Auckland to Coromandel Township
As you leave the Auckland city boundary the landscape changes to lush farmland. You'll pass the fertile Hauraki Plains - one of New Zealand's largest dairy producing regions. Pass the Thames Estuary 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) Overnight: Coromandel Court Motel
Named after HMS Coromandel which visited the bay in 1820 to collect spars Coromandel Town has had quite an industrious history. Although the timber trade was providing the towns inhabitants with work in the early 1800's, it was the gold rush of the 1850's that contributed to the towns success and growth. Old buildings from these pioneering times can still be seen in the picturesque little town and there is also a gold mining museum. Overnight: Coromandel Court Motel
Coromandel Township to Whitianga
The short drive from Coromandel Township to Whitianga takes you via the scenic coastline of Whangapoua Harbour and the Kuaotuna beach. For beach lovers there are plenty of side roads to often deserted golden sand beaches and bays. The summer months bring visitors to enjoy fishing, surf-casting and swimming along the palm fringed beaches. Overnight: Admiralty Lodge
Captain Cook arrived there in 1769 to observe the transit of Mercury and hence the bay was named. This small bustling town once played a major part in the kauri logging industry with over 150 million metres of timber being exported between 1830 and the end of the century. Explore the spectacular coastline of Te Whanganui-a-hei Marine Reserve, including its most famous feature the hidden paradise of Cathedral Cove. On board you’ll peer through the glass bottom of the boat enjoying amazing views of the diverse marine life that inhabit the reserve. Overnight: Admiralty Lodge
Whitianga to Matamata
Head south along the Peninsula, passing the idyllic seaside communities of Hahei, Hotwater Beach and Tairua before turning inland. Once you reach Matamata you are in hobbit country and the route takes you to the town of Matamata where you can visit the the film locations made famous in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies at Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours (optional extra). Your drive continues north west crossing the dairy country of the Hauraki Plains before arriving at State Highway 1 and home to Auckland.