The coast between Kaiaua and Miranda is wild and open and stunning. The vast salt marshes attract thousands of migratory wading birds for summer every year, and a bright white shell bank chenier plain rims the shoreline.
The birds make the incredibly arduous 10,000 km journey south from the Arctic circle to arrive in October and fly north again in March. The Shorebird Centre is a great place to learn about theses intrepid international travellers, and the bird hide at the Robert Findlay Wildlife Reserve is a prime place to view them.
There are many reasons to stop in addition to the willdfe: taste award-winning fish 'n' chips and admire pottery/crafts in Kaiaua and enjoy the bush walks and orchards of the Whakatīwai Regional Park. The hot springs at Miranda are always a great stop off, and the Holiday Park there is a Kiwi favourite. They have their own thermal pool as well, lots more besides.
The fishing is great and the less-travelled route rewards you with beautiful views of the Firth of Thames and the Coromandel Ranges. In the early 1900s the Hauraki Plains was a large swamp, but today after extensive drainage work, is highly productive dairy land - contrasting with the protected wilderness wetlands such as the Kopuatai Peat Dome.