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tn 20141226 202743 Richtone(HDR)

We did get to ride the rest of the Pacific Coast Highway in New Zealand. The first part of the route was around the Coromadel peninsula and discussed in a prevoius article. We started our route from Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty. The ride from Auckland to Mount Maunganui is the subject of another article.

The route for the day was from Mount Maunganui to Gisborne around the East Cape.  Google maps route  

The distance was 457km and around 6h30 of riding without stopping and fully sealed. It is on the upper end of distance of a daily range if you want to stop off and see some sights.

 

One of the most beautiful riding routes in New Zealand – and perhaps in the world - is around the East Cape of the North Island. This follows State Highway 35, otherwise known as the Pacific Coast Highway. The route takes in the easternmost point in New Zealand and finishes at Gisborne City in Poverty Bay. One of the unique things to do on the east coast is to be the first in the world to witness the sunrise.

We started the day leaving Mount Maunganui for the first 86km leg to Whakatane which takes just over an hour. Leaving Mt Maunganui you pick up the new motorway which is a toll road that costs $2.00. Its a lovely straight dual carriage way which is a good way to start the day. There is an alternate route via Te Puke, the kiwifruit capital of the world! White Island is one of the tourist attractions loacted near Whakatane and can be reached by sea or air. White Island is arguably the world’s most accessible active marine volcano. It attracts volcanologists and sightseers from around the world, offering a breathtaking view of the awesome powers that continue to shape New Zealand in all their spectacular and dramatic glory.

 

The next leg was from Whakatane to Opotiki which was 44km long and around 40 minutes in duration. The petrol stops from Opotiki should be planned ahead of time if your bike does not have a long range. The route starts to get very rural from Opotiki around the most eastern part of New Zealand.

From Opotiki the route goes to Waihu Bay via Te Kaha. This leg is 102km and around 1h30 in length. There is some beautiful views along this route.

From Waihu Bay the route goes to Te Araroa 56 km away and around 52 minutes. In the tiny coastal settlement of Te Araroa, you'll find Te Waha-o-Rerekohu—New Zealand's oldest and largest pohutukawa tree. It's around 600 years old.

One of the main attractions near Te Araroa is the historic East Cape Lighthouse which stands 154 metres above sea level on Otiki Hill, above East Cape, in the Eastland region of New Zealand. The East Cape Lighthouse is accessed by a walking track of some 700 steps. The walk is definitely worth it for the views at the top! Unfortunately, its a 22 kilometre, mostly unsealed no-exit road from Te Araroa that takes you to the most Easterly point on mainland. Bad news is that its not suitable for road bikes, cruisers and sports bikes. Due to a long day in the saddle the additional 44km would not not have fitted into the schedule.

From Te Araroa the route stays on highway 35 down to Te Puia Springs which is an hour long ride at 68km long. Te Puia Springs has the famous KFC take away there. "Kai For Coasties"

The last leg of the day was from Te Puia Springs down to Gisborne. It's a 101 km trip that takes around 1h25.  Along the route is Tolaga Bay which is both a bay and small town. Because the bay is shallow, a long wharf - the longest in New Zealand (600m) - was built in the 1920s to accommodate visiting vessels. The last cargo ship to use the wharf loaded a cargo of maize in 1967. By 1998, the wharf had deteriorated and was in danger of being closed. In response, the Tolaga Bay Save the Wharf Trust raised funds and gained technical help to restore it.

 

The slow-paced East Cape is a unique and special corner of NZ. It's a quiet place, where everyone knows everyone and community ties are built on rural enterprise and a shared passion for the ocean. Horse-back riding, tractors on the beach, fresh fish for dinner – it's all part of daily life here. Lonely shores lie strewn with driftwood, while picture-postcard sandy bays lure just a handful of visitors.

 

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