Not a lot here, but were some nice carvings in the street.
The carvings depict the historic lifestyle of the age, from the arrival of white people. They portray the progress of civilisations introducing agriculture, horticulture and trading
The essences of these carvings is survival, the eastern one being a bird, the western, Pikopiko (frond) - the food of our forefathers.
Opotiki has a large population of Maori's, over 50%.
"THE PATHWAY TO THE SUNRISE" - The first sun in the world.
Two magnificently carved poles located near the eastern end of Waiotahi Beach beach, meant a stop for us to find out what they were all about.
Te ara Ki Te Tairawhiti - "The pathway to the sunrise", depict the arrival of the Maori people to Opotiki, with the European Soldier and the Maori Wahine (woman) portraying the togetherness of the races.
They show the voyaging wak Te Arautauta, and TeTohora (the whale) in the realm of Tangaroa (the sea)
One thing we noticed when travelling around the East Cape, was the large Maori population here. Most of the towns and smaller settlements we passed through had traditional marae (meeting places) and churches.
Many Eastland places are tapu (sacred) to Maori, requiring local tribal permission for access. Sacred Mt Hikurangi (1754m) is the legendary resting place of the waka Maui used when fishing up the North Island.
Make sure you keep an eye out as you pass through the small towns for all the Maori carvings, we saw so many, and I didn't think to stop and take photo's until nearly at the end of our journey. Worse, they were all different!
What a beautiful little church we saw sited on a headland on its lonesome. Painted white, and in good condition, this was the Raukokore Anglican church which was built in 1894.
It is a must for a photo!
Still heading along East Cape, to the left, we could see Mt Hikurangi, well at least half of it, as the rest was in the clouds.
This Mountain is recognised and accepted as the first point on the mainland to greet the morning sun. This highest peak (1752 metres) in the rugged Raukumara Range is revered by the Ngati Porou tribe as its sacred mountain. For them Mt Hikurangi is more importantly the resting place of Nukutaimemeha, the waka (canoe) of Maui, who is said to have fished up the North Island of New Zealand.
If you are planning to visit, please make contact with the Ngati Porou Visitor Centre before you do so. The Visitors Centre offers 4x4 Tours to the Maui Whakairo, as well as a summit guide and an overnight guide.
Ngati Porou Visitor Centre
144 Waiomatatini Rd, Ruatoria
We did the 22 kms on mostly unsealed no-exit road from Te Araroa takes to the most Easterly point on mainland New Zealand.
The historic East Cape lighthouse stands 154 metres above sea level and is accessed by a walking track of some 700 steps...we didn't do this.
Unless you climb the steps, I really didn't think the drive was worth it. I guess I can say that I have been to the most easterly point in New Zealand.
And so, it was time to leave Gisborne and start a journey arouond the East Cape.
Our 1st stop was at Tolaga Bay which is both a bay and small town located 45 kilometres northeast of Gisborne. It was named Tolaga Bay by Lt. James Cook
The region around the bay is rugged and remote, and for many years the only access to the town was by boat.
Because the bay is shallow, a long wharf was built between 1926 and 1929 - the longest in New Zealand.
In the 1830s there was a thriving flax trade involving early European traders.
There was heaps of driftwood washed up on the beaches here, I would have loved some of that at home!
The one building of note because it looked "so english and out of place" was the Tologa Bay Inn!
Gisborne has so much to see and do, a must visit is the information centre.
We found it quite easily, as out the front was a totem pole which was a gift from Canada on the bicentennial anniversary of Cook's landing in the country.
Did you know that Gisborne IS THE 1ST CITY IN THE WORLD EACH DAY TO GREET THE SUNRISE EACH DAY!
To get a panoramic view of Poverty Bay, the city, and the harbor and rivers we headed up to Kaiti Hill Lookout. A statue of Captain Cook looks out to Young Nick's Head, at the opposite end of the bay. The views from this lookout are fantastic, I think if you are in Gisborne, then this should be one of your MUST VISIT'S
At the foot of Kaiti Hill is one of New Zealand's largest carved Maori meeting houses, Te Poho-o-Rawiri Marae.
Whanarua Bay is often described as the most picturesque bay on the mainly rugged, rocky western coast of the Eastland peninsula. On my way north, I couldn't find anywhere suitable to stop and photograph it, but on my way south a few days later, I stopped at the Pacific Coast Macadamia farm and discovered that was a great place to look down on the bay.
At the Nut House Cafe here you can enjoy delicious coffee and some macadamia treats, in the sub-tropical vegetation of this little piece of paradise. A wander through the macadamia nut tress in spring is lovely, as the fragrance of the trees' flowers fills the air. At one end of Pacific Coast Macadamias land there are fine views down over Whanarua Bay.
At the township of Te Araroa, out near East Cape itself, you can see what is reputedly the oldest and largest Pohutukawa tree in the world. The pohutukawa is a special tree to most northern New Zealanders. It is our "Christmas tree" and an icon of home to those kiwis from the northern part of North Island. They're one of those special symbols of home to us.
This one is named Te Waha o Rerekohu.
Watch out for some pesky Australian overstayers that have made their homes in nearby trees. They are scary magpies that will flap around your head and send the shivers through you!
The East Cape lighthouse, perched on East Cape itself, is the eastern most point of mainland New Zealand. The road out to it begins on the waterfront in the small township of Te Araroa and is narrow and unsealed for the majority of its 20+km length. The road is well graded and the middle part is sealed. The drive out is spectacular, particularly where the road winds around cliff ledges. At the end of the road is a place to park and some public toilets. Leave your car there and walk about 200m back down the road to a signpost and farm gate that marks the beginning of the steep, but short climb to the lighthouse. Apparently there are 700 steps! No special walking shoes are required, as the steps are wooden and the path is generally well formed.
The view from the lighthouse is well worth the climb. There is an interesting sign board containing information about the lighthouse's history and nearby East Island.
Be alert for cows, sheep and horses on or beside the road. Drive slowly past these animals.
Perched on a low piece of land jutting out into the sea at Raukokore, on the western side of the Eastland peninsula is this historic Anglican church - a perfect photo-stop on a road trip along SH35.
511-513 Gladstone Road, Gisborne, New Zealand
Good for: Business
7 Oneroa Road, Wainui Beach, Gisborne, New Zealand
Good for: Business
784 Gladstone Road, P O Box 588, Gisborne, 4010, New Zealand
Good for: Couples