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Road trips

Pacific Coast Highway where to go and what to see

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Follow the east coast of the North Island from Auckland to Napier

The Journey – Pacific Coast Highway

Uncover contrast between quiet rural settlements and the bustle of Napier. Travel the east coast of the North Island, New Zealand on the well signposted as Pacific Coast Highway. As the journey threads the coast of the North Island you are off the major highways. The trip takes you off the beaten track to some of the North Island’s most beautiful and remote coastal areas. There are four major sections which can be travelled as one road journey or broken into three sections. The first section is from Auckland to the Coromandel. The second section from the Coromandel to the Bay of Plenty and the third section is the Bay of Plenty to Gisborne on Te Araroa route (East Cape). The final fourth section is from Gisborne to Napier and Hawke’s Bay. The journey finishes in the art deco town of Napier.

Follow the sign

Follow the sign

Hauraki Gulf islands, Auckland, New Zealand
Hauraki Gulf islands


  • Sunsets over remote coasts
  • Innovative cuisine where farm (sea) to plate is practiced
  • Contemporary art scene where studios welcome visitors
  • Marae architecture with stunning interpretations of hearth and home
  • Hot springs nestled in native bush
  • Summer beach vibe where the locals holiday
  • Off the grid road networks kick into your adventurous spirit
  • Tairawhiti Museum
  • Art Deco Napier with its vineyards, country meets urban culture

The sections are


Auckland to Napier via Pacific Coast Highway

1035 km

Frequently Asked Questions

The Pacific Coast Highway road trip is best travelled in late spring through the summer months.

The daily maximum temperatures are in the mid 20s c. In the eastern coastline and interior the daily summer temperature is 25.5c.

The Pacific Coast Highway can be driven in a motorhome. The exception is the Te Araroa to East Cape Lighthouse narrow gravel road. Home on wheels, what a way to go. Check out Wilderness Motorhomes for options.

The Pacific Coast Highway can definitely, you are encouraged to linger in the Coromandel then leisurely explore the Bay of Plenty. From the Bay of Plenty the road snakes around the East Cape into a bastion of Maori culture. Leave New Zealand behind and find Aotearoa.

The best sections of the Pacific Coast Highway are if you are interested in beaches, contemporary art and the vibe of summer then a favourite could be the Coromandel Peninsula. An interest in history and heritage the East Cape is an outstanding journey. For lovers of architecture, urban landscapes the journey into Napier will be of interest. The Bay of Plenty adds an opportunity to delve into another local popular summer destination.

The Pacific Coast Highway journey could be driven in two days, ideally you will spend at least a week taking in the sights and sounds of the Pacific Coast.


Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

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