05 May 2015

Hidden gems - the bays of the East Cape

The drive from Gisborne to the East Cape takes in some incredible hidden gems along the way - Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay and the little known Anaura Bay which was our pick of spots on the 230 km/hr drive north.

We headed up the coast - first stop the view over Makorori beach. There were a fair few keen surfers out catching the waves, clearly making the most of the day off that Easter Monday gave them.

From here we headed north to Tolaga Bay to the world-famous-in-NZ-pier - it's the longest in NZ. It actually takes at least 10 minutes to walk all the way to the end - all 660 metres of it!

The wharf was built over three years between 1926 and 1929 and provided an important link to the rest of the East Coast before all the modern roads had been completed.

Out from the pier went meat, wool and livestock and in came petrol, beer and general merchandise.

But by the time 1967 arrived so did the last ship and the pier had had its day, which at only 30 years of useful service for such a big engineering effort seems a bit of a waste.

I have a real thing for piers - can you tell?

I just LOVE the vanishing point that the lines of a pier give you - drawing you into the picture.

This photo below is my favourite from the day though - I'm not sure what it is I love - I think the texture of the concrete combined with the green of the sea, the stormy looking clouds and hills in the distance.

Next stop - Anaura Bay and truly this was the place-de-resistance of the day. From the main road north, it's about a 7km detour to the coast. But when you come over the last hill and see this... well paradise springs to mind.

We sat and ate our picnic lunch on the almost deserted beach (apart from one other family).

Actually I may have to re-neg on my earlier call of 'shot of the day' - I think I love the one below equally as much!

The boys had fun hooning around chasing each other on a big circle someone had drawn in the sand.

I wish we could have stayed longer here - the incredible peace and serenity of the place was overwhelming.

Just before we left the beach the boys spotted a dead stingray in the sand.

Noah tried hard to turn it over with a big stick he found but the stingray was surprisingly unco-operative, and it was time to hit the road.

Next stop: Tokomaru Bay. I'm not sure I've ever seen the sea as turquoise as it was here.

It was a bit windier here and we only stopped briefly to stretch our legs. Still picture postcard perfect though.

So further up the Cape we went. Mark found his inner bro outside the Kai Kart in Ruatoria. I don't know that much about the place other than it is a very strong Maori population and that it was the target of a spate of arson attacks back in the 1980's.

Further north, we hit a classic Kiwi country scene, giving way to a whole herd of sheep being driven up the road. I love coming upon sights like this - it reminds me just how remote parts of the country are.

When we hit the top of the Cape, we had a decision to make. By this stage it was about 2.30pm and we were trying to decide whether to take the turn-off and drive to the East Cape lighthouse which was one of the spots I had definitely wanted to visit on the trip? It would have been another 2 hours return plus another hour to our book-a-bach from there. We did some rough calculations and worked out it would mean not arriving in Waihau Bay till after 6pm so we decided that we'd stick to our original plan of going back and making a day of it the next day. As it turned out that never happened as I was struck down even harder with the Crohn's flare-up that had been bugging me all holiday and was bedridden for most of the rest of the holiday. So the lighthouse got away this time, but I'm sure that one day we will return!

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