Northern Beach Explorer
6 days starting in Auckland
New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

Northern Beach Explorer

Your beach escape begins in Auckland, the City of Sails. After arriving, you will be transported to your accommodation, and have the evening to yourself to explore the coastal city or opt for a harbour dinner cruise. Day two sees you travelling to Coromandel, known for the famous Driving Creek Railway, the local arts scene, and of course, its beautiful beaches. Enjoy a full-day, guided coastal walkway tour with Hike & Bike Coromandel on day four. If you haven't yet had your fill of stunning coastal scenery, you're in luck, as on day five you travel onwards to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, famous for their pristine, calm beaches and laid-back culture. This evening, enjoy a Glow Worm Kayaking tour on Lake McLaren, a magical experience. The following morning, return to Auckland, before setting off on a half-day tour of the deserted beaches, lush rainforest and New Zealand native bush of the Waitakere Ranges with Bush and Beach. The final morning, travel to the airport to conclude your Northern Beach Explorer holiday. Haere rā!

Tour summary and feature

About this NZ Road Trip

Self Drive - North Island

This suggested tour costs from NZD$2,016 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

6 days/5 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Rental car included

 Viewed 22 times in the last 7 days

Also included in this package
- Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland accommodation
- Private Transfer Auckland accommodation to Auckland Airport
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Tour full itinerary
Detailed itinerary for this New Zealand Road Trip
Northern Beach Explorer - Day 1
Welcome to Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand's self-proclaimed "City of Sails" is the country's largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland Accommodation

You will be met at the Auckland airport by the driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harbour Sailing Dinner Cruise with Explore

This unique on-water sailing and dining experience is not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Enjoy smooth sailing on the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this photogenic city come alive with twinkling lights. Enjoy your meal as you sail around the beautiful Auckland Harbour taking in the view as the sun slowly sets. You'll be treated to canapes and a drink as you set off towards Westhaven Marina. Choose between dining in the downstairs cabin or on deck to take in the iconic sights of the Auckland Harbour. To finish the evening off, savour your dessert course as you leisurely sail back to Auckland's vibrant Viaduct Harbour.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - All Blacks Experience

See what it takes to make, shape and be an All Black. Experience first-hand the excitement and emotion of game day. Discover the stories behind some of world rugby’s most famous players, moments and matches.
This guided experience introduces you to the game of rugby before being lead through state-of-the-art displays combining sound, images, interactive technology and hands-on activities. Discover New Zealand’s deep passion for our national sport, experience the full force of the All Blacks haka, tackle interactive zones where you can try out your kicking, catching, line-out and accuracy skills against legendary All Blacks.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Wētā Workshop Unleashed

Explore worlds of horror, sci-fi and fantasy in the making. An exciting, realistic, and authentic experience, with three fully developed and original film concepts: A nail-biting horror Fauna, a fantasy epic Age of the Ever-Clan, and the mind-bending sci-fi Origins.
A 90-minute guided experience through fully themed environments, including immersive horror, fantasy, and sci-fi story worlds. Be immersed by a specially-created unique sweeping cinematic soundtrack, animatronic creatures, physical and digital interactives, hyper-realistic sculpted giants and characters, a horror house experience, and much more.

Your accommodation: Travelodge Hotel Auckland Wynyard Quarter

Travelodge Hotel Wynyard Quarter Auckland is positioned in the middle of the action in the fast-developing Wynyard Quarter precinct, close to the Waitemata Harbour at the western edge of the Auckland waterfront.

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Northern Beach Explorer - Day 2
Collect your rental car

This tour can be priced with any of the rental cars available in our fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige saloons and SUVs.

Auckland to Coromandel Township

As you leave the Auckland city boundary the landscape changes to lush farmland. You'll cross the fertile Hauraki Plains - one of New Zealand's largest dairy producing regions. Pass the Thames Estuary - a haven for wildlife and shore birds. Arriving into the old gold mining town of Thames, there are two different routes to the east coast of the Coromandel. Either directly over the Coromandel Ranges or north to Coromandel Township along the Pohutukawa Coast (part of the Pacific Coast Highway).


The Pinnacles Track is one of New Zealand’s most popular overnight walks that offers spectacular views of the Coromandel Peninsula. It can also be completed as a day walk. Located upriver from Thames in the stunning Kaueranga Valley, the track follows original steps constructed in the early 1900s for packhorses transporting natural resources through lush forest. The track remains rich with history from the days of kauri loggers, gum diggers and gold miners who plundered the area for many years.

The track is 12km in total and should take 5-6 hours to walk. The Pinnacles hut is located 5km in and is a modern, serviced, Department of Conservation hut situated on one of the highest peaks in the valley. The hut has 80 bunks as well as cooking, heating, showering and toileting facilities. Make sure to book the Pinnacles Hut ahead of time. A small charge applies to sleep in the hut.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Walking tracks in and around the Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel Peninsula is most well-known for its white sandy beaches and idyllic bays.  But if you head inland you’ll also find large tracts of rainforest with rivers and spectacular gorges.  There are also many remnants from the historic gold mining boom and kauri logging industry.  There are endless walks located on the peninsula for all abilities, so for a complete list of walks and to find some located near where you are staying visit the Coromandel Tourism website or the Department of Conservation website.  Here are a selection of the more popular.

Cathedral Cove Walk (near Hahei)
This is one of the must-visit destinations on the Coromandel Peninsula and is only accessible by foot or by boat.  The track begins in Hahei and takes you to some of New Zealand’s most spectacular coastal scenery. This walk takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes and is 2.5km.

Shakespeare Cliff Lookout (near Cooks Beach)

For fantastic views of Mercury Bay take the short walk to Shakespeare Cliff lookout.  There are a number of options to extend this walk by leaving from Ferry landing and following the Maramaratotara Track.

Broken Hills Recreation Area (near Pauanui and Tairua)
Located 19km from Tairua, the Broken Hills Recreation Area is home to many short walks.  This picturesque reserve is located along the Tairua River and was once a bustling gold-mining settlement, so walks follow old wagon routes to historic battery sites.

Kauaeranga Valley Short Walks (near Thames)
The Kauaeranga Valley is located east of Thames and its most famous walk is to the Pinnacles which is usually done as an overnight hike.  There are many shorter walks in the area which take less than an hour or the Billygoat Circuit which takes 4-5 hours.  The walks take you through regenerating native forest and past historic relics from the logging days.

Karangahake Gorge (Between Waihi and Paeroa)

The natural beauty of the Karanagahake Gorge is visible from the road, but stopping to explore some of the walks will lead you to stunning swimming holes, fascinating relics from the gold mining past and spectacular vistas. Two of the more popular walks are the Karangahake Windows Walk (1 hour/ 2.5km) and the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway (2hrs one way).

Kauri Block Track (near Coromandel Township)

Just outside of Coromandel Town this new reserve offers spectacular views in every direction including the coast and inland Coromandel Ranges. Walk takes approximately 45 minutes one way.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Coromandel Zipline Tour

Glide through the forest on this unique zipline canopy tour and experience Coromandel's breath-taking native forest from all levels, as you fly above the trees and walk beneath the ferns. Guides will lead you on an unforgettable journey, to learn about Driving Creek’s transformation from kauri logging, gold mining and pastural farming, into a lush hand planted native forest, a haven for regenerating kauri trees and kiwi.

Your accommodation: Anchor Lodge

Relax and make yourself at home in one of Anchor Lodge’s 25 spacious suites or apartments. Enjoy spectacular views from a harbour view suite or relax amongst bubbles in a luxury spa suite or spa apartment.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 165 kms / 103 miles : 2.3 hours

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Northern Beach Explorer - Day 3
Coromandel Coastal Walkway Guided Tour

Experience the beauty of the Coromandel Coastal Walkway with this guided tour. The 'easy walking track' (as graded by Department of Conservation) follows a well-formed bridle path once used by early Maori and European Settlers. Unpassable by vehicles, the ten kilometres Coromandel Coastal Walkway is the only way to link east with west, around the tip of the Northern Coromandel Peninsula. After a scenic journey from Coromandel Township to Stony Bay, you will be dropped to the Coastal Walkway track, where you can enjoy the guided walk on this stunning 10km track. Enjoy afternoon tea towards the end of your walk. At the conclusion of your hike, you may even have the opportunity for a swim, before driving around the other side of the Coromandel Peninsula to soak up even more spectacular coastal scenery on your way back.

Your accommodation: Anchor Lodge

Relax and make yourself at home in one of Anchor Lodge’s 25 spacious suites or apartments. Enjoy spectacular views from a harbour view suite or relax amongst bubbles in a luxury spa suite or spa apartment.

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Northern Beach Explorer - Day 4
Coromandel Township to Tauranga

From Coromandel Township travel south down the west coast of the peninsular which drops to the Firth of Thames. While the east coast has an abundance of golden sand beaches and inlets, the west coast has steep pohutukawa clad cliffs. On the other side of the Firth of Thames is Miranda and this out of the way spot is a haven for shorebirds.
Heading south from the Coromandel Peninsula you pass through the historic town of Paeroa, home of the nationally famous soft drink, Lemon and Paeroa (L&P). The very large bottle at the eastern end of the main street has plaques that explain the development of the drink. Call into any of the main street food outlets to purchase a bottle. If you have time, a detour to Waihi through the Karangahake Gorge is highly recommended. The old mining town of Waihi still has an operating open cast gold mine and you can view the workings of the Martha Mine from a vantage point signposted from the town centre. For rail enthusiasts the Goldfields Railway operates passenger trains along a scenic and historic section of track towards Waikino. Continue along the rich fruit growing coastline towards the port town of Tauranga.

Waimarino Evening Glow Worm Kayak Tour

Relax on the edge of tranquil Lake McLaren, enjoy locally produced refreshments while watching the ducks and swans go about their evenings preparations. At dusk your guide will lead you onto the lake to watch the sun set over the rolling hills. Gently paddle on your kayak into the night and discover the magic of the enchanting glow worm canyon.
This is a truly unique experience; while you can see glow worms elsewhere in New Zealand, and you can paddle a sea kayak in many places around the world, this is the only place when the two combine for a magical and truly unique experience. Enjoy wine from the award winning Mills Reef winery, delicate New Zealand cheeses and refreshments on the edge of Lake McLaren. The glow worms are situated in a narrow, high-sided canyon at the top of the lake, not in a cave, so this tour only departs once a day before sunset. By the time you get to the glow worm canyon it’s completely dark, as required to see the glow worms to the best effect.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Walking tracks in and around Tauranga and Mount Maunganui

Tauranga city and Mount Maunganui cover a large area and is well set up for walkers. Explore the many parks and reserves that are easily accessible throughout the city, many of these tracks and trails are connected which makes it easy to take in the sights of Tauranga. Choose from coastal walks with sweeping views of the harbour and nearby islands, or take a trip inland to check out our waterfalls, scenic lakes and parks.

Mauao (Mount Maunganui) Summit Walk
This walk takes about 40-minutes and requires a good level of fitness. Choose from two scenic tracks to reach the 232-metre high summit. The view at the top is worth the effort.
You can see Mount Maunganui’s iconic mountain, Mauao, for miles around – and when you’re standing at its summit, the view is even more impressive.

Mauao (Mount Maunganui) Base Track
Mauao is an iconic landmark and traversing its 3.4-kilometres base track is New Zealand’s single most popular walk. Allow 45-minutes and plenty of time to enjoy the crashing ocean waves and views across to Tauranga and Matakana Island.
The famous “base track” around Mauao in Mount Maunganui is one of New Zealand’s most popular scenic walks.
The 3.4-kilometres route will take you full circle around this extinct volcano and can be walked in either direction – from the white sand beach beside the ocean right around to the sheltered waters of Pilot Bay and vice versa.

Moturiki (Leisure Island)
This small island sits just off Mount Maunganui’s Main Beach. In the past, it’s been a Māori pā, a quarry, a marine aquarium and a tourist attraction called Leisure Island. Now it’s a protected reserve and a great place to enjoy a walk. This iconic landmark is connected to Mount Maunganui’s Main Beach by a man-made land bridge. A popular walking track will lead you to the northern tip of the island where you’ll find a blowhole which spectacularly shoots water skyward during high tides and large ocean swells. It’ll take you between 5 and 10 minutes to reach the blowhole from Mount Maunganui’s main beach. Follow the well-marked track up the gentle slopes and scramble over the rocks at the top for the best vantage point.

McLaren Falls Park
McLaren Falls Park is 190-hectares of parkland set alongside Lake McLaren and is just 10-minutes by car from Tauranga. The park is popular for camping, kayaking, its disc golf course, bush walks and summertime concerts. It is also home to one of the best botanical collections of trees in New Zealand.
One of the highlights of the park is the waterfall track where you can see glow worms after dusk. Enjoy a short, easy stroll to the picturesque waterfall and spot the glow worms on either side of the track. Part of the waterfall track is also wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly.

Kaiate Falls
Kaiate Falls (also known as Te Rerekawau Falls) is a 30-minute drive from Tauranga. The walking tracks are well-formed, although quite steep in some places. The main track leads to the top, and then to the base of the upper series of falls before continuing downhill to the lower falls. Another track, just below the car park, follows the stream back to the road bridge. Track junctions are well sign-posted.

Your accommodation: Trinity Wharf Tauranga

Brilliantly positioned this stylish over-water hotel offers the very best in privacy and spaciousness. The Trinity Wharf Tauranga is the only internationally branded hotel in the region and is just minutes from the CBD.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 166 kms / 103 miles : 2.6 hours

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Northern Beach Explorer - Day 5
Tauranga to Auckland

Heading north along the coast you pass through the small township of Katikati, which has many lovely walks and 44 murals depicting the town's history.  Continue north and you reach the edge of the Coromandel Peninsula and the historic town of Waihi. This old mining town still has an operating open cast gold mine and you can view the workings of the Martha Mine from a vantage point signposted from the town centre. For rail enthusiasts the Goldfields Railway operates passenger trains along a scenic and historic section of track towards Waikino. A suggested detour If you have the time takes you further north to the seaside community of Whangamata then around the Coromandel Peninsula and back down to Thames where you continue on to Auckland (allow an extra 3 hours for this side trip). If you want to head straight to Auckland, stay on State Highway 2 which takes you through the small township of Paeroa.  Paeroa is the birthplace of New Zealand's most famous soft drink L&P, keep an eye out for the giant bottle.  Continue through rolling green farmland and you eventually reach State Highway 1, which will take you into Auckland City.

Wilderness Experience Half Day Tour with Bush and Beach

Just 30 kilometres from central Auckland lies the city's largest regional park - the Waitakere Ranges. Leave behind the hustle and bustle of suburbia and step into the tranquillity of its deserted beaches, lush rainforest and New Zealand native bush. Visit the Arataki Centre for breathtaking panoramic views stretching from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean and learn about traditional Maori carvings. Walk along secluded bush tracks among giant ferns and kauri trees as your guide tells you about how unique New Zealand's nature truly is. Before you leave, be sure to visit the black volcanic sand beaches this area is famous for.

Your accommodation: Travelodge Hotel Auckland Wynyard Quarter

Travelodge Hotel Wynyard Quarter Auckland is positioned in the middle of the action in the fast-developing Wynyard Quarter precinct, close to the Waitemata Harbour at the western edge of the Auckland waterfront.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 196 kms / 122 miles : 2.5 hours

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Northern Beach Explorer - Day 6
Private Transfer Auckland accommodation to Auckland Airport with Tourcorp

You will be met at your Auckland accommodation by the driver and transferred to the airport.

Return your rental car

Return your rental vehicle to your designated depot before your next adventure.

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