East Coast Epic Roadie
Tauranga / Whakatane/ Hicks Bay / Gisborne/ Rotorua
For all you Cultural Explorers out there – jump in the car and get going on an epic roadie. Maybe you made the trip a few years ago or it’s been on the ‘Wanna Go There One Day’ list for a while – there’s never been a better time to get out and explore!
Take some time to meet the locals and see all the sights – especially to witness the dawning of the worlds new day in the East Coast region of Tairāwhiti-Gisborne.
Tauranga & Mount Maunganui
Discover Tauranga’s history and charm. Explore the Historic Village, a collection of original and replica buildings from early Tauranga set in gorgeous gardens and natural bush surrounds. Visit the nearby Gate Pā battlefield, a significant battleground from the New Zealand Land Wars, and The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga, one of New Zealand’s oldest heritage sites.
Take a short drive over the harbour bridge to the gorgeous seaside town of Mount Maunganui. Enjoy an exciting V8 Trike Tour around beautiful Mount Maunganui and along Mount Main Beach, crowned New Zealand’s best beach. Follow up with a walk around or up Mauao (Mount Maunganui) and take in the stunning coastal views.
Mount Maunganui to Whakatāne (1 hour)
As you drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, be sure to stop in at Whakatāne for one of New Zealand’s most authentic Māori cultural experiences – Mataatua: The House That Came Home. Discover the stories and stay for the digital light show that will take your breath away.
Whakatāne is also home of Moutohorā (Whale Island). Take a trip with Moutohorā: Island Sanctuary Tours and discover the rare beauty of one of New Zealand’s little-known conservation treasures. A must for bird-watching enthusiasts!
Whakatāne to Hicks Bay (4 hours)
Slow down and venture onto SH35, finding secluded beaches and friendly locals to converse with along the Pacific Coast Highway right around East Cape . Bring a rod for some of the best fishing spots in the country.
Hicks Bay to Gisborne (2 hours 40 minutes)
Be the first in the world to soak up the rays of the new day’s sun – from your motel bed, aside the East Cape Lighthouse or atop a mountain with Maunga Hikurangi. Stop in at more amazing coastal communities, including the delicious paua pie in Tokomaru Bay before exploring the home of the stingrays with Dive Tatapouri.
Gisborne to Rotorua (4 hours)
Venture inland from Gisborne and keep an eye out for some remote coffee spots as you journey through the Waioeka Gorge. Stop off in Ohiwa Beach for your last view of the coast before continuing on to Rotorua.
So much to see and do! Head to Te Puia, where you can dine overlooking the Pōhutu Geyser before exploring the New Zealand Arts & Crafts Institute and the geothermal valley. After all that exploring, you’ll find the perfect place to relax at Secret Spot Hot Tubs. Tucked away on the edge of the famous Whakarewarewa Forest, you’ll find private cedar hot tubs – what a great way to end your epic roadie!