Going from Matata to Gisbourne, which is on the east coast of the north island, we had a choice of following the coast all the way around, or cutting across. As much as we wanted to drive along the coast and The Bay of Plenty the whole way and hit up East Cape, the most eastern point of New Zealand and the place where the sun rises first in the world, time wasn’t on our side, so we had to cut across for the quickest and shortest way via Route 2.
Reading on the signs for Gisborne only being around 150km away once we turned on to Route 2, we thought that it wouldn’t take long and that we could have some time to check Gisborne out. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Our google maps from the IPhone told us the drive would take around 1 hr and 40 min, as always we added some extra time to that and thought just over 2 hrs would do it. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The road went through some very windy and steep mountainous and forest area, it ended up taking us just over 4 hours! But it was a very scenic drive, with plenty of beautiful views of forest, rolling hills, rivers and fields.
Once in Gisborne we parked up for the night opposite a little hostel right by the sea. We took a walk down along the beach, which was filled with driftwood and in some spot it had been put to good use in the form of some beach shacks being built up.
The following day was Sunday and most of the town was closed down and we decided to head on south, Mat suggested that we’d make a detour to visit Lake Waikaremoana. The only thing was, we didn’t know quite how rough the road there would prove to be. Most of it was gravel, so the drive took a lot longer than we had anticipated. Once there we stopped for lunch and took a little walk to admire the view. It was a very beautiful and very remote place. A real gem.
After this we headed back to the main road and the coast and further south and made camp at a DOC site by Lake Tutira. Which was so picturesque, the DOC site was in the middle of sheep farmland and we were surrounded by sheep. The lake was full of ducks and beautiful black swans. It felt very rural and peaceful to camp up with the sound of sheep around us, looking out over the peaceful lake. Unfortunately all the batteries in all our camera’s had run out battery, so we couldn’t take pictures of the cute camp site.