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Eastland Road Trips

Opotiki to Hicks Bay

Leaving the game fishing centre of the Eastern Bay of Plenty along the Pacific Coast Highway we soon arrive at Opotiki. Opotiki is a quiet and peaceful seaside town. Take some time here to go kayaking, fishing or for a jet boating adventure.

As you leave town, the Pacific Coast Highway changes to SH35 and continues hugging the spectacular coastline. It passes through the small settlements of Opape, Torere, Hawai and Houpoto. Here the mouth of the Motu River meets the ocean.

The road skirts around the Motu River delta and continues through Whitianga Bay – not to be confused with its Coromandel cousin!

From here there is a great winding drive that stays tantalisingly close to the coast all the way to Te Kaha, and on to Whangaparaoa near Cape Runaway.

Next stop is Potaka where you can take a left turn about 3km to Lottin Point – a delightfully secluded bay lined with pohutukawa trees. Returning back to SH35, it's a straight drive east to the coast and beautiful Hicks Bay.

Hicks Bay to Gisborne

Leaving Hicks Bay we follow the coast around to Te Aroha. There is an unsealed road that creeps around the coast all the way to East Cape Lighhouse. This a dead end road about 15km long, so be aware you’ll have to come back the same way.

Now we cut across the cape inland to Tikitiki at the delta of the Waiapu River. There is a lovely church there with a magnificent stained-glass window dedicated to the members of the Ngati Porou Maori tribe who died fighting in the First World War.

We turn back inland and follow the gorge through to Te Puia Springs – a great place to stop and soak your tired bones in a warm mineral pool.

From there it’s a short trip over to Tokomaru Bay where you’ll find excellent amenities and great fishing spots.

The road climbs along the ridge south towards Tolaga Bay. About halfway there is a left turn down to Anaura Bay, which was the second landing point for Captain James Cook.

Tolaga Bay is the busiest town on the East Cape and a good point for replenishing your food and beverages. Tolaga Bay is renowned for its fine cashmere knitted garments.

From there drive south to a left turn down to Whangara Bay. After that SH35 rejoins the coast for most of the drive into Gisborne.

It is recommended that you have detailed road maps before departing on your trip