Coromandel & Waikato Explorer
Estimated Time: 3 to 7 days, distance 850km
Auckland to Rotorua
This loop will take you from Auckland through the back roads to the Coromandel Peninsula and up to Coromandel Township.
From Coromandel, you will cross over to the east coast of the peninsula and visit the many and varied beach settlements down this coastline. It is awesome riding along here with tight winding up hills and some long straights.
Leaving Coromandel you head to the mining town of Waihi and along the east coast to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, a very popular holiday spot in summer. From the Mount, as the locals call it, the ride takes you inland to the adventure capital of the North Island, Rotorua.
There are many activities to do here from luging to Maori Culture displays and tours. Plus there is plenty to ride around and see with many geothermal areas and amazing lakes to visit.
Rotorua to Raglan
From Rotorua the ride takes you to Matamata the gateway to Hobbiton. But if you’re not into the Lord of the Rings movies you can by-pass Hobbiton and head straight over to Raglan.
Raglan has a world famous surf beach and you get some amazing views from up above the West Coast beach. From Raglan our route takes you through the back roads to Pokeno and then it’s on to the motorway to Auckland.
This loop could take you a couple of day to a couple of weeks depending on how long you want to stay at the various locations along the way, it is up to you.
The map has lots of suggested spots to visit and there are many accommodation options available to you. (Motel, Hotel, Airbnb, Book a bach)
Auckland to Coromandel to Raglan (Don’t forget your Togs)
Togs: New Zealand slang for swimmers or bathing suit.
For this blog, I’m going to break it into suggested days but feel free to take longer or shorter.
Day 1: Howick to Miranda – 96km
Your ride will start from Howick in the eastern suburbs of Auckland. After picking up your MT-09 Tracer from Motorcycle Rentals New Zealand you will head out of Howick to the small village of Whitford and along the Whitford – Maraetai Road to Maraetai. Be sure to stop for an ice-cream at the Wharf or visit Omana Regional Park. This will only take about 30 minutes to get here.
From Maraetai you will follow the picturesque coastal road around to Duders Regional Park then back inland to Clevedon Village.
From Clevedon take Monument Road and wind up to the top of Sky High Road through some classic back country roads. Turn onto White Road and this will take you to Hunua Village.
Just prior to Hunua Village is Falls Road and if you are so inclined you can visit the Hunua Rangers Regional Park and Hunua Falls set amongst New Zealand native bush.
Leaving the Regional Park you will find yourself on some straight open roads. The route will stay off the main state highways as much as possible and will be on the back country roads so always be aware of wondering sheep or cattle.
Your next suggested stop is Miranda Hot Springs which offers basic accommodation and hot springs. Just up the road is one of New Zealand’s best fish & chip shops at Kaiaua so if you are hungry I can recommend that.
Day 2: Miranda to Whitianga – 126km
Leaving Miranda your next stop will be the Coromandel Peninsula. Follow State Highway 25 up the western side of the Peninsula through many bays and holiday stops. This is a busy and winding road, and at times very narrow so take care. Always check the NZTA website for road closures as this road has been hit hard in the last few years with slips and washouts. There are many scenic places to stop along this road and the fishing around the mussel farms is outstanding.
The next stop on our map is the township of Coromandel which is two-thirds of the way up the peninsula on the western side. Coromandel township and the whole peninsula are dotted with old gold mining sites and the town has a gold mining museum. There are many hiking trails and walking tracks spread throughout the area, but always go well prepared as the weather can change very quickly.
There are lots of secluded bays to explore in the top half of the peninsular but be aware that most of the roads are gravel and winding.
On our map the ride takes you to the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsular and the little beach of New Chums. There are couple of roads you can take to get out to it and there is still a short walk through bush to the beach but you will not be disappointed.
From New Chums there are a number of beachside resort type settlements you can visit, Whangapoua, Matarangi, Kuaotuna, then journey over the very winding and scenic hills to Whitianga. All of these are worth a stop at with Whitianga having now grown into a proper town with plenty of places for you to stock up on supplies. All through the Coromandel there are AirB&B options or Book a Bach.
At Whitianga there is an adult spa call Lost Springs and it is well worth a visit to relax in the thermal pools.
Day 3: Whitianga to Whangamata – 100km
The next stop on the map is Cathedral Cove which is just a hive of activity over the summer months with tourists flocking here and it is well worth it. Again make sure you have your togs and it is about a 15-20 minute walk from the car park down to the cove. If you do not want the crowds you can catch a water taxi from Hahei.
After visiting Cathedral Cove Hot Water Beach is also a good place to visit with natural geothermic warming of the sand. People love to dig a hole and sit in the warm waters. The beach is unpredictable and if you are going to go for a swim make sure you swim between the Surf Life Saving Club flags.
Back out to the main road and on the way to our next destination you will pass a good option for a beer (making sure you are under the NZ Limit) and a feed at the Hot Water Brewing Company which is located in the grounds of the Seabreeze Holiday park.
After a nice beer or wine then you will head off to ride some challenging roads with tight winding hill climbs with opposing cambers and blind corners and one way bridges to deal with on the way, but the ride and views are spectacular. Along this route you will have a wide range of beaches visit including Tairua, Pauanui, Opoutere and the best kept secret on the Coromandel Onemana.
Onemana is a hidden gem and the beach is just awesome if you like big waves and golden sand this is the place. The beach is patrolled by our local lifeguards during the summer months so be sure to swim between the flags.
Just 9km down the road from Onemana is the township of Whangamata which was voted the best beach in New Zealand in 2017 with lots to see and do in and out of the water at Whangamata.
Day 4: Whangamata to Mount Maunganui – 100km
The next stop on the map is Waihi, a mining town but along the way, you will pass some great beaches.
From Waihi you will make your way to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui again passing many interesting little towns and beaches along the way so take your time and explore. There are lots of things to do in and around Tauranga and to many to list in this blog but make sure you have a swim and take time to climb up Mount Maunganui as the views from the top are breathtaking.
Day 5: Mount Maunganui to Rotorua – 80km
After leaving the Mount as it is referred to by locals our map takes you the adventure capital of the North Island, Rotorua. The ride to Rotorua takes you through our beautiful countryside and the roads are mostly 2 lane with some tight winding parts up and over the hills. The map only shows a few attractions in Rotorua but you could spend a good week here experiencing both adventure and cultural activities in this geothermal wonderland.
As you ride into Rotorua the smell of rotten eggs will hit you first and no it is not your brakes but the Sulphur, it will grow on you (maybe).
I can recommend the Rotorua Canopy Tours which combines ziplining with forest walks the only difference is you are walking through the tree canopy at least 30 meters up in the air on swing bridges.
Skyline Rotorua is another location that is a must. Accessed by gondola once you at the top you have a number of activities including the must do luge which is lots of fun for young and old.
You can not leave Rotorua without experiencing one of the many cultural attractions either, be it a guided tour through the geothermal landscape at Te Puia or the Maori Cultural evenings they hold.
Do not forget to jump on your bike and explore the outskirts of Rotorua and to visit the Green and Blue Lakes, or visit Te Wairoa the buried village where the famous Pink and White terraces once were.
Day 6: Rotorua to Raglan – 175km
After experiencing all that Rotorua has to offer follow the map to Matamata the gateway to Hobbiton for those of you familiar with the Lord of the Rings books or movies. A visit to the Hobbiton movie set is a must for fans of the movies and this is just a short ride out of Matamata.
After immersing yourself in all things hobbit its back on the bike and we thought you would like to see the West Coast of New Zealand and what better place to see this is the world famous surf beach at Raglan. This ride will take you through some great small towns and have you on our main State Highway for some of the journey but only for a short time then its back on to those sometimes challenging country roads.
The township of Raglan sits on the harbour inlet and the beach is another 10 minutes down the road with spectacular views from car parks on the hills.
Day 7: Raglan to Auckland – 148km
Leaving Raglan the map takes you through the less used back roads back towards Auckland and puts you on to the Auckland motorway at Pokeno and from here it is a straight run down the motorway exiting at 443 and heading back to our office in Howick.
I hope it is helpful for you planning your trip to New Zealand. More blogs are available on our website and cover many of the great riding routes that are available in our great little country or maybe they will inspire you to create your own.