Kick back along the Pacific Coast Highway and the Hauraki Plains.

Surrounded by 400 km of picturesque coastline, with subtropical forest highlighting our mountainous spine, we are at one with the elements and nature holds back for no one. It’s part of the appeal and enables experiences like nowhere else.  The true beauty of our region can only be found when you take the time to slow down and explore all that we have to offer.  A journey around Hauraki Coromandel will be just as spectacular as the destinations you reach and there’s no better way to discover that beauty than a trip along our Pacific Coast Highway.

Thames Coast Sunset 3

The trip from Thames to Coromandel Town is rugged and intriguing, with a surprise around every bend; framed by Pohutukawa which line the rocky ledges and shelly beach bays. If you find yourself travelling on a fine evening, you’ll be privileged to a spectacular sunset that gets better and better as you watch it unfold.

Logan Dodds Thames Coast

The trip is approximately an hour, but before leaving be sure to make time to discover the history of Thames and the area with a visit to the Thames School of Mines and the Thames Museum Te Whare Taonga o te Kauaeranga. As you head up the coast be sure to call in to the Thames art gallery at Tararu; Rapaura Water Gardens (a slight detour at the start of the Tapu Coroglen road); the Waiomu Kauri Grove, Waiau Falls and Kauri Grove and The Waterworks on the 309 Road, and as you enter Coromandel Town stop in at the Coromandel Oyster Company and the Mussel Kitchen for succulent local seafood.

Rapaura Watergardens

For those who want to get off the beaten track, a trip to the top of the peninsula will add a couple more hours to your journey. If you thought the coast road was rugged, wait until you explore further to the end of the road.

Coastal walkway 4

Coromandel Town to Whitianga takes 45 mins but leave extra time for a suggested hike to New Chum Beach at Whangapoua and a must do meal stop at Luke’s Kitchen in Kūaotunu.  You may even wish to overnight here to experience the wonder of our dark skies at Stargazers Astronomy Tours.  With a stop to swim or stroll at Wharekaho (Simpson’s beach), a bit more time might be wise.

Lukes Kitchen 100

Exploring around Mercury Bay tells historical stories of the region’s discovery by both Kupe and Captain Cook.  The Mercury Bay Museum, Cooks Beach, and Shakespeare Cliff memorials won’t be shy in sharing the tales of our past.  You’ll see an ancient volcanic coastline and venture into spectacular blow holes (depending on which boat or kayak trip you take).  There is also the option to discover our underwater world from either above or below the surface.  Art studios and galleries, local producers and cafes, breweries and a vineyard should be included in your visit.

Hahei Explorer

Whitianga to Whangamatā and the communities in between are predominately where kiwis holidays.  Small communities that swell in summer when we typically enjoy our traditional annual holidays. This part of the journey will take about 75 minutes, but again leave time to explore art galleries, waterfalls, boutique shopping, and the crystal and gem display at Heaven and Earth in Tairua.  Provider Charters operate multiple fishing excursions and ocean to plate experiences that won’t disappoint.  When in Whangamatā a guided kayak trip out to Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary will no doubt be a highlight as will deep-sea fishing adventures.

Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary Kayak
As you continue out of Whangamatā and head for Waihi, this short 35-minute trip takes you on journey that reveals a town rich in gold heritage.  Make the time to call into the Gold Discovery Centre, an interactive experience that takes you back to the gold mining era.  It’s here you can also join the ‘get inside the fence’ tour that shares fascinating stories and insights into what has shaped Waihi both past and present.  
To imprint a bit of your own DNA in the area, book a pottery workshop at the Laughing Pottery or at the very least pop in for a visit.

From Waihi to Paeroa you pass through Karangahake Gorge. You can jump onboard the Goldfields Railway which will take you to Waikino  You will need someone to meet you in Waikino, or we suggest you take the return trip and enjoy a bite to eat at the Waikino Station.

Falls Retreat 10

Waihi to Paeroa is a short 25 minutes, but you will need to allow plenty of time if you explore the Karangahake Gorge, sample local distilled gin at the Waikino Pub or check out Owharoa Falls.  The Falls Retreat restaurant is a great stopping point, be it for lunch, a paddock to plate workshop or even a bed for the night.

 Karangahake Gorge reflection

Paeroa and beyond. The Hauraki Plains and the Shorebird Coast are home to a diverse natural landscape and a hive of local farming activity, encased by acres of native forest, idyllic coastline, rolling rural hills and plains and the wide Waihou river.  The Paeroa Historical Maritime Park is worth a visit for its interesting collection of maritime objects.  Relax and experience a tranquil river journey that will transport you back in time while you listen to the rich history and stories from the Ohinemuri and Waihou Rivers.  Other options to explore around the Plains include a meander around the Kopuatai Peat Dome Reserve; a visit to the Ngatea Water Gardens; or cycle your way along the Hauraki Rail Trail adding a stop at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, the prime viewing spot for many species of New Zealand's amazing birdlife.

What better way to round out the journey with a stop off at The Public Office in Ngatea, where you'll be treated to a delicious seasonal menu that will want you coming back for more.

Paeroa Maritime Park

And so as the saying goes, good things take time! By sharing some of yours in The Coromandel we’ll be sure to make it good for your soul…. Welcome to our world.

More itinerary suggestions

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Download a copy of the local driving times

  • Note, SH25a is currently closed
  • There is a partial closure on the Tapu Coroglen Road, 10km in from Tapu.
  • For the latest roading status, please refer to Waka Kotahi's Travel Planner