Day Two – Opape, Hicks Bay, Te Aroha, East cape light house
Getting woken up by the sun penetrating a few gaps in the curtains and the sound of birds chirping, you know it’s going to be a nice day. After having breakfast with a couple of Weka’s, native New Zealand birds, I head down to the beach for walk and take in some fresh air before the day’s adventures.
Hitting the road mid-morning, I head east along state highway 35, this will be the furthest I’ve been around this coast and it didn’t disappoint. Just minutes into the drive the Scenery was stunning, the sun hitting the ocean turning the water into a bright blue and the native forests were shining, time for the first of many photo stops.
Heading up through Torere then having a quick look around Te kaha, I carry on around. On the side of the road this small white building catches my eye, the historic church of Raukokore. Surrounded by a white picket fence and right next to the ocean, perfect for a few more photos. Its open to the public, that’s if you take your dirty shoes off 😊. Inside is keep in pristine condition with polished wooden floors and pews, with the walls and ceiling painted white, red carpet leading to stained glass windows on the back wall with a Maori script hanging from the roof. Nice little surprise.
Next up is the small towns of Hicks bay and Te Araroa. Te Araroa is we’re I turned off the main road, head past a few shops and take a gravel road for the next 20km to the next destination, the East Cape light house, located in the most eastern part of New Zealand. Originally built just off the coast on East island in 1900, but with numerus earthquakes over the years the island started to slip into the ocean and in 1922 the lighthouse was moved to the main land where it stands now. To get to the light house, you park at the base of the hill and follow the track up before hitting the stairs, they say there’s 760-800 of them ,depending on where you get your info from, but in sure there was 8000 as they seemed to never stop, plus I had ran out of fingers and toes to count them all😊, after reaching the top and taking a few moments to get my breath back , I take in the site. The great white structure looking out at East island, as well as a 180 degree view out to the south Pacific Ocean.
After scrambling back down the stairs Its time to head to tonight’s camp, East coast camp ground 6 km back up the road. This is the perfect East coast location to stay the night. It’s pretty much a paddock right next to the ocean and just off the road, I’m surrounded by cows and a few rabbits along with lots of birds. Open to freedom campers as there are no facility’s apart from a long drop toilet. $6 honesty box. Great end to day two.