The Top Things to Do in the Eastland Region
Eastland, also known as the East Cape, is a North Island region many forget to explore during their time in New Zealand pretty ironic when it was one of the first places in New Zealand to be discovered by Maori and Europeans! Nonetheless, if you love tranquil lakes, rainforests and love the coast more, then Eastland is a must-visit. The highlights of Eastland are spread out, so the best way to discover these gems is by car or the hop-on hop-off bus. With that in mind, here are the Eastland must-dos!
1. Watch the Sunrise from the East Cape Lighthouse
The most eastern lighthouse in the world has a perfect view across the ocean to see the sunrise. You’ll be one of the first to see the new day from this lighthouse.
Location: East Cape Lighthouse, down the East Cape Road just outside of Te Ararora.
2. Take the Tiniroto Road
Between Wairoa and Gisborne, Tiniroto Road has many awesome stops along the way, such as Te Reinga Falls, Tiniroto Lakes and Donneraille Park.
Location: Between Wairoa and Gisborne
3. Find Tranquillity at Lake Waikaremoana
This freshwater lake is so stunning it has one of New Zealand’s Great Walks going around it! It is a must-visit in the Te Urewera.
Location: Te Urewera
4. Observe from the Kaiti Hill Lookout
Get a birds-eye-view of Gisborne and Poverty Bay where the Maori first encountered Captain Cook, the British explorer. A fun fact about the Captain Cook statue at the lookout: he is actually wearing an Italian uniform rather than the British one. Fail!
5. Hike, Snorkel and Surf and Mahia Peninsula
Surf, crayfish fishing and the walks are just some reasons to visit this peninsula. Not to mention the picturesque coastline! Check out more things to do in 11 Mahia Peninsula Must-Dos.
6. Relax in the Morere Hot Springs
Surrounded by rainforest and soaking in the hot mineral pools: this is a good way to relax after a day of travelling. While you are there, the Nikau forest walk is also a must!
7. Bike on Some of the North Island’s Best Trails
Make Opotiki your base if you want to take on the Motu Trails. Take the historic Motu Road trail, experience the natural beauty of the Pakihi Track, and the coastal gem of the Dunes Trail.
8. Walk the Longest Wharf in New Zealand
A quick stroll along this 660m (722 yards) is something to tick off the list when taking State Highway 35 around the coast of the East Cape.
Location: Tolaga Bay
9. See Maori Carvings at the Tikitiki Church
Take a quick peek in the church at Tikitiki to see some detailed Maori design.
10. Hike the Spiritual Mt Hikurangi
This mountain is not only a sacred mountain for the Maori but an excellent hike! It is also the first point on the New Zealand mainland to see the sunrise.
Location: Mt Hikurangi
11. Explore Rere!
There’s a lot of fun to be had in the Rere area outside of Gisborne. Bring a bodyboard or an air mattress for the Rere Rockslide, a picnic for lunch at the Rere Waterfall, your wetsuit for the Champagne Pool, and your walking shoes to stroll around New Zealand’s national arboretum.
12. Ride the Waves
Embrace the Kiwi lifestyle by grabbing a board and heading to the beach. There are many decent surf breaks in the Gisborne area and here are the main ones: Midway Beach, Waikanae Beach, Wainui Beach and Makorori Beach.
13. Be the First to See the New Year!
Gisborne is the first city in the world to see the New Year that’s got to be bucket-list worthy, right? The city celebrates with the renowned Rhythm and Vines festival.