The East Coast Explorer
Estimated Time: 3 to 7 days, distance 950km
Auckland to Tauranga
This tour will take you out of Auckland and down the east coast of the North Island. Before you get to the coast our suggested route will take you through the Karangahake Gorge to the mining town of Waihi.
From Waihi it is down the coast to the city of Tauranga. One of New Zealand’s most popular holiday spots is Mount Maunganui which is just across the bridge from Tauranga. This is a lovely spot with plenty of things to do and great beaches for swimming and surfing.
Tauranga to Napier
From Mount Maunganui it is along the coast to Whakatane before you wind up the hill and down to Opotiki. This is where the ride gets really good as these roads are amazing on a bike. The scenery is pretty special as well around this coast. In some of the small settlements, it is like stepping back in time to when life was simple in this part of New Zealand.
There is certainly plenty to stop and explore along this route with many secluded coves, beaches, lighthouses and wharves to see before you ride back into civilisation and the first city to see the sun, Gisborne.
From Gisborne, you will ride down the coast passing by our only rocket launch site at Mahia.
You will arrive in Napier the art deco capital of New Zealand. In the surrounding country side around Napier there are many vineyards and wineries to explore.
In addition, Hawkes Bay and Central Hawkes Bay have many long sandy beaches to explore including a world-famous gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. Be sure to make it up Te Mata Peak for some amazing views over this region.
Napier to Auckland
From Napier we leave the East Coast and travel inland to the North Island’s largest inland lake – Lake Taupo. There is great trout fishing on offer and the Huka Falls are spectacular.
From Taupo it is onto our thermal wonderland of Rotorua, which is also the adventure capital of the North Island. 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 and forests to visit.
Leaving Rotorua the route takes you to Okoroire a small settlement that has a natural hot spring, 9 hole golf course and country pub with accommodation. Relax in the hot pools at night, these are nestled in native bush and if your quite the glow worms will start to glow.
Close to Okoroire is Matamata the gateway to Hobbiton (Lord of the Rings Movie set) and also Tirau a little town on the main highway which has a lot of antique shops.
Although if that does not sound like you then hit the road and head back to Auckland.
This loop could take you a couple of days or a week 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)
Also, have a look at our West Coast & Wellington Explorer