Roadtripping around New Zealand is beautiful no matter where you are at. Driving along the southern and southeastern shores of the Firth of Thames is no exception.
The North Island stretch of road just south and west of the town of Thames, along State Route 25, features picturesque views of the rocky shoreline, mountains sitting off in the distance across the Firth and more.
You will want to get out of your vehicle often to enjoy the water views, just like the sheep do.
Also a part of New Zealand’s Pacific Coast Highway, this part of the country is easily accessible from Auckland. It is about a ninety minute drive, making it great day trip option. As you approach Thames you will be entering the Coromandel Peninsula.
Tip: Continue on along State Route 25 past Thames and you will embark on a 150 km drive around the hilly and forest-covered peninsula, winding up along the Pacific Ocean.
What other New Zealand day trip options would you recommend from Auckland?
You have another day in Auckland and you’re looking for another beach to explore, one that’s off the beaten path. Head over to the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, about a two hours drive and you’ll reach Opoutere Recreation Reserve off State Highway 25.
Opoutere Beach is the last undeveloped white sand beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. The beach is protected from development by pine forest that runs alongside it’s five kilometer length. You’ll go through this pine forest as it’s a ten minute walk to the beach and coast from the main parking area.
When you get to the coastline, you’ll arrive on the south end of the beach. Opoutere Beach is a white, quartz sand surf beach and a popular remote spot for surfing and swimming. The waters are tranquil and clear in the area and in Wharekawa Harbour which begins at the south end of the beach.
Looking out into the Pacific Ocean you can see several small islands off in the distance including Hikunui Island.
The other parts of the beach (the central and more northern parts) are off the main path and are considered clothing-optional. If you’re a bird watcher checkout the nearby Opoutere Wildlife Refuge Reserve.
It’s a relaxing trip over to Opoutere Beach. You’ll enjoy the pine forest walk and the relaxation of being on a remote beach. It’s definitely worth the day trip. What is your favorite beach to take a day trip to from Auckland? From where you live?