Leaving from Auckland?
Head south out of Auckland, your escape starts as you turn off SH2. Perhaps take a chilled out day with some stops enroute. Head along the Hauraki Plains. Maybe divert and take a break at Ngatea Watergardens or Blueberry Orchard (December to February). Continue on and cross over the Kopu Bridge. Head right at the roundabout and take the next left onto SH25A.
Head up and over the hills for about 40 minutes then you back onto SH25 you could go right on Hikuai Settlement Rd into Pauanui Beach approximately a 10 minute drive. With its 3km coastline its popular for long strolls, surfing (lessons available) & swimming.
Back on the road and the next town you will come through is Tairua. This is a great place for some refreshments before heading over the hill through to Whenukite. Taking the turn off to the right you can discover Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove, Hahei and Cooks Beach.
We highly recommend a visit to the iconic Hot Water Beach. Something special and unique is available here all year round. Pack a spade or buy/hire locally and you can create your own spa pool in the sand! Time it right (two hours either side of low tide) and the right beach location. Great coffee available from Hot Waves Cafe. You could also visit Moko Artspace, the sculpture garden, art and design gallery.
Hahei is the gateway point to the famous Cathedral Cove. Only accessible on foot or by boat (water taxi’s are available). A “must visit” site.
Cooks Beach is a historically significant area with Captain Cook anchoring in this long sandy bay in 1769. This area offers bush tracks with awesome views, Shakespeare Reserve, Flaxmill Bay, Front Beach, picturesque Lonely Bay & ferry landing (the oldest wharf in Australasia, built in 1837). Be sure to take a quick harbour ride to Whitianga. Cooks Beach is also home to Mercury Bay Estate for wine tasting, cellar door sales or dining.
Back onto SH25 and Whitianga, the local town of the area, is only 20 minutes away and we recommend you base yourself here for at least 3 nights to do justice to the region with all its attractions and sites to see.