Drive from Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

February 14, 2014

Anxious to experience some of New Zealand’s incredible scenery, we started along the coastal route on the Firth of Thames and took the long way around the Coromandel Peninsula to our destination on the east side, Tairua.  While a pretty drive, it’s a good lesson in keeping your expectations in check.

Coromandel Peninsula - Firth of Thames

The East Coast Rd runs along the coast but is relatively flat and only moderately scenic. With 74 species of shore birds it’s popular with birders but otherwise not that interesting.

Coromandel Peninsula - West side

Once past the town of Thames the coastal highway climbs the hills of the peninsula with nice views. In Coromandel town we stopped at the Coromandel Smoking Co. to pick up some smoked mussels and Don’s favorite, smoked mackerel. If you like smoked fish it’s worth the pilgrimage to this small shop.

Coromandel Peninsula - Kauri Reserve

From here we took scenic Route 4 that cuts across the peninsula, stopping at a kauri grove where we walked the short trail to see these giant trees that at one time covered the peninsula.

Coromandel Peninsula - Kauri Reserve

From here Route 4 connects with the coastal road on the east side of the peninsula which is really  more inland than coastal with views of rolling cultivated hills interspersed with islands of native jungle. Amazing tree ferns! We reached Tairua by 4:30.

Coromandel Peninsula - Kauri Reserve

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