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East Coast and East Cape   - a 6   day New Zealand Tour

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.

Next date tbc
$ TBC - twin share

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 new inclusions added.

Our first is to Awakeri Rail Adventures - here we travel along a piece of New Zealand’s rich rail history and experience the natural beauty and adventure from the comfort of a rail-cart, cleverly adapted to be self-driven along the rail tracks - it's easy and a lot of fun. Our rail adventure today now also includes a 'sausage sizzle' at the bush cafe!

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 as we are welcomed onto the marae 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.

Should the marae visit be unavailable then we have a great 'Plan B'  arranged with a visit to a local brewery for a brewery tour and beer tasting. Tonight we stay at a Whakatane motel and enjoy dinner at a top local restaurant.

Day 2 - Before departing Whakatane today we now enjoy a short 2 hour cruise out to

Moutohorā/Whale Island. This pest-free oasis is home to a number of New Zealand’s rare and endangered plants, birds and reptiles.  While we do not go ashore on the island there will be plenty of stops along its coastline and our expert wildlife guides on board will aim to show you as much of the abundant wildlife as possible.  This is a new inclusion in the tour but is weather dependant, so can not be guaranteed to operate on all trips.

We then head back to shore and continue eastward along the coast road, past the tranquil oyster beds on Ohiwa Harbour as we take in the scenery of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Our next destination is to a little known area of preserved native bush, a remnant of a once extensive forest, set aside as a reserve in the early 1900's. An expert guide will take us on a short walk to a giant Puriri tree, estimated to be over 2000 years old. This hollow 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 a local cafe 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 area on the museum's three levels, with an amazing collection of all things New Zealand, including farming, household, vehicles, , business, instruments and much more.

We also visit the 100 year old Shalfoon and Francis Grocery and Hardware Stores just along the road. Opened in the late 1800's, this 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 resort hotel. The Opotiki Museum visit may be on our final day if the Whale Island cruise goes ahead.

DAY 3 - After a leisurely breakfast, we look forward to a very relaxing day enjoying the drive along the Pohutukawa lined coast, providing breathtaking views over the Bay of Plenty. We visit a 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 available to taste and purchase. Further along we stop at the much photographed and perfectly situated Anglican church at Raukokore, before heading to Waihau Bay for lunch (included today) at the historic hotel overlooking the bay.

After lunch we then head past Cape Runaway before arriving early afternoon at our accommodation at Lottin Point. This tranquil location far off the main highway overlooks the bay and the afternoon is yours to enjoy as you wish. Perhaps take a stroll down to the bay, passing through a farm with some interesting stock grazing in the paddocks. Or join us for an afternoon visit out to the East Cape Lighthouse, travelling along the coast on 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 before our pre dinner drinks as we dine together this evening.

DAY 4 - After a relaxed breakfast, we head further around the East Coast and onwards to the city of Gisborne. Though a longer drive today we have plenty of stops along the way to break the journey. Our first is to a local Manuka honey business where our host will give us an entertaining explanation of the life cycle of the bees. Before departing we can taste some of the honey derived products and buy morning tea if you want. 

Just along the coast is Te Araroa, where we can see New Zealand’s oldest Pohutukawa tree - a magnificent sight, especially if the seasonal bloom is in flower. Then on to another iconic building, the ornately carved church at Tikitiki. This amazing building is full of history. We pass many interesting settlements on our way to Tokomaru Bay for lunch.

We continue along the coast to another must see destination, the 660m long wharf (New Zealand’s longest) at Tolaga Bay. This really is a sight to behold and a walk to the end will certainly give you a good workout! Departing for Gisborne we pass the famous surf beaches at Wainui, before arriving at our Gisborne hotel, our base for the next 2 nights. 

DAY 5 - After breakfast at a local cafe in town 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 and our qualified skipper will give us the history of the boat as we cruise the calm waters of Poverty Bay. Back on shore we are joined by a local guide to explore the city and learn more of its history. We take a drive to the lookout point above the port which has great views of the city and coastline. We visit the point where Captain Cook first set foot on shore in New Zealand 1769 as well as his and Young Nick's statue across the Turanganui River.

Gisborne is well known as a wine producing area, with its dry, sunny climate, fertile soil and cooling afternoon sea breezes, it is perfect for viticulture. We will visit Matawhero Wines to taste a range of wines, accompanied by tasting platters with cheeses and meats (our lunch today). Matawhero is also the location of the oldest building in the East Coast district, its school room dating from the 1860s. Leaving 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).  You can upgrade to the "Stingray Feeding Experience" if you wish. Heading back into Gisborne, 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 along the coast back to Tauranga. You’ll be dropped at your door with a smile on your face – having enjoyed a memorable visit to a special region of New Zealand.

All Hinterland multi-day tours can be taken by clients from any region of New Zealand or Australia. Please contact us for details. Additional charges may apply.

What's Included:

  • 6 days of touring

  • 5 nights quality accommodation

  • Door to door service (Tauranga area)

  • 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 Mataatua Marae

  • Ride the rails on the Awakeri Rail Adventure

  • 2 hour cruise to Whale Island

  • The Opotiki Museum & 100 year old shops

  • 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 historic winery

  • Plenty of stops along the way

A single room surcharge of $ TBC applies

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.

The boat cruise to Whale Island is weather dependent so we can not guarantee it will be available for all trips. Our alternative is a visit to a local brewery for a tour and beer tasting.

An additional charge will apply if you wish to upgrade to the stingray feeding experience.

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