Well after leaving the sights and smells of Rotorua, i ventured off into perhaps what i would say is the best part of New Zealand....the bit where not many backpackers go - the Eastern cape. As you can see from all the pix i have taken its pretty much sun, sand and amazingly blue sea. Its also quite an isolated place so we had to stop off at Opotiki to grab our food and money as there isnt any other biggish towns on the East to be able to get this sort of stuff. Opotiki is classed as the 'gateway to the east' and is pretty much a tiny tiny town that has a few banks and a supermarket. We drove for a while along the State Highway (which pretty much hugs the coast all the way down) to stop a few times to take photos - but we kind of expressed to our accomodation at Maraehako Bay so that we could spend the afternoon there.
The backpackers is literally on the beach and it is like one huge treehouse! there were hammocks, beach to sunbathe on, kayaks to go around the bays but we went on a bush walk to a local waterfall, in flip flops. Probably not the best idea but Jason (our driver) was insistent that it was doable! it nearly wasnt for Sarah's flip flops....after a brief swim downstream we managed to retrieve them once they got stuck on a log :o) anyways it was a great trek and by the time we got back it was time for our bbq! the boys did a grand job of cooking the meat whilst tammy did a fab job of the salad. i made a grand job of opening the wine and getting all the glasses.
Our next day we headed out and around again along the coastal highway and stopped off in Raukokore to see the first Anglican Church ever built in NZ - its pretty much in the middle of nowhere with amazing views of the sea and the coastal headlands. Our next stop was to a beach where jason wanted to go surfing - the rest of us sunbathed as none of us wanted to be very energetic! Our only problem was leaving the damn place....Jason drove the van with our trailor right onto perhaps the wettest point of the beach and trying to get off it again proved a little difficult. Actually very difficult...if you call having 4 wheels sunken into the sand and no way to get them out bar digging the ground around them. Well when i say we, i do of course mean Jason :o) But eventually he did it and we were on our way again.
Another little stop was at Te Araroa for the oldest Pohutakawa tree in NZ - reportedly over 600 years old - and for NZ thats VERY old. The WW2 memorial church that we went into was amazingly decorated and had been built by the villagers using local woods. We passed Jasons Mountain - which he so aptly named after himself as he couldnt remember what it was called into Tokomaru Bay where our next night was to be spent.
Our hostel was called Brians Place and was situated up in the forest with all balconies facing the sea and the first sunrise in the world. it was an awesome view and even though we didnt want to leave, we knew we needed to catch the last rays of the sun on the beach before dinner. Which might i add was an amazing curry that jason cooked for us. delish.
Sunrise was pretty spectacular, we just woke up, rolled out onto the balcony in our duvets and watched it for around an hour. Once in a lifetime i reckon. After breakfast we headed off again to Cooks Landing at Tolaga bay where the longest wharf is situated we had a wander around and took some piccies of us all as it was the last time we would be together as i was getting off in Gisborne. On our way to Gisborne we stopped at Rere falls where the guys did some natural rock sliding down the falls - i just watched, it looked a little dangerous to me...........
i left the guys in Gisborne and proceeded to spend the next 4 days sunbathing and sightseeing! i wandered to the beach, walked along the river, ate icecreams and even went to a stingray feeding sesh! (check out the videos section) it was pretty chilled out and when the bus came back to pick me up i was sad to leave as it was a lot less hectic than the main touristy parts of NZ. I would def come back here and spend more time travelling the east coast - its definitley worth the trip! xxxx