Leg 1: Auckland to Hamilton
Head south out of Auckland, take SH1 and the Thermal Explorer Highway towards Hamilton. Drive time to Hamilton approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Take a scenic cruise on the Waikato River.
- Visit the Waikato Museum for the stories of the area, interactive shows and leading art exhibitions.
- Walk through the themed gardens of Hamilton Gardens – it’s like a tour of the world as you step from Italian Renaissance to English Garden to Chinese and many more.
- Take advantage of the great shopping and nightlife – both are making a name for themselves along with the casino in this rapidly growing, cosmopolitan city.
- Enjoy a tasting at Mystery Creek Winery, picturesquely sited on the banks of the Waikato River.
Leg 2: Hamilton to Bay of Plenty
Head south out of Hamilton following SH1 to Cambridge and Lake Karapiro. Drive time approximately 20 minutes.
- Pavement dining doesn’t get much better than at one of the many cafes in Cambridge’s town centre, or try the Boatshed overlooking Lake Karapiro.
- Hire a kayak and paddle the tranquil waters of Karapiro – a leisure boaties’ dream.
Continue on SH2 south to SH29 towards Tauranga and Mount Maunganui. (Bay of Plenty)
Tauranga / Mount Maunganui options:
- Go diving, swim with dolphins or just make the most of the fishing opportunities.
- Relax in the hot saltwater pools with their lovely setting.
- Visit Mills Reef Winery and sample some award winning wines.
Overnight Tauranga / Mt Maunganui
Leg 3: Bay of Plenty to Whitianga / Coromandel
Head north east on SH 2 towards Waihi and the Coromandel Peninsula, well known for its white sandy beaches and bohemian lifestyle. Drive time approximately 2 hours 40 minutes.
- Take a breather at the coal mining town of Waihi and check out the Martha Mine located adjacent to the main street of the town.
- Stop off at the twin harbour towns of Tairua and Pauanui. Walk the beach, surf cast, climb Pauanui hill, soak up the scenery.
- Walk to the inspirational and much photographed Cathedral Cove.
- Dig your own private spa at Hot Water Beach – when it’s close to low tide.
Leg 4: Back to Auckland or Hamilton
Back to Auckland via Coromandel township or Hamilton via Waihi. Either option, approximate drive time 3 hours.