Auckland to Coromandel: the ultimate weekend road trip? You bet

Whether you’re on vacation in Auckland or a local with a long weekend up your sleeves, chances are you’ve been trying to plan the perfect road trip. But with so many stunning destinations within a stone’s throw of The City of Sails, it’s far from an easy decision. The chances areFOMO is strong on the North Island.

Well, fortunately for you, we’re here to make life a little easier. The Coromandel Peninsula is easily the must-do road trip that anyone with a car in Auckland needs to tick off their bucket list.

Before you hit the road: stocking up in Auckland

Like any road trip, stocking up before you leave is all part of the fun. Stop number one obviously needs to be covering your snack-food bases, because nothing starts the are we there yets faster than an empty stomach.

Obviously personal tastes play a big role here, but a great place to start has always got to be Huckleberry – Auckland’s favourite organic grocer with four convenient locations dotted around the city. We can’t recommend the Peanut Butter and Jelly Amazeballs strongly enough. Mmm…

Less is more when it comes to packing for any road trip, because nothing is worse than wasting precious legroom on extra baggage. When packing clothes, we recommend limiting yourself to two bottoms and a few tops, plus weather-appropriate gear as needed for the season.

Of course, the car is a vital ingredient and Hertz has four easy car-hire locations in Auckland including the airport, Downtown, Northshore and Auckland East. The right car for you will depend on how many people you’ll be taking with you and what you plan to do, but as you’ll be spending a decent amount of time on the road, you’ll want something spacious and comfortable. Our customer service team are always more than happy to help you choose the right vehicle, so don’t hesitate to ask before you book.

On the drive: the journey is half the fun

Once you’ve reached the highway and you’ve got that playlist pumping, it won’t be long at all until you hit your first spot at the Hunua Ranges Regional Park, which is under an hour’s drive out of Auckland. Get out and stretch your legs with a short hike up to the impressive Hunua Falls and you’ll barely feel like you’ve been in the car at all. It’s the perfect spot for morning-tea, and if the weather is right, a dip in the natural pools.

With that out of the way, next up on the itinerary needs to be the Ngatea Water Gardens, a stunning manicured garden complex where you can comfortably stop for a picnic lunch and stretch your legs, strolling across quaint bridges and around magical water fountains. It’s almost too cute to be real.

If you’re pushing all the way through to the town of Coromandel itself in one day, your last stop before getting there should absolutely be some well-earned relaxation at Hot Water Beach. Here is where the natural spring waters bubble up through the sand, so you can literally dig your own hot-tub and unwind for the afternoon.

Arrived in Coromandel? The hardest part now is leaving

If your destination is the town of Coromandel itself, you’ve made a wise decision. This quaint little town is known for its spectacular coastlines and historic colonial architecture.

Start your day right with breakfast at The Wharf, a boutique restaurant offering contemporary New Zealand cuisine that feels more like it belongs in a metropolitan mecca than a sleepy little beach town. With vegetarian and vegan options that are every bit as mouth-watering as anything else on the menu, you’ll be left wondering how the day could possibly get any better from here.

Of course, it will. Next up for the morning absolutely has to be Cathedral Cove, one of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets. The crystal-clear waters of the two white-sand beaches here are separated by a natural rock-tunnel that looks like something straight out of Middle Earth. There are few places better in the world to make your friends green with jealousy from all the Instagram snaps you’ll be taking.

After that, you’ll want to spend the afternoon soaking in The Lost Spring Geothermal Spa before you have to drag yourself away for the drive back. Located in Whitianga, the natural spas are surrounded by lush greenery and soothing waterfalls, with thermal waters flowing directly from a deep-spring within the earth.

There are few ways to make a weekend road trip feel like a 6-week vacation. And heading to the Coromandel Peninsula is definitely one of them.