One of the best ways to travel in central North Island in New Zealand is to drive from Auckland to Gisborne. With a distance of about 479 km between the two cities, one can cover it over a 6 to 7-hour drive, exploring major attractions on the way. Take a car rental Auckland and get started on the route of the Pacific Coast Highway to make yourself some great memories!
This drive covers a good expanse of land with lovely vegetation lining the Thames coast side, and with surf beaches all the way till Gisborne. Usually, any time of the year is a great time to explore this route. We bring you some interesting things to see and do during this exciting road trip.
You can reach Thames through the fast route along the motorway, over the Bombay Hills and then across the verdant Hauraki Plains to Waitakaruru. However, there is also a slower but an equally scenic route available that goes through the village of Clevedon and takes you around the edge of Thames. Do not miss a visit to Miranda’s hot springs, the famous bird sanctuary, Pipiroa and Kopu bridge on the way. Thames has many organised nature-walks, gold mining museums and interesting kitsch stores worth spending some time in.
Head to Coromandel from a scenic route along the edge of the coast. You’ll find immaculate beaches and evergreen trees like Pohutukawa on the way. Coromandel is also popular for its historic art and crafts, Victorian buildings and train trips at Driving Creek.
Coromandel to Whitianga is a lovely drive to the tip of the peninsula. Enjoy the untrodden landscape of Colville, Port Jackson and Charles and Kennedy Bay enroute to Whitianga. You can also visit the Whangapoua beach if you have time to spare. Drive further to Whangamata, which is known as the country’s finest surf town. You can opt for fishing, kayaking and windsurfing during your time here. Next stop is Tauranga, a prosperous city alongside a great harbour. You can go dolphin watching and even stroll in the esplanade.
Reach Whakatane, known to be one of the sunniest towns in the country. Visit the Maori historical sites, museums and go dolphin swimming. You can also take a short trip to Opotiki, a town known for a calm beach and eco-tourism activities. Head to Te Araroa from Opotiki and then finally reach Gisborne through the state highway.
Celebrate your drive with a bottle of Chardonnay, fresh seafood and the amazing Kaiti Beach in Gisborne.