Round the cape
Trip Start Nov 09, 2011
71Trip End Ongoing
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leaving the lake the road continued to wind through tiny townships and eventually matahorua gorge. here the railway viaduct built in 1937 crosses the river at mohaka and at 95m high is the tallest in new zealand and was very impressive..
soon the enormous white chalk cliffs of the mahia peninsula loomed ahead of us and our stop for the night was a campsite at mahia beach....we were one of only 3 vans here as it is 14km each way off the main road ..we arrived early so enjoyed the lovely peaceful sunny afternoon with the sound of the waves...
after a few pictures of the "psuedo seven sisters" we headed on to gisborne
the waves were noisy this morning as the tide came in so we had a disturbed night and woke late..gisborne is one of the first places in the world to see the sun but sadly when we looked out it was cloudy and already children were clambering over rock pools looking for interesting sealife...
we went into town and watched the life guard competitors race into the pacific waves in 8 manned dingys rowing like mad to get out to the marker bouys and back..the surf was high and the waves were huge and only half even managed not to be tossed overboard watching their empty boats rolling back to shore with oars flying everywhere ..all the dingys had their town logos on and we recognised a few places we had been to..it was very interesting to see..
gisborne is where captain cok first landed and there are several memorials to mark this fact..after lunch here we headed along the coast road which wrapped itself round the east cape with many picturesque bays..our first stop was tolaga bay with picture postcard blue sea blue sky chalky rocks and sandy beach..it has an iconic 660m concrete wharf built in 1926 to enable ships to dock with supplies as nowhere else on this coast has any natural harbours..we walked right to the end passing many fishermen and watched as 2 baby sharks were untangled from their line.
we carried on along the road to stop at the deserted town of tokomaru bay and found a nice spot near the beach.
tokomaru was once a prosperous community but now only a supermarket a run down hotel and the peeling facades of 2 closed banks and a post office remain..moving on to tikitiki where the most decorated maorichurch in new zealand sits on a hill overlooking the town..the people here are descendants of toi saga who were the first maoris to settle here and the whole of the east cape is heavily populated with maoris and scattered with their beautiful carvings memorials and meeting houses ..the church was very ornate inside with carved pulpits and pews and the walls covered with tukutuku panels which are woven designs made from wood and reeds.. very beautiful..
we continued through isolated farmland for another 100km to te araroa where the oldest pohutukawa tree very in the world sits on the beach front. its girth is 19m and it is more than 600 years old..we noticed it still had new shoots growing only 2ft off the ground..awesome tree..
the road now closely followed the coastline again with a mix of white sandy bays and rocky shores. at whanarua bay we treated ourselves to a homemade macadamia and manuka honey ice cream at the macadamia farm and cafe which has a seating area overlooking the beautiful bay..then continued along the road to opotiki where we spent the night in a campsite..