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Rotorua to Gisborne via the East Cape :: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 02:12 AM (GMT)

New Zealand

30th August - 3rd September. Rotorua to Gisborne via East Cape.

From Rotorua we decided to head over to the Bay of Plenty and around the East Cape, making our way to Gisborne. The East Cape has stunning coastal scenery and is pretty much off the main tourist route.
It's a very rural area and is dotted with very tiny communities. We were blessed with a fabulous sunset on the way to Te Kaha, where we stayed for the night at the Te Kaha Holiday Park.

[ Click on the 'Read More...' link ]

Up early and we were off up SH35 towards Te Araroa. Filling up with petrol there, the owner advised to go and see East Cape lighthouse - NZ's most eastern point. When we got there, the lighthouse was on top of the hill and it was a 20 minute uphill walk to the top.
We are so unfit, as we were whacked when we got to the top!

After the torture of the walk, we pushed on and decided to stay at Tolaga Bay for the night. Tolaga Bay boasts NZ's largest wharf at 660 metres and is also where Captain Cook landed in 1769.
The track to Cook's Cove, the exact spot where he landed, is over farmland and as it's lambing season we were unable to have a look. The campsite, Tolaga Bay Holiday Park, was right on the beach next to the wharf.
We couldn't believe how quiet it was, for such a gorgeous location. We had a walk up the wharf the next morning and took some great pictures.

It's only a short drive from Tolaga Bay to Gisborne and we passed through Whangara. Whangara was the setting for Witi Ihimaera's book and now film, Whale Rider.
Sadly, there was very little there about the film.... actually there was very little there full stop!

Finally arrived in Gisborne and it was nice to see a few more people! Gisborne is NZ's most easterly city and as all their marketing says, 'First to see the Sun'. We're not morning people (Is anyone?), so I think you could say we're the last to see it!

We stayed at the Waikanae Beach Holiday Park, right near town. We met a group of Maori men, who were here to prune the kiwi fruit at the orchards, and spent the evening chatting about Maori customs and history, which was really interesting.

Just down the road from our camp, was a place called 'Smash Palace'. This bar, near a scrap yard, has old Morris Minors outside and even a plane on the roof.
It wasn't open when we were there, so we didn't get a look inside.

Enjoy the pix!

Sunset. Somewhere between Hawai and Te Kaha

Hicks Bay

East Cape Lighthouse

Cow crossing.

Tolaga Bay Holiday Park - just us!

Tolaga Bay wharf

Statue of Captain Cook - Gisborne

Us 2.

Sperm Whale grave.

Smash Palace - Gisborne

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