A remarkable area of New Zealand
First in the world to see the sunrise
This was the irst part of New Zealand to be discovered by both Maori and European explorers with Waka arriving from Hawaiiki about 1,000 years ago and followed by Captain Cook almost 250 years ago. Eastland is also the irst place in the world to see the new day’s light, and visitors that set their alarm to get up early will be rewarded with a sunrise like no other. Opotiki is the northern gateway to the East Cape. The jewel in Opotiki’s crown is the Motu Trails, heaven for cycle enthusiasts. The Pakihi Track is a stunningly beautiful mountain bike trail that’s not for the faint hearted and The Dunes Trail starting at the centre of Opotiki is a gentle ride along the coastline. The Eastland section of the Paci ic Coast Highway, State Highway 35, is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives. There is an amazing contrast between the north and south sides of the East Cape. The drive from Opotiki to the East Cape hugs the coastline most of the way. The views are simply stunning and the laidback “coastie” way of life a delight, with many locals still using horses for dayto-day travel. There is something special about the isolation, the sometimes stark beauty and the interesting characters you meet along the way. The beaches and coves are mystical and spooky with their black, almost volcanic looking rocky inlets and native bush growing with wild abandon. Highlights are the impossibly long wharf at Tolaga Bay, stingray feeding at Tatapouri, the magni icent Tikitiki church, the carvings at Mt Hikurangi and sunrise at the East Cape Lighthouse. From the cape to Gisborne the road takes you inland and the landscape transforms into lush rolling high country farms and one long sandy beach after another. At the heart of the region is Gisborne, a laid back coastal town famous for its golden sand beaches. Gisborne is lucky enough to occupy a beautiful and remote part of New Zealand. Its isolation, perched out on the most easterly edge of the country, has shaped the town and its charming coastal character. The city is compact, easy to navigate and surrounded by world class surf beaches, quality vineyards, groves of citrus, magni icent trees and wild rivers that meander towards empty beaches.
A drive to the National Arboretum at Eastwoodhill will take you through the spectacular Poverty Bay Flats, fertile countryside where much of the fresh produce grown in New Zealand comes from, not to mention the plethora of vineyards that make this a stunning drive. Gisborne has a reputation as a producer of ine wines and heading south on State Highway 2, you have the opportunity to experience this at any of the local wineries. Just down the road, Rere Waterfall is a lovely spot to swim and picnic, while for the more adventurous the Rere Rockslide is sixty metres of sheer exhilaration. Be sure to stop in at Morere Hot Springs to soak your travel weary bones in the thermal waters set amid 364 hectares of rainforest. Known for its therapeutic values and rare in the world of hot springs, it is a treat not to be missed. Wairoa, “Long water” in Maori, is the southern gateway to Eastland and the gateway to the wilderness playground of Te Urewera. It extends over some 225,000 hectares and is the largest untouched native forest area remaining in the North Island. It is also home to one of the Great Walks of New Zealand, Lake Waikaremoana. To plan your next escape, download the ‘Out East App’ free from Google Play and the App Store or visit www.EastlandTourism.co.nz.
East Cape Lighthouse