We left Napier on Thursday morning, driving through Gisborne and along the east coast of the East Cape (if that’s not too confusing). We reached Gisborne by lunchtime but it didn’t appear to have too much to offer from our tourism point of view, so after lunch we drove on to the East Cape region through some pretty bays and very winding roads. It was beginning to rain by early afternoon.
There were a number of old ports in some of the larger bays along the way. These had their hey day in the 1920’s when coastal ships would call in to pick up meat and wool. The Lonely Planet guide referred to them as ‘crumbling towns’ which was a rather apt description of these little places that were long past their prime.
We stayed the night at a very simple motel at Hicks Bay. The rooms were right out of the 1960’s but on a wet and rainy night we were nice and dry and quite comfortable. The bright pink and yellow quilt on top of the old-gold sheets on the beds would have brightened anyone’s day! The restaurant served a nice meal and a pretty good breakfast.
Just near there is the East Cape lighthouse – the most eastern lighthouse in the world. We didn’t visit it as it was late in the day and it would have been another 20kms each way to drive. However my GPS showed that our longitude was 178.22E so there were less than 2 degrees to reach the 180 degree line. We were almost as east as a road could be.
Today, we have driven to Tauranga. The road from Hicks Bay to followed the coastline a little more closely than on the previous day and if it hadn’t been so rainy and foggy, we would have seen some splendid coastal views. Not many photos today!
We arrived at our hotel Tauranga by mid afternoon and decided on a rest for an hour or so while we watch some of the first one day game on TV between Australia and England.