North Island Coromandel Peninsula (TourzPlus™)
The Coromandel Peninsula is a cycling gem lying east of Auckland in one of New Zealand's most diverse and breathtaking locations. Luxuriant forest and mountain backdrops set the scene. See a giant kauri tree and ride a bush railway. A farm stay will give you the opportunity to meet some real "Kiwis". Finish at the geothermal spa town of Rotorua with the opportunity to experience the local Maori culture.
Learn more about our TourzPlus™ partner tours and how they differ from regular ExperiencePlus! bicycle tours.View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Meet in Auckland
Highlights: Orientation, views from volcano
The tour starts in Auckland, New Zealand's largest and most cosmopolitan city. It is situated on a narrow isthmus between two beautiful harbours, the Manukau on the Tasman Sea, and the Waitemata on the Pacific Ocean. Rides around the inner harbour offer excellent views of Rangitoto and other islands in the Hauraki Gulf, as well as a panoramic view of the city and its distinctive harbour bridge. The first day of our trip is designed to allow visitors to settle in. Your tour leader will hold a trip orientation meeting prior to lunch. We will then drive to one of Auckland's extinct volcanoes for fabulous views of the city and surrounds. Time will be set aside to fit you to your rental bike or unpack your own and take a short ride along the harborside.
Day 2: Auckland to Thames
Highlights: Views of the Coromandel Range, Miranda Bird Sanctuary
After breakfast we leave the city and suburbs by minibus and head for the village of Clevedon on the edge of the Hunua Ranges. It is here we start cycling on quiet roads. On reaching the coast at Kawakawa Bay we will have our first sight of the Peninsula with the Coromandel Ranges rising steeply from the sea. Continuing south down the Firth of Thames the narrow road hugs the coast on its way to Miranda Bird Sanctuary. There are two climbs today with a final flat run from Miranda. We'll transfer to Clevedon on the outskirts of Auckland to begin our ride.
There are three riding options today:
Option A - Clevedon to Waharau 38 km / 24 mi
Option B - Clevedon to Waitakaruru 64 km / 40 mi
Option C - Clevedon to Thames 90 km / 56 mi
Day 3: Thames to Coromandel
Highlights: Rapaura Water Gardens, historic goldmining town of Coromandel
From Thames we head north past many pohutukawa trees leaning over road and beach. At Tapu we turn inland to visit the picturesque Rapaura Water Gardens and have lunch. Returning to the coast there are two hills to climb - with great views - before the final descent to the old gold mining town of Coromandel. Coromandel once flourished as a goldmining town; now it is a centre for crafts-people and 'alternative lifers'. Some of the old houses have been beautifully restored. The town has an interesting working stamper mill and a great little bush railway.
Ride Option B/C - Thames to Coromandel: 66 km / 41 mi.
Option A - Thames to Wilson's Bay (start of hill) 46 km / 29 mi
Both ride options include a detour to Rapaura Water Gardens, 12 km return.
Day 4: Coromandel to Whitianga
Highlights: Bush railway ride, local pottery, views from the Coromandel Range
This morning we take a ride on the Driving Creek Bush Railway and have the opportunity to view locally made pottery. Crossing the range to the east side of the peninsula, we have magnificent coastal views and great riding down to Whitianga.
B / C - Coromandel to Whitianga: 46km / 29 mi
Option A - Summit of Whangapoua to Whitanga: 41 km/ 25 mi
Day 5: Whitianga to Whangamata
Highlights: Hahei beach, rides past vineyards, forests and coastline
This morning we take the ferry to Flaxmill Bay. Past Purangi Vineyards, we head for Hahei where we can laze on the beach or stroll along the golden sands. After lunch those who have the energy can tackle the Pumpkin Hill climb with its views of Shoe and Slipper Islands and enjoy a great descent to Tairua. Continuing around Tairua Harbour to Hikuai, we climb through Tairua Forest and down to another fabulous beach at Opoutere.
Bicycling Distances Option B / C - Whitianga to Whangamata: 74 km / 46 mi
Option A - Whitianga to Tairua: 38 km / 24 mi
Day 6: Whangamata to Matamata
Highlights: "Rails-to-Trails" ride, Karangahake Gorge
Leaving the coast, we head inland through Karangahake Gorge to the Waikato Valley and south in the lee of the Kaimai Range. An attractive, varied route - gently undulating. An interesting diversion is to take the Historic Walkway (disused railway)through the gorge. We are guests tonight of a local farming family.
Cycling distances: Option C - Whangamata to Matamata 111 km / 69 mi
Option A - Te Aroha to Matamata: 40 km / 25 mi
Option B - Waihi to Matamata: 82 km / 51 mi
Day 7: Matamata to Rotorua
Highlights: Geothermal sights, wonderful bicycle ride
A long gentle climb takes us to the bush clad Mamaku Plateau and a great descent, with panoramic views, to the thermal district of Rotorua. In the afternoon we will have time for some optional extras, such as the Agrodome (a sheep farming theme park) and a visit to the boiling mud pools and geysers for which Rotorua is renowned.
Bicycling option B / C - Matamata to Rotorua: 76 km / 48 mi
Option A - Matamata to Highway 5: 34 km / 21 mi
Day 8: Rotorua
Highlights: Tour ends
There is still much to see and Rotorua so we recommend sticking around, but if you must go home we wish you a safe journey.
HighlightsRide on a bush railway, Geothermal spa town of Rotoura, Auckland, Coromandel PeninsulaKeep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
IncludesUse of a quality 27-speed bicycle, 8 days, 7 nights accommodation, 4 dinners, 3 lunches, & 7 breakfasts
Arrive/DepartAuckland Int'l Airport (AKL) / Auckland
Total Distance247-480 km ( 154-300 miles)
Daily Distance38-118 km ( 24 -74 miles) at your option
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Single Supplement Notes Feb 12-19, 2015 NZ$3490 NZ$655 Book it Mar 11-18, 2015 NZ$3490 NZ$655 Book it
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
From the Road: New Zealand's South Island
New Zealand expatriate and ExperiencePlus! tour leader Annie Apgar offers her thoughts on this tour.
ExperiencePlus! has contracted with national fitness expert Joe Friel to create customized, day by day, training programs to ensure you are ready for your biking tour.
Joe Friel - Cycling past 50
This book contains a wealth of information for the over fifty rider who wants to take charge of the aging process and become a better cyclist at the same time.
- From the Road: New Zealand's South Island