Auckland to Coromandel Town road trip | Apollo NZ
× Search
 

Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki

A New Zealand campervan holiday through the Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki region offers an unforgettable experience. Rich in natural beauty and cultural significance, this special part of New Zealand offers travellers a unique blend of urban charm and rugged wilderness. If you love exploring arts and culture, you’ll be spoilt for choice in this region. You may even like to follow the Coastal Arts Trail which spans 300 km between New Plymouth to Palmerston North. The trail is peppered with galleries, sculptures, studios and more. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the mystical Bridge to Nowhere, accessible through the verdant Whanganui National Park, offering an unforgettable journey into New Zealand's remote backcountry. 

Transitioning westward, the landscape dramatically changes as you enter Taranaki, dominated by the iconic, conical shape of Mount Taranaki. This region is a magnet for adventurers and nature lovers alike, with New Plymouth at its heart – a coastal city known for its sunny climate, thriving arts community, and surf-friendly beaches. The coastal walkway stretching from Bell Block to Port Taranaki offers spectacular sea views, perfectly complementing the city’s dynamic cultural venues and eateries.

 

Why explore Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki by campervan

Exploring Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki by campervan offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the heartland of New Zealand's North Island. It also makes it easy to change your itinerary on the fly. Whether it's spending an extra day enjoying the surf in New Plymouth, exploring the hiking trails around Mount Taranaki, or parking beside the scenic Whanganui River for a spontaneous picnic, the choice is yours. The ability to set your own pace and schedule makes a campervan ideal for discovering the hidden gems of these regions.

Travelling by campervan not only brings the comforts of home on the road, such as your own bed, kitchen, and living space, but also eliminates the hassles of constant packing and unpacking. This is especially valuable in regions like Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki, where attractions are spread out. Having your necessities with you means you're always ready for the next adventure. 

 

Things to do in Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki

Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki offer activities for all ages, from nature excursions to authentic cultural experiences. Explore Palmerston North's gardens and arts scene, Whanganui's historic riverboat cruise, or brave the surf at New Plymouth's beaches. Immerse yourself in the local culture with visits to museums, galleries, and artist studios. Whether it's outdoor excitement or cultural enrichment, this fascinating region provides something for everyone.

 

RSS

Popular Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki road trips & itineraries

Stretching down the lower west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki are prime destinations for road trippers seeking a mix of culture, nature, and adventure. Easily accessible from major urban centres like Wellington and Auckland, the drive itself showcases the dramatic shift from urban landscapes to the lush, green countryside of Manawatu and the striking volcanic features of Taranaki. These routes not only offer breathtaking views but are dotted with a variety of attractions, making every stop an opportunity for discovery. 

 

Auckland to Coromandel Town road trip
Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: NZ Itineraries

Auckland to Coromandel Town road trip.

Keen to plan a fun North Island road trip that packs plenty of punch into a short timeframe? The road trip from Auckland to Coromandel Town ticks all the boxes! The chilled out township of Coromandel is just three hours drive from Auckland, so you can hit the road in the morning, take your time driving, and still have loads of time to explore once you get there. Even better, break up your journey with a stop in Thames along the way. To help you get started, we’ve put together this awesome three-day New Zealand travel itinerary taking you from Auckland to Coromandel. With everything from ziplining to historic walks, It’s the perfect North Island road trip for a long weekend adventure. 

 

Travel: 3 days

Route: Auckland loop

Best time of the year: Anytime

Highlights: 

  • Pohutukawa Coast scenic drive

  • Historic Thames 

  • Driving Creek Railway journey

  • New Chums Beach

  • Karangahake Gorge 

 

Day 1: Auckland to Thames

Distance: 114 km (1 hour, 30 mins). Scenic option: 128 km (2 hours)

Your adventure begins at Apollo's Auckland branch, where you'll pick up your pre-booked campervan, primed for three days of exploration and adventure. 

Today, you’ll be driving to Thames, with two route options. The direct route via SH1 offers a straightforward 1.5-hour drive without many scenic distractions – perfect if you’re eager to dive straight into your activities. Alternatively, the scenic route through Whitford and along SH 25, known as the Pōhutukawa Coast route, is especially rewarding. This driving route is adorned with beautiful pōhutukawa trees, which are strikingly vibrant during the summer months when in full bloom. It's a slightly longer drive but well worth the extra time for the breathtaking coastal views it offers. 

If you take the scenic route, consider a scenic stop at Maraetai to enjoy a quintessentially Kiwi lunch of fish and chips on the beach, soaking up the coastal views. If your travels align with a Sunday, don’t miss the Clevedon Village Farmers Market. It's an ideal spot to gather fresh, local ingredients to enjoy during your road trip. Another noteworthy detour along this drive is the Miranda Bird Sanctuary, where you can observe flocks of shorebirds that grace the coastline. To catch these avian visitors in their most active states, plan your visit around two hours either side of high tide.

Once you arrive in Thames, take time to explore its quaint town centre. The northern end, still referred to as Grahamstown, features a collection of cafés and boutique shops set against a charming colonial backdrop. A visit to the local museum is a good option if you’re keen to learn more about the area’s rich mining history. 

For your first night’s stay, park up and relax at Dickson Holiday Park. Surrounded by bush and birdsong, it’s the ideal spot to unwind and plan your next day’s adventures. 

Image: Ben Gamlin

 

Day 2: Thames to Coromandel Town

Distance: 52 km

Travel time: 1 hour

Enjoy a slow start to the day – perhaps a hot cooked breakfast and quiet coffee before you hit the road. It’s just a short one-hour drive to Coromandel Town, so take your time and soak in the scenery along the way. 

As you arrive in Coromandel Town, you'll step into a world where the rich tapestry of Māori heritage intertwines with the remnants of the 1800s gold mining era. It offers a beautifully preserved glimpse into New Zealand's historical past. Today, this quaint town serves as a sanctuary for artists and craftspeople, drawn here by the stunning natural beauty and the peaceful, inspiring atmosphere. The town's vibrant arts scene and the picturesque environment make it a perfect place for creativity and relaxation.

Here are some of the must-do activities in Coromandel Town worth adding to your travel itinerary:

  • Driving Creek Railway Tours: Experience New Zealand's only narrow-gauge mountain railway. This exceptional engineering feat carries you through a recovering native forest and up to the Eyefull Tower, offering expansive panoramic views that are truly a sight to behold. The railway's unique zigzagging and spiralling track, designed and built by potter Barry Brickell, turns this ride into a thrilling adventure through history and nature.

  • Explore local art and shops: Dedicate some time to meander through Coromandel Town’s local art galleries and boutique shops. With a community of artists celebrated for their contributions to pottery, painting, and other crafts, the town is a hub for anyone interested in the arts. Each gallery and shop offers unique pieces, many of which are inspired by the surrounding natural beauty and local culture, making them perfect keepsakes or gifts.

  • The Waterworks: Venture into an eco-friendly amusement park where creativity and conservation go hand in hand. The Waterworks features ingenious water-powered contraptions, interactive exhibits, and beautifully crafted gardens. It’s an ideal spot for an engaging, fun-filled day out, especially for those who enjoy the playful side of engineering and sustainability.

  • Go ziplining: Add a dose of adrenaline to your day by ziplining through the majestic native forest. This activity not only provides a rush of excitement but also a unique vantage point to appreciate the dense greenery and fauna of the Coromandel Peninsula. It’s an exhilarating way to experience the area’s natural beauty and an adventure that will leave you with lasting memories.

  • Historical walks and heritage sites: For those interested in history, several heritage walks around Coromandel Town highlight significant historical sites, including old mines and historical buildings. These walks provide insights into the town's past as a booming gold mining centre, allowing visitors to connect with the stories that shaped this region.

  • Waiau Falls and Kauri Grove: For a nature-filled excursion, take a short trip to Waiau Falls and Kauri Grove. The falls are a breathtaking sight, tumbling into a clear pool that invites a refreshing dip. Nearby, the Kauri Grove is a remarkable collection of ancient Kauri trees, some of New Zealand's most majestic and historically significant native trees. This area offers a serene walking trail that allows you to appreciate the grandeur of these giants up close. 

  • New Chums Beach:  Finish your day with a visit to the stunning New Chums Beach, known for its untouched, pristine beauty. Accessible only by a walking track that crosses a stream and winds through native bush, this secluded beach offers golden sands and clear blue waters—perfect for a relaxing swim or just to lounge and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

For your stay tonight, the Coromandel TOP 10 Holiday Park is a great spot to park up, chill out, and plan your next day’s adventures.

Image: Toursim New Zealand

 

Day 3: Coromandel Town to Auckland

Distance: 169 km

Travel time: 2 hours, 30 mins

Today marks the end of your three-day New Zealand road trip, but there's ample opportunity for adventure as you head back to Auckland. 

As you head out of Coromandel, consider a slight detour to Karangahake Gorge, a spectacular natural and historical site located well worth exploring. The gorge itself is renowned for its scenic beauty, marked by the rushing waters of the Ohinemuri River cutting through steep rock cliffs. The area is also rich in gold mining history, evident in the old tunnels and railway lines that you can explore via well-maintained walking tracks. Don't miss the Windows Walk, which takes you through old mining tunnels with windows cut out to overlook the gorge – it’s an unforgettable experience. A quick tip, pack a torch for this visit – it will come in handy if you want to venture into some of the longer tunnels.

If you're a fan of antique shopping, be sure to stop in the township of Paeroa. Known as the antique capital of New Zealand, Paeroa's main street is lined with eclectic second-hand and antique stores brimming with treasures waiting to be discovered. While you’re there, take a moment to snap a photo with the iconic giant Lemon & Paeroa bottle, celebrating the home of New Zealand's beloved L&P drink.

Another cool stop on the way home is the Ngatea Water Gardens, an enchanting escape that offers a whimsical and relaxing garden experience. These expansive gardens feature quirky sculptures, water lilies, lotus flowers, and playful water features. There’s even a Can Museum featuring 10,000 different cans from all over the world. It’s a perfect spot to stretch your legs and see something just a little different! 

As you arrive back in the City of Sails, the last item on your travel itinerary is to return to Apollo’s Auckland branch to drop off your campervan. 

Ready for your next adventure? Explore more of our great New Zealand travel itineraries to plan your next great road trip across this stunning country.

READ MORE: 15 family friendly things to do in Auckland.

 

Is the Coromandel calling you?

From beautiful beaches to deep dark tunnels, this fun-filled 3-day New Zealand North Island road trip has it all. Ready to get started? Take the first step and book your Apollo campervan online today. 
Follow our easy itinerary or check out our travel blogs for more great ideas on what to see and do in New Zealand.

 

Print
1823 Rate this article:
No rating
days3
kms335
stops5+

Great savings on your New Zealand road trip

Apollo offers a fantastic selection of deals and specials for those looking to explore Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki by campervan. From hot deals and last-minute discounts to long-term hire benefits, you’re sure to find a deal designed to help you make the most of your campervan road trip. 

Long Hire Offer Long Hire Offer

Long Hire Offer

Do you love road trips across Australia & New Zealand as much as we do? You're in luck with our Long Hire Offer! If you are travelling for more than 21 days, you will receive 5% off daily vehicle...
0 23180

Apollo Campervan branches

Christchurch

The drive from Apollo Christchurch to the Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki region sets you up for a scenic journey across the South Island, including the picturesque ferry crossing at the Cook Strait, and onto the North Island. 

Queenstown

Keen to make the most of your road trip and explore the South Island before heading north? Book your camper with our Queenstown branch and spend a few days taking in some of the great southern highlights before crossing the Cook Strait by ferry.

Auckland

Set off from Apollo Auckland and kick off your exploration of this region in New Plymouth – just a few hours drive away. Make your way down the west coast taking in the charming townships, rolling rural landscapes, and rugged coastline as you venture south.  

Auckland City Skyline

Auckland

New Zealand’s multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts and culture.

 

Christchurch City, New Zealand

Christchurch

 One of the world’s most unique destinations.

 

Queenstown

Breathtaking scenery and adrenaline-pumping adventure activities.

 

Helpful tips for visiting Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki

 

Climate and seasons in Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki

Stretching hundreds of kilometres, this expansive region offers distinct seasonal experiences, making it an attractive destination year-round for visitors looking to enjoy a variety of landscapes and activities.

Manawatu-Whanganui enjoys a mild, temperate climate with moderate rainfall, making it pleasant for travel most of the year.

  • Summers (December to February) are warm with temperatures averaging around 22°C, ideal for exploring the great outdoors and the region's rivers and parks.
  • Autumn (March to May) brings cooler temperatures and a beautiful change in foliage, particularly in the bush-clad hills, providing perfect conditions for hiking and photography.
  • Winter (June to August) can be cooler, with temperatures dropping to around 10°C, but it is generally mild compared to other regions, with occasional frost in sheltered areas.
  • Spring (September to November) sees the landscape rejuvenate with bursts of flowers and greenery, making it a lovely time for visiting the many gardens and reserves.

Taranaki is known for its more dynamic weather patterns, due to the presence of Mount Taranaki, which can attract clouds and cause quick changes in weather.

  • Summers here are pleasant with temperatures similar to Manawatu-Whanganui but expect more frequent rain showers that keep the surroundings lush.
  • Autumn sees stable weather, ideal for outdoor activities as the forests display a vivid array of autumn colours.
  • Winter in Taranaki can be wet, with more pronounced rainfall, and the mountain often receives snowfall, offering spectacular views and winter sports.
  • Spring brings a rapid growth of new foliage and is particularly spectacular as rhododendrons and other blooms erupt around the mountain's base.

 

 

 

What to pack?

Preparing for your campervan journey through Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki requires thoughtful packing to make the most of the diverse climates and activities available in these regions. Here’s what you should consider bringing along:

  • Outdoor gear: given the varied terrain from river valleys to volcanic mountains, pack versatile outdoor gear. Lightweight, breathable clothing will serve you well during warmer months, while waterproof and windproof layers are essential for the unpredictable weather near Mount Taranaki. Sturdy hiking boots are a must for exploring the rugged landscapes and numerous walking trails. With the stunning natural beauty and wildlife in both regions, a good camera can help you capture memorable landscapes and native birds. Binoculars will also enhance your experience, especially when visiting coastal areas and bird sanctuaries.
  • Campervan add-ons: Enhancing your campervan experience can significantly improve your comfort during the trip. Consider including a portable heater for the cooler evenings, especially during winter months in Taranaki. A reliable GPS and physical maps can help navigate the more remote areas. Additional camping chairs and a table can also be handy for scenic stops along the coast or in forest parks.
  • Sun protection and rain gear: The regions' varying weather conditions call for both sun protection and rain gear. Pack a high-SPF sunscreen, UV-protection sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield against the strong New Zealand sun. Also, include a durable rain jacket and waterproof trousers to stay dry during sudden rain showers, particularly prevalent in Taranaki. For more helpful ideas, check out our guide to what to pack for your campervan road trip.

For more helpful ideas, check out our guide to what to pack for your campervan road trip.

 

 

Nearby attractions and day trips from Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki

Manawatu-Whanganui

Whanganui River cruise or kayak

Experience the tranquil beauty of the Whanganui River by taking a leisurely cruise or paddling a kayak. This historic river offers stunning views of lush landscapes and provides a quiet escape into nature, perfect for a relaxing day on the water.

Whanganui National Park

Home to native forests and scenic waterways, Whanganui National Park is popular with hikers and walkers. The park is also home to the Bridge to Nowhere Walk, a 3 km return (around 1.5 hours) easy walk popular with visitors to the area.

Forgotten World Highway

The Forgotten World Highway, running through remote, mystic landscapes, offers a journey back in time. This historic route passes through rugged terrain, dense forests, and small forgotten towns, making it a unique adventure for road-trippers.

Bushy Park

Bushy Park Ecological Sanctuary, near Whanganui, is known for its rich biodiversity and protected native forest. The 100-hectare reserve is home to some of the tallest and oldest trees in the region, including a 500-year-old rata. The park's predator-free status allows visitors to encounter rare and endangered birds such as the hihi and saddleback in their natural habitat.

Nearby attractions and day trips from Taranaki

Mount Taranaki

Dominating the landscape, Mount Taranaki offers challenging hikes and spectacular views from its summit. The symmetrical volcano is a striking feature of Egmont National Park, drawing climbers and photographers alike.

New Plymouth Coastal Walk

The New Plymouth Coastal Walkway is a spectacular 13-kilometre path that stretches from Ngamotu Beach to Bell Block, offering panoramic views of the Tasman Sea. This award-winning walkway is ideal for walking, jogging, or cycling featuring iconic landmarks like the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, which resembles a breaking wave or whale skeleton.

Pukekura Park

New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park is a beautifully landscaped garden featuring lakes, waterfalls, and exotic plants. It hosts the famous Festival of Lights, transforming into an enchanted evening wonderland.

Dawson Falls in Egmont National Park

Dawson Falls is a spectacular 18-metre waterfall located within Egmont National Park. The area around the falls offers picturesque walking tracks that wind through lush native bush, ideal for a short, scenic hike.

 

Where to stay in Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki with a campervan

When it comes to finding the perfect spot to park and rest in Manawatu-Whanganui & Taranaki, there's no shortage of picturesque, comfy campgrounds. Here are a few worth checking out:

Manawatu-Whanganui

Taranaki

 

 

 

RSS
123
Terms Of UsePrivacy StatementCopyright 2024 by Apollo RV Holidays
Back To Top