Whitianga is a great base for some adventurous motorhome rental road trips. It lies on the Coromandel Peninsula near the top of New Zealand’s North Island. Holidays to the north and south will lead you to stunning coastlines and secluded beaches.
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For a NZ Campervan Hire holiday along the Coromandel Peninsula, it may be worth checking out campervan hires in Auckland and picking up from Auckland International Airport. Or there are a few Thames campervan hire companies that are closer. At Motorhome Republic we make it easy by bringing all of the options together in one place – just compare the top brands and make your choice. Enter your details into our search engine for a list of Thames Motohome rentals. Filter your search results for the perfect vehicle to suit your needs, no matter how many people are travelling.
Holiday parks and camping grounds are dotted all across the country and are inexpensive and well-equipped. Plus they’re a great place to meet friendly fellow travellers.
Things to do in Whitianga
The main attractions in Whitianga are surfing, surf casting and beach walks. The pace is slow and the locals relaxed. The town livens up over the Christmas break with backpackers, families and locals all vying for a spot on the beaches. Have a go at the banana boat on the Esplanade. It gets up to 40km/h and is fun for the whole family.
Off the coast lay islands that can be explored by boat. The largest of which is Goat Island that protects the beaches of Hahei. Check out the different options for boat charters and tours.
Superb seafood – restaurants and nightlife of Whitiganga
Moto Kitchen is a surprising fine dining restaurant in Whitianga. You can have a seven-course degustation if you want to pack away the motorhome stove, or simply tuck into the fresh seafood. The restaurant is hidden in a residential street and the decor is simple but still stylish.
Cooks Beach has another beautiful restaurant – Go Vino. In this tiny town you truly appreciate the level of sophisticated dining. They have a passion for wine and are attentive to guests. Treat yourself to some real Kiwi hospitality.
Bay Brewery Bistro in Whitianga is less high-brow, but is an institution in its own right. Toby the barman is extremely helpful and accommodating, while the food, particularly the chicken and leek pie, is delicious. For breakfast before low tide, Hot Waves Café on Hot Water Beach is a welcome sight. The eggs are perfect, the coffee hot and the staff friendly.
Where to stay? Accommodation options in Whitianga
Mercury Bay Holiday Park is the perfect base for your motorhome holiday. A 600m flat, easy walk to restaurants, shops, the wharf and swimming beach means you can leave the campervan at the Park and easily explore Whitianga on foot. It’s even family friendly with an outdoor swimming pool, children’s play area and free BBQs.
Whitianga Campground is a traditional Kiwi campground, surrounded by a stream and beautiful native bush. Close to Buffalo Beach and less than a five-minute drive into town, this makes an ideal base for your holiday.
Harbourside Holiday Park is a green camping ground with plenty of space. It backs onto the estuary, perfect for launching a kayak. It’s also only a 450m walk into town and has all the facilities you’ll need.
Whichever camp ground you choose, remember to book early as they pack out in summer.
You can freedom camp in most regions of New Zealand, and on the Coromandel self-contained campers (with toilet and washing facilities on-board) can camp most places - just check with local information centres. Remember, New Zealand prides itself on being clean and green so make sure you take all rubbish with you.
A real Kiwi road trip – Whitianga and beyond
The Coromandel is blessed with hundreds of natural hideaways and secluded beaches, making it the perfect place to explore in your motorhome. No matter where you go, if you follow the coast you’ll find plenty of incredible things to do.
The Pacific Coast Highway leads you to some of New Zealand's most popular beaches. Cooks Beach is a small coastal town with safe swimming waters and sandy beaches. From here you can visit the famous Cathedral Cove at Hahei Beach. Snorkle the marine reserve or hire a kayak to see the whole coastline. Dolphins, penguins and seals often visit the cove so keep a look out.
Don’t miss Hot Water Beach while you’re there. Two hours either side of low tide you can dig to unearth hot spring water to feed your very own beachside spa.
If you continue to follow State Highway 25 you’ll come across many beach towns with gorgeous beaches and surf breaks. Indulge in a round of golf at Pauanui or enjoy fish and chips in Tairua. An hour south of Whitianga is Whangamata, one of the country's most attractive surf towns. It has a relaxed atmosphere where locals wander into cafes off the beach and bush walks and kayaking are everyday activities.
Charter companies run day trips to Mayor Island, which is actually the summit of a volcano rising from the sea floor.
If you head north, Coromanel Town is only half-an-hour away. From there you can explore the tip of the peninsula. Just be careful, the roads aren't all sealed so expect slow going. Colville, Port Jackson, Port Charles and Kennedy Bay are known for their untouched beauty. Whangapoua Beach is a secluded paradise well worth a stop on your way.
Locations further afield include Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch for your campervan hire roadtrip.
Driving Whitianga – motorhome tips
During summer, the roads along the Coromandel and into Auckland can be incredibly busy, so take your time. If you have no patience for jams, time your journey to leave before or after peak times.
The speed limit on the open road is 100km (approx 60mph). In urban areas the speed limit is 50km/h. However, stick to the suggested speeds that appear on yellow road signs, as some corners are more difficult than they appear.