Sean Mc on Skynet

Moving on from Taupo(briefly)

After 2 weeks we made the break from Taupo, our plan was to head East to Napier and to drive up along the East Coast via the East Cape and back to Auckland to meet up with some paddlers.

Taupo - Napier - Gisborne
Drove from Taupo to Napier, as we had already seen Napier we just stopped for food and kept going. Drove on to Gisborne stopping along the way to look at some scenery and take a few pictures. Just doing some of the touristy stuff really.

Gisborne - East Cape
Looked at the statue of Cpt. Cook and Young Nick on Gisborne, not much else to see there. Young Nick apparently was the first person on Cpt Cooks ship to spot the land which we now know as New Zealand.
Just North of Gisborne we started seeing some surfers out hoping for surf, there wasn't much, then slightly further north we came across a surf comp, just in time to see the grand final. It was good to see but lets face it, surf kayaking is just so much better.
Spent most of the day driving just stopping occasionally to view some more scenery. One thing we did stop to see was the Tolaga Bay Wharf (660m long). By time we got to Te Arora the weather was starting to Close in, but it was only overcast and very windy. We drove the 21km down a mainly dirt road to climb the approx 300m to the light house. This is the most easterly lighthouse in the world and the windiest place in the world that day I think. By time we came back and had found a campsite the rain was after starting. We knew we were in for a rough night. The wind blew the van about a bit, even in a sheltered spot behind the main building block. The following day we found that there had been a power cut during the night, no surprise there.

East Cape - Whakatani
Still very heavy weather and some rough seas as we drove along the coast, this was spectacular driving along some huge (but messy) surf. The most spectacular of all was Hawai bay where the waves were just crashing on the sand, see picture. I'm sure he scenery is quite spectacular but I thought the prospect of good surf was much better to look at.

Whakatani - Tauranga

Not much to see in Whakatani. We took a day trip to White Island, an island comprised mainly of an active volcanoe. This is a good trip, you get a ferry out to the island and the you get a guided tour of the area. We had an eventful trip out to the island with about 50% of the people on the boat getting sick, thankfully I wasn't one of them. I was a little disappiointed that the volcanoe behaved itself and didn't erupt, that would have been a good story :)

Mt Manganui
Stayed at a campsite in nearby Tauranga.
The town of Mt Manganui is well known as a surf destination with many local surf schools operating there. For most other people there isn't much to see or do apart from climbing Mt Manganui hill. The tourist office will tell you that it's a round trip of about 1 hour 30 minutes, we did it in 1 hour 20 minutes including and extra 10 minute detour... only because we didn't have a map. That night we stayed at Wahai beach in Athenree campsite, fantastic hot pools here, just the tonic for some aching legs after the hillwalk. Some good views from the top of the hill but other than that the only reason to climb it is because every other tourist in the area does it.
This evening we drove on to Waihi beach where we found a fantastic campsite that even had it's own natural hot pools, just what was needed after a stroll up Mt Manganui.The photo below shows the view over the town from teh top of Mt.Manganui

Today we took a look at the nearby goldmining town of Waihi. It's New Zealands gold mining capital and they been mining gold here since sometime in the 1800's. There's still an open cast mine here which you can stand on the edge of and look down into. At present there isn't a lot to do in this old mining town but it seems that the locals are getting together to try and push the town as a tourist destination and in the next few years it might be a little busier. In general it's a quaint little town with an interesting past.

posted by SeanMc @ 12:28 AM,


At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Kez said...

Muppets.... that's where I used to live!!!! ;-) see ye soon!!!


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