"East Cape Road Trip - Spring 2009" East Cape by worldkiwi

East Cape Travel Guide: 66 reviews and 123 photos

At the beginning of October, 2009 I made a short road trip to East Cape. This was my first visit to the area and on the way, I also visited the Bay of Plenty town of Whakatane for the first time. The main drive behind this short road trip from Auckland was the fact that I was keen to do some travelling in a quiet year (no overseas trips in 2009 for me) and also to hopefully get some "play-time" with my new camera. The trip was to focus on the drive from Opotiki to East Cape on State Highway 35. Despite some typically dodgy spring weather, at the crucial photo-stops the sun came out and the sky dressed up magnificently!

Some tips for a road trip around East Cape.

This is one place you can only really explore if you have your own transport. When you look at the road map for this area, you will see that SH35 seems to pass through a number of small towns on the western side of the cape. These towns are often little more than names on the map! A few, like Te Kaha and Whanarua Bay have places to stay and buy food. Te Kaha had petrol. The most important thing is that you have a full tank of petrol when you leave Opotiki. Cell phone coverage is patchy once you pass Waihau Bay and don't expect to find much in the way of shops!
The road itself is a good one, but in places the 100km/h speed limit is one only a suicidal maniac would try to attain! The best thing is to take your time and enjoy the magnificent coastal scenery and the glimpses of the rugged, forest clad, unpopulated interior of Eastland.
Sadly, there is often little shoulder on the road in which to pull over for photo ops.
You should also be aware that the locals and their livestock can be walking along the road around the next corner.
One really nice thing about driving SH35 is that the locals wave to you - amazing in the 21st century! So, make sure you smile and wave back.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Deserted roads, dramatic scenery, firendly locals.
  • Cons:Watch out for landslips and stray farm animals.
  • In a nutshell:A real rural "off the beaten trail" place!
  • Last visit to East Cape: Oct 2009
  • Intro Updated Oct 3, 2009
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