East Coast and East Cape    - 6   day New Zealand Tour

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New East Coast & East Cape

Whakatane, Ohope, Opotiki, Pacific Coast Highway, Te Kaha, Lottin Point, Hicks Bay, East Cape, Waihau Bay, Tokomaru Bay, Tolaga Bay, Gisborne & much more……​

Hit the Pacific Coast Highway with us and enjoy a relaxing 6 days exploring one of New Zealand’s most untouched regions – the East Coast. Sparkling coastlines, rugged bush and sweeping beaches abound as we take our time and get to know this very unique area of the country. We will stay at 3 stunning locations along the coast, plus 2 nights in Gisborne, with plenty of time to enjoy some great local activities. So come and join us on this extraordinary trip.

2nd Mar 2022
8th Nov 2021

DAY 1 - After picking you up at your door, we head east to begin our adventure, stopping at our favourite cafe enroute for a cuppa and cookie to get introductions made. We then continue on to Whakatane where we have a couple of great inclusions added.

Weather permitting we take a short cruise from Whakatane to the offshore island of Moutohorā/Whale Island. This is a pest-free oasis that is home to a number of New Zealand’s rare and endangered plants, birds and reptiles. Our one hour cruise allows us to circumnavigate the island while the expert guides on board give an insight on how this little known gem is playing its part in the ongoing conservation of our native wildlife. (Note that minimum numbers apply to this excursion).

Next we visit one of the most unique marae in New Zealand - Mataatua - known now as The House That Came Home. We will be invited into the world of the Ngāti Awa people as we discover the legend of the Mataatua Wharenui. Our journey begins by being welcomed onto the marae and into the sacred house through the ancient ritual of pōwhiri. Marvel at the intricacy of the carved representations of the great ancestors of Ngāti Awa before two of the most famous traditions of the tribe are brought to life before your eyes in Hiko, Legends Carved in Light – the award-winning Mataatua visitor experience. Our visit will conclude with an invitation to share some traditional kai. Tonight we stay at a Whakatane motel and have dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2 - Today we continue eastward travelling past the tranquil oyster beds on Ohiwa Harbour as we take in the scenery of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Our first destination today on the outskirts of Opotiki is a visit to a little known area of preserved native bush. This 5 hectare remnant of a once extensive native forest was set aside as a reserve in the early 1900's. An expert guide will take us on a short walk through this stunning forest glade to a giant Puriri tree, estimated to be over 2000 years old. This hollow the tree was used as a resting place for the bones of the Upokorehe Iwi (Tribe).

We now head into Opotiki town, where after some free time to enjoy lunch at one of the main street cafes we pay a visit to the town's extensive and some say eclectic museum. Here you can view the history of Opotiki and the surrounding areas over the three levels of the museum. It has an extensive collection of all things New Zealand, including farming and household implements, vehicles, early pioneer photographs, instruments and almost everything relating to the region. Experience the 100 year old shelves and original fixtures and fittings from Opotiki's Shalfoon and Francis Grocery and Hardware Store, opened in the late 1800s, a truly remarkable step back in time. Leaving Opotiki we get our first taste of the coast road, as tonight we will stay in the old whaling settlement of Te Kaha, at our ocean side hotel.

DAY 3 - After a leisurely breakfast, we look forward to a very relaxing day enjoying the drive further around the coast. The road snakes along the Pohutukawa lined coast, providing breathtaking views over the Bay of Plenty. We will make a visit to a small macadamia nut orchard where the owner will give us an insight into this non-native tree, now being grown in New Zealand with great success, with samples usually available to purchase. As we continue, time for a short stop at the much-photographed and perfectly situated Anglican church at Raukokore, before heading down into Waihau Bay for lunch [included today] at the historic hotel. The fish platters are to die for! 

After lunch we then head out past Cape Runaway before arriving early afternoon at our accommodation at Lottin Point. This tranquil location off the main highway overlooks the bay where we will dine at the in-house restaurant this evening. The afternoon is yours to enjoy as you wish, perhaps take a stroll along the path down to the bay, passing through a farm with some interesting stock grazing in the paddocks. Or you can join us for an afternoon visit out to the East Cape Lighthouse. The route takes us along the coast road to the East Cape, a dramatic route right on the edge of the ocean.  The walk up to the lighthouse [780 steps] is well worth the effort for the stunning 360 degree views.  We return to Lottin Point to freshen up and join the others for pre dinner drinks.

DAY 4 - After a relaxed breakfast with the ocean at our feet, we head further around the East Coast and onwards to the main city of Gisborne. Though a longer drive today we have plenty of stops along the way to break the journey. Our first visit is to a local Manuka honey business where our host will give us an unusual and entertaining explanation of how their bees make honey. Before departing we can taste some of the honey derived products and buy coffee or tea. 

Next a short drive brings us to Te Araroa to see New Zealand’s oldest Pohutukawa tree - a magnificent sight, especially if the seasonal bloom is in flower during our trip. Another iconic feature of the region is the ornately carved church at Tikitiki, this amazing building is part of the East Coast story, time here to take in the atmosphere and history of this special place. We pass more interesting settlements such as Te Puia Springs,  Ruatoria and Tokomaru Bay. This once thriving ocean side settlement is our lunch stop.

We continue down the east coast to another must see destination, the 660m long wharf (New Zealand’s longest) at Tolaga Bay. This is a sight to behold, maybe take a walk to the end if you want. Departing for Gisborne we pass the famous surf beaches at Wainui, take a detour up to the lookout over the city for breathtaking views, before arriving at our harbourside hotel. With two nights in Gisborne we have plenty of time to explore. 

DAY 5 - We begin the day with a short cruise on the MV Takitimu. This historic vessel is believed to be the oldest pilot boat in New Zealand still operating. Our qualified skipper will tell us the history of the boat and also some maritime stories as we cruise the calm waters of Poverty Bay. Next a local guide will join us as we explore the city and learn of its history. Gisborne is also well known as a wine producing area, with it's dry, sunny climate, fertile soil and coastal position bringing cooling afternoon sea breezes, it is perfect for viticulture, so a visit to one of the vineyards is always a must do activity. You can taste a range of wines and make your purchase direct from the wine grower.

Saying goodbye to our local guide, we head along the coast to Tatapouri where you will see the famous stingray feeding operation. Though we stay on shore, our hosts will explain the eco-program they operate and the stories of the Tamariki (Children) of Tangaroa (the Maori God of the Sea), whilst we immerse ourselves in the local culture and magical marine surroundings. The afternoon is free for you to relax or explore the city before we dine out at a local restaurant this evening.

 

DAY 6 - Our last day has one more highlight before we head back to Tauranga - a visit to the world renowned Eastwoodhill Arboretum. This is the National Arboretum of New Zealand and encompasses over 131 hectares planted in exotic and native trees, shrubs and climber plantings. The collection is regarded as the largest and most comprehensive collection of Northern Hemisphere trees south of the equator. We take a Jeep tour with the curator to learn about its history as well as the trees and then a garden walk with one of the expert volunteer guides before our included light lunch.

Then our route home takes us through the scenic Waioeka Gorge, through to Opotiki and on to home. You’ll be dropped at your door with a smile on your face – having enjoyed a memorable visit to a special part of the country.

Whats Included:

  • 6 days of touring

  • 5 nights quality accommodation

  • Door to door service [home pickups]

  • Quality air-conditioned vehicle

  • Full commentary by your guide

  • Some lunches and morning teas

  • Five breakfasts and dinners

  • Guided walk through native forest

  • Maori Cultural visit to a very special Marae

  • Short cruise to an offshore nature reserve

  • The Opotiki Museum

  • A visit to a macadamia nut farm

  • A cruise aboard a historic pilot boat

  • Eco-marine project at Tatapouri

  • Eastwoodhill Arboretum Tour

  • Manuka honey business visit & talk

  • Wine tasting at a top quality winery

  • Plenty of stops along the way

 

You will see:

  • Stunning scenery throughout

  • Whakatane and Ohope Beach

  • Ohiwa Harbour

  • Te Kaha

  • The historic church at Raukokore

  • Waihau Bay & Cape Runaway

  • Lottin Point

  • East Cape Lighthouse

  • Hicks Bay

  • NZ's oldest Pohutukawa tree

  • Tikitiki ornately carved church 

  • Tolaga Bay and the longest wharf

  • Tokomaru Bay

  • Gisborne

  • Waioeka Gorge

  • Plus a few extras along the way!

Not included:

  • Any lunches unless specified* 

  • Morning/afternoon tea stops*

  • Any alcoholic beverages with meals

* Please note, that unless specified in the itinerary we do not usually include the cost of lunches or morning and afternoon tea stops in the tour cost, but we always make stops where there are a range of options available so you can choose what you want, and have flexibility to do things on your own if you wish.