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East Coast Holiday: Eastenders Backpackers

Up early we took a walk with the backpackers dog Tux to watch the sunrise. We walked down the road and headed uphill through a gate labelled with a sunrise sign, Tux leading the whole time. A farm track took us upwards until we came to a rise where we could see the ocean and a distant brightening in the sky. The sunrise wasn’t spectacular but it was nice to see the first sun of the day.

IMG 2998Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Looking back to Eastenders Backpackers with Tux in the foreground

IMG 2999Photo by Brendon & Keryn


We walked back down the hill and I took a diversion to take some photos in the games room/bar in the top level of the shearing shed. One optional activity is bone carving and there were carving stations set up behind the table tennis table. Maybe something for next time. Then it was breakfast time and this was followed by saying goodbye to Reg who was cycling down towards Gisborne.

IMG 3009Photo by Brendon & Keryn

In the games room

RegPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Reg about to set off

Our guide for the horse riding, Reg Kaa, arrived on his farm bike with another couple of young dogs running along with him. He rounded up the horses and led them to the stable before coming over to fetch us from the hostel. The two girls who had left and come back were also coming for a ride, and we also had the remaining caretaker along for the riding as well.

The horses were saddled up, we got our helmets and then Reg showed us to our horses. Once everyone was ready we set off.

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Up close

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Setting off

The ride took us from the backpackers and over farmland heading towards Rangitukia beach. Reg suggested it’d be easier for us if we concentrated on riding and let him take the photos so we handed over Keryn’s camera. Reg taught us a few things including a way of effectively holding the reins one handed and also how to stand in the saddle to help ease the ride (though it was hell on the thighs).

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Arriving to the beach

IMG 0532Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Through the surf

We rode along the beach, through the surf and there was some galloping. Near the end of the beach we headed inland, following a stream before heading uphill, eventually coming to a lookout where we could see down the valley past the backpackers and way in the distance towards Mount Hikurangi. We relaxed and chatted for a while and then it was back on to the horses for the downhill ride back to the backpackers. It was a good ride, and it was nice to have only a small group so there was plenty of attention and tips given.

IMG 0543Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Along the stream

IMG 0574Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Taking in the view

We chilled for a few hours back at the backpackers, having lunch and lounging about. We took a short trip in the car back down the road to Tikitiki and wandered through the local church. St Mary’s is quite famous, a very nice wooden church with lovely detailing inside.

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The gate at St. Mary’s

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The lovely wooden interior

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Close up on the carving

The rest of the afternoon was taken up with more relaxing, interrupted only by the arrival of a group of American students. They arrived in their rental car and we soon found out they were all studying at Victoria University in Wellington and were here as part of an exchange program. They hadn’t known each other before all being housed in the same place in Wellington and had decided on a quick road trip before the semester started. After dinner the campfire was started and Keryn and I sat outside soaking in the warmth. We were joined by some of the new arrivals and we chatted a bit. A guitar was also brought out and there was some campfire singing before we called it a night and retired to the tent.

IMG 3039Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Campfire time
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One thought on “East Coast Holiday: Eastenders Backpackers

  1. Hi Karyn and Brandon,
    What a great blog! We think your story and beautiful pictures will be a big draw for people thinking of visiting us. We hope you do not mind but we have added your page as a link @ our website. If you do mind, please let us know and we will immidiately remove the link.
    Cheers guys, good luck with all your travels!
    Reg and Jacqui Kaa
    Eastender Horse Treks, Rangitukia, East Coast, NZ

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