and the Pacific Coast Highway
Hotels in Mount Maunganui
Hotels in Tauranga
pictures of East Cape
you are leaving Hawke's Bay
and heading north you have a couple of choices to make.
you make a quick trip to Taupo and the Bay
of Plenty beyond, or take a longer exploration by way of Gisborne
and East Cape?
times the quick trip would be chosen but it was a beautifully clear
dawn and so the much-talked about East Cape road was selected.
what an excellent journey it proved to be.
start with some pretty amazing geography between Napier
and Gisborne and there are hot springs at Morere you can take a
break at if you feel like unwinding.
Gisborne seems a pleasant enough town with a statue of New Zealand's
claimant Captain James Cook at the Taruheru River mouth and another
of the cabin boy Nick Young who first spotted New Zealand.
an observatory on Kaiti Hill and another Cook statue at its foot
as this was the spot the British explorer first set foot on New
the point of the journey was not to stay in Gisborne, which can
be visited at a later stage, but to take on the lengthy East Cape
been told about it for ages and was determined to make the run and
see why people enjoyed it so much.
to start with it is a beautiful journey.
reminds me in many ways of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia,
with gorgeous sea views and a nice road on which to zip around.
you try not to select a time of year when the roadworks gangs are
out otherwise a 6.5 hour journey will blow out to 8 hours plus.
is also a journey back in time as the small settlements and towns
on the route are a world away from easier-to-get-to destinations.
biggest settlement is Tolaga Bay, which boasts the longest pier
in the country.
very impressive 660m structure is an old wooden wharf and it is
well worth strolling along it to get a different view of the beach
that is covered with driftwood.
Bay has a camping ground with cabins near the pier and three kilometres
north, in the township proper, there are other places to stay and
places to get meals.
Bay also has petrol available and to be on the safe side I would
recommend filling up here before heading further north.
supplies are not always obviously available on the coast road and
you don't want to be running out of fuel mid-journey.
good news is that decent loo facilities are easily found.
district council has clean toilet blocks in towns around much of
the East Cape and these green buildings are among the best public
ones I've been forced to use while travelling.
Puia Springs is another settlement with plenty of facilities as
well as nearby hot springs.
you take the turnoff here on to the Waipiro Bay loop road you will
find plenty of good spots for surfing and fishing.
along the coast road from Te Puia Springs you get to Tikitiki where
there is the very pretty historic St Mary's Church.
up is Te Araroa a really attractive town that has New Zealand's
largest pohutukawa tree. These are fabulous trees and this one is
an absolute giant.
wild beach here - like many on the East Cape - is covered with driftwood
and would be fabulous to wander along in winter.
long as you are rugged up, of course.
Te Araroa you can take a turnoff to the East Cape lighthouse - the
most easterly in the world.
is a 22km journey but at the end of it fisherman and scuba divers
will find some fabulous spots to enjoy their passions.
a half-hour drive from Te Araroa to East Cape and then you can make
a climb up some 150 metres to the lighthouse where some very fine
views await those who make the effort.
heading west across the top of the East Cape you can turn off to
Lottin Point, where you will find a motel and some more terrific
fishing and diving areas.
pretty spot is Waihau Bay where the town is built overlooking a
rocky inlet with views out to Cape Runaway.
is a deep-sea fishing club there and all facilities are available.
on from Waihau Bay at Raukokore is a stunning historic Anglican
church that will make that perfect holiday picture.
you approach from the east you will see it across the water and
it does pay to stop and get a few snaps. Then
you can drive around and get a close up of the 100-year-old building.
next potential stop for travellers is at Te Kaha, a fishing town
that offers good swimming, accommodation and good facilities.
town of Opotiki pretty much
ends the Pacific Coast Highway and then it's on to the lovely Ohope
beach, Whakatane and then
into the Western Bay of Plenty and Tauranga.
is a really interesting trip and too much for the one day I did
would recommend at least two days - possibly three - and more if
you have the children with you.
Take the time to enjoy the bucolic feeling of the East Cape and
its raw scenic beauty.