in natural hot springs. Nestled between these incredible sites await true relaxation and adventure that is sure to delight all who visit.

Sightseeing #1: Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove walk is a must-see destination for any visitor in Hahei. With its majestic, sea-carved archway and two connecting coves, it offers unparalleled views that are best appreciated through sightseeing. Located only an hour’s walk away from North Hahei Beach, take the time to explore this picturesque setting – you won’t regret it.

Sightseeing #2: Hahei Beach

Hahei Beach, a stunning coastal gem in The Coromandel, invites beach-goers to explore its many offerings. From golden sand beaches and offshore islands providing shelter for swimming and boating activities to lush Pohutukawa trees framing the shoreline with vibrant marine life beneath, it’s easy to see why this is one of Coromandel’s most beloved destinations. And let us not forget Te Pare historic reserve at the southern end of the beach, perfect for those looking for extra sightseeing opportunities or simply wishing to relax.

Day 7: Hahei to Whangamatā

Travel Time: 1 hour
Estuary jetty at dawn, Coromandel, New Zealand

On your final day of the 7-day Auckland to Coromandel road trip, you will be greeted with the breathtaking views of Whangamata. This renowned site combines the elements of both beach and rainforest into a unique experience for those visiting. Those looking to stay active can take advantage of the safe boating harbour, recently opened marina, swimming and picnic spots located around estuaries and harbours, and the expansive Pacific Ocean for boat trips of all kinds. Whether on land or in the water, Whangamata offers something special for all its visitors.

Sightseeing #1: Whangamatā Beach

With its beautiful combination of beach and rainforest, Whangamata Beach promises an unforgettable sightseeing experience. Known for both its top-notch surfing breaks and its safe swimming waters, the beach’s reputation draws in water sports enthusiasts from across the world. Likewise, those who want some big game fishing action can explore further off the coast for an even more unique experience.

Sightseeing #2: Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary

Make your way to Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary and enjoy a truly special connection with nature. Visitors can marvel at the magnificent sights from hilltops while also gaining knowledge of NZ wildlife and culture. Not to mention, explore Donut Island’s lush greenery—home to one of the oldest living legacies, Tuatara. Moreover, get an up-close look into Whangamatā’s conservation efforts that both safeguard the history and protect native species. Locals, as well as tourists alike, will be able to take advantage of this educational experience.

Happy Exploring!

Campervan on road with person smiling towards camera

For more information on hiring a campervan in Auckland, speak to the Travellers Autobarn Team or get a free online quote today!

For other amazing road trip ideas on the New Zealand North Island, please visit our North Island Road Trip section. Happy Exploring!

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