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