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East Coast Holiday: Driving up the East Cape

We had modest plans for a few walks at a couple of bays on the way north but this never panned out. It was hot from early on and I was having a lazy day so we did no walking tracks. Our first proper stop was at Tolaga Bay where we first watched a battered old tractor being used to move washed up logs away from a path to the beach.

IMG 2870Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Clearing the beach access

IMG 2866Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Under the wharf

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Looking down the pier

We then walked to the end of the wharf which is apparently the longest in New Zealand and watched various people fishing. There was a king fish visible in the water below, toying with some of the anglers. Heading back to the car we stopped to watch some kids jumping off the pier, enjoying the jumping and the calm water.

IMG 2874Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A beautiful day for fishing

IMG 2898Photo by Brendon & Keryn


Further on we took a diversion from highway 35 and drove down to Anaura Bay. At the bay be took a left and travelled along a road that shadowed the coast, becoming narrow and then a gravel road heading up into some coastal hills. We came at last to a dead end, the road ending at a gate and a private property sign. So we turned around, only stopping to take a few photos of the bay and some enterprising tree decorating (Tui cans strung together and hanging from branches).

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Looking down on Anaura Bay

We stopped for lunch the next time we got to the coast, the road had been heading inland for a while. At Tokomaru Bay we parked in a rest area under a tree and ate our sandwiches. A campervan was parked between two pines looking to the beach, a family played together on the sand beside a little tidal lagoon and back on the road there were old buildings that looked abandoned. It was a nice little stopping point, even if it felt a little tired and run down.

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The lunchtime rest area at Tokomaru Bay

IMG 2939Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Quietly fading by the roadside

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Deposit your (50 year old) cheques here

Back on highway 35 we eventually turned off at the tiny map spot named as Tikitiki and soon after hit a gravel road and then passed through Rangitukia heading for Eastenders Backpackers. We arrived to a large gravel car park with a couple of cars, a large shearing shed and a small backpackers building supplemented with four sleeping huts. We parked and tentatively had a look around, realising soon enough that there was nobody there except for a friendly dog and some horses in the next door field. The dog wasn’t saying anything.

There were a number of instructions in the common room, one saying that new arrivals should check in with the caretaker at the house across the road from the backpackers. We went over, led by the dog, but there was no one home. Back at the backpackers a couple of people appeared, two girls packing up to leave. With time on our hands we decided to go for a drive in the hope that someone else would arrive and be on-site when we returned.

IMG 2952Photo by Brendon & Keryn

One of the local horses

IMG 2958Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The dog couldn’t read the sign, appearing on both sides

The drive to the beach was a bit pointless, we followed roads to get to an east cape beach that was quite wild and windy. We saw plenty of horses on our little tiki tour, obviously this is one area of the country where the horse is a common mode of transport.

Back to the backpackers and still there wasn’t anyone there. It was still quite windy so we didn’t yet set up the tent, rather relaxing in the common room reading books. Eventually a couple of guys turned up and this time they had an official capacity, there were the caretakers. Both were themselves tourists who had decided to stay longer and help out in exchange for accommodation and plenty of horse riding. They had been out on a ride up into the hills, enjoying the freedom of an afternoon with no one to look after.

IMG 2962Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Huts for sleeping

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Quiet time leads to odd photographs

As the wind died we took the chance to put the tent up and once this was done we relaxed some more, chatting with the guys. We had three more people sharing accommodation that night, a lone man named Reg who was on a trip cycling around east cape and the two girls we had seen earlier in the day. They had got as far as Gisborne and one of the girls decided she couldn’t leave the backpackers so they turned around and came back.

We cooked dinner, ate and continued to relax, fully entering into the holiday spirit before calling it a night and retiring to our tent. Tomorrow, horse riding.

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