Day 6: Tonight you’ll be heading back to Auckland. As always, there is always an opportunity for detour sightseeing in New Zealand and we shall do that. Driving North, head towards Paeroa, a small town just 15 minutes away. What’s notable about Paeroa is the collection of antiques and second-hand shops that line the main road running through town. You don’t have to be a collector to browse, but there are always something interesting to pick up as a souvenir. I once picked up a brand new coffee plunger for just NZ$10. It’s a great deal! The shops here tend to close very early in winter, so coming here in the morning offers the best chance of checking out the shops.
If antiques is not your cuppa, then head on towards to the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is a very popular weekend and holiday destination for Kiwis. Famed for its beaches and forests, it is most notable for its iconic Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. Cathedral Cove, with the track located at Hahei, is about 1.5 hours north of Paeroa. The walk itself is about 1.5 hours return, moderate fitness is required. If hiking is not your thing today, then drive along the coasts in the Coromandel and take in the views of some the most dramatic seascapes in New Zealand.
Taking State Highway 25 and driving further north, you will come across the Waiau Kauri Grove. The Kauris are truly magnificent native trees of New Zealand, and they can live for more than 2000 years. Prized for its hardy timber and gum (as varnishes and resins), today the trees themselves are under siege due to diseases. The Waiau Kauri Grove offers an easy and refreshing walk after a long drive. Travel 3km south of Coromandel Town, turn left into The 309 Road and drive on for 8km. The carpark is on the right.
Your final destination tonight is Auckland. Round up your trip to New Zealand with a nice lobster dinner at one of the Chinese restaurants here. Known as ‘crayfish’ locally, the NZ rock lobster has become rather expensive lately due to strong demands. My personal favourite restauant for this is the Star Seafood Restaurant. Ask for the 上汤龙虾伊面 （- transliterated) Crayfish Noodle Fried in Superior Broth). Be forewarned, it does cost a bit. It will cost between NZ$100 and NZ$150 for a lobster, depending on size. The noodles will cost extra. Star Seafood Restaurant is located at: 451 Ti Rakau Drive, Auckland 2112.
And there, after a nice lobster dinner, you should be ready for your flight the next day.
Day 5 (Stratford – Te Aroha) | Intro of 6-Day North Island Itinerary (N6A)