If you answered yes, you are right AND also wrong. There is more than one Pacific Coast Highway around the world and yes there is one on the coast of California. From information available it is a beautiful and scenic route. Wikipedia says “The Pacific Coast Highway (also called PCH) is one of America's most famous highways (probably second to Route 66)”
But there is also a Pacific Coast Highway hidden away in New Zealand bordering the Southern Pacific. I believe it is just a beautiful as its American counterpart and even more picturesque. The New Zealand highway is not only very scenic but also very popular with tourists going by the Harley motorcycle tours, campervan rentals and accommodation on offer. The NZ Pacific Coast Highway also known as State Highway 35 encompasses a large area of the upper North Island of New Zealand. Hugging the coastlines of five distinct North Island regions this scenic route links Auckland with the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Eastland finishing or starting at the spectacular Hawke's Bay in the south. The Pacific Coast Highway takes in some of New Zealand's most spectacular coastline fringed in New Zealand Christmas trees (Pohutukawa trees). The Pacific Coast Highway is a relaxing journey of variety and discovery. The complete route is about 1,000Km’s one way and will take at least 4 to 6 days to travel in one direction if you want the complete Pacific Coast Highway experience.
The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the great touring routes within the Pacific. Not only does it depict the flavour of a unique region within New Zealand, but it provides easy access to the untamed and natural features found only on a Pacific Island.The ride takes you off the beaten track to some of the North Island's most beautiful and remote coastal areas.
The Pacific Coast Highway travels through a spacious region where land and sea intermingle, where the atmosphere is a curious blend of natural attractions and easy going recreation, and where the people are a pleasant mix of Polynesian and European cultures.
A few weekends ago before the real winter weather set in, my riding buddy and I decided to do a day ride out of Auckland. Unfortunately, we did not have 4 to 6 days to enjoy the complete Pacific Coast Highway experience. So we did the the first leg (day one) of the trip up to the Coromandel Peninsula. This was a spectacular ride and I am looking forward to riding the rest of the Pacific Coast Highway if the first leg to Coromandel.
Auckland to Coromandel
We took the slower, scenic route which winds through farmland to the village of Clevedon before going around the edge of the Firth of Thames past the beachside settlements of Kawakawa Bay, Orere Point and Kaiaua. We passed Miranda’s hot springs and bird sanctuary on the Seabird Coast. The road to Coromandel clings to the edge of the coast. You enjoy amazing views and a constant procession of beautiful beaches fringed with Pohutukawa trees. The relaxing ride takes in a coastal rural landscape bordered by the Hauraki Gulf.
The ride around the Coromandel Loop is regarded as one of New Zealand's finest motorcycling roads with long straights many twists and turns along the Hauraki Gulf, through Pohutukawa covered roads, over mountain passes and into dense native forests. It goes without saying that there are many motorcycles on the route with many places to stop for coffee or a bite to eat. The east coast is lined by beaches, such as Hot Water Beach with its geothermal activity allowing you a hot saltwater spa and Cathedral Cove which is a “must visit”.
The beach town of Whitianga is home to a fishing fleet - expect to eat some excellent seafood while you’re here. Best things to do include surfing, surf casting and beach walks.
The historic township of Thames was founded during the Coromandel gold rush. It’s a great place for walks – around the town, through the bush and on the mangrove board walk.
Formerly a gold-mining and timber town, Coromandel is now a haven for artists, craftspeople and conservationists. It has many well-preserved Victorian buildings and an interesting museum.
The Coromandel loop is around 200Km’s and including the trip from Auckland is to the Coromandel Peninsula and back the whole route is over well over 400km’s and will take you over 6 hours to ride. This does not leave much time for coffee stops or sightseeing. If you just want to get out and ride for the whole day on a scenic route with a variety of road conditions then this is for you. However, if you want to take in the scenery and enjoy the beauty and sites of the Coromandel I would recommend you do it over two days or you will miss what the Coromandel has to offer.
Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the rest of the Pacific Coast Highway at this point in time as I have not ridden it. Hopefully I will be able to do that in the not too distant future. But I have spoken to local residents who have driven or ridden on the Pacific Coast Highway. They all have similar comments and it is all very positive and they highly recommend driving or riding the route. Below is a snippet which reflects some of the route.
The remaining Highway
One of the most beautiful riding routes in New Zealand – and perhaps in the world - is around the East Cape of the North Island. This follows State Highway 35, otherwise known as the Pacific Coast Highway. The route takes in the easternmost point in New Zealand and starts at the Bay of Plenty town of Opotiki and finishes at Gisborne City in Poverty Bay. One of the unique things to do on the east coast is to be the first in the world to witness the sunrise.
I hope you are now aware that the Pacific Coast Highway in New Zealand is a motorcycle rider’s utopia that offers a unique riding experience with a Pacific atmosphere which includes unparalleled natural beauty and good roads with welcoming locals.
Below are some motorcycle related websites that offer information about tours in the region as well as the routes and other information that covers the Pacific Coast Highway.