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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.

Hauraki Gulf islands
Hauraki Gulf islands

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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

Route

Auckland to Napier via Pacific Coast Highway

1035 km

 

Best Time of the Year

October – March

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Follow the sign

Follow the sign

East Cape lighthouse, New Zealand @East Cape Campground
East Cape lighthouse @East Cape Campground

CAN THIS ROUTE BE DRIVEN IN A MOTORHOME?

Yes, it can with the exception of Te Araroa to East Cape Lighthouse narrow gravel road. Home on wheels, what a way to go.

CAN THE JOURNEY BE SPLIT INTO SECTIONS?

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.

WHAT SECTION IS THE BEST BIT TO DRIVE?

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.

HOW MANY DAYS ARE NEEDED TO COMPLETE THE ENTIRE ROUTE?

The 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.

Coromandel, New Zealand @lastly
Coromandel @lastly

BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE.

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