One of our favourite scenic drives in New Zealand, the East Cape Road is a little known route. But it's one you shouldn't miss because it showcases the wild and untouched side of our country.
A lonely stretch of rugged coastline, the East Cape Road tracks from Gisborne to Opotiki (or vice versa) and is known for its striking beauty, Maori culture and lack of modern amenities. On this road you'll step back in time to New Zealand as it was 30 years ago, travelling through remote farming communities and windswept bays. Resplendent in craggy cliffs, pohutukawa trees, white sandy beaches, native forests and endless ocean the area is steeped in Maori history.
You'll see wild horses, sacred Maori burial sites, quaint kiwi stores and New Zealand's Longest pier. You'll pass through the Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, and Tokomaru Bay, home to interesting ruins leftover from a more prosperous time.
Other highlights include pristine Opotiki Bay, Te Kaha - a remote 19th century whaling settlement, Oruaiti Beach - thought on be the nicest on the pacific coast highway and Opape, a site of historical interest where early Maori settlers landed in their canoes.
At just over 320 km/198 miles this drive can be done in four and a half hours at a stretch - but to truly take in all this area has to offer we recommend spending at least two nights and three days on the road.
- North Island Touring
- Cultural Experiences
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Written by: David Kettle