I had hoped to have a look around the Hicks Bay Motel grounds before I left but the weather was still lousy. It is on a point overlooking the bay, has a bush walk down to a small beach, apparently!
I headed for the East Cape Lighthouse, about a 22km diversion from the main highway along a coastal road from Te Araroa.
It was very exposed with gale force winds (90km/h ~50 knots according to weather forecast) battering the car all the way there. The slowly clearing overnight storm weather made for a dramatic, almost spooky, scene.
It is a mixture of sealed and gravel road, one lane in places where it hugs the cliffs with the sea gnawing away at it! No problem taking the Bravo HGT out there but have to be a bit careful not to 'ride the crown' on gravel as the sump clearance isn't the greatest. I think Grand Touring is more suited European highways than Kiwi back roads! It survived ok, although maybe a few new scrapes under there.
The climb to the lighthouse was good, 750 timber steps the whole way up made avoiding the mud easy, and the surrounding brush made the gale tolerable. It was still very windy, combined with the sea fog/cloud made for a good demonstration why this lighthouse is needed!
From there it was back to Te Araroa to see Te Waha o Rerekohu (one of the largest pohutukawa tree in NZ). I grabbed some food and drink for lunch at the general store. The following week it featured on the news, stock falling off shelves as the region was rocked by a large 7.1 earthquake! Thankfully nobody was injured and there was minimal reported property damage.
The rest of the day was bay hoping to Gisborne. I stopped at all the main beaches and a few other attractions like this Mercedes slowly turning into a work of roadside art.
Tokomaru Bay impressed with some fine, some fading, architecture.
Contrasting with earlier in the day summer had arrived for the obligatory walk to the end of the 600m long Tologa Bay Wharf (NZs longest). The gale had blown away the rain leaving fine sunny day, 20ºc almost summer warm!
This wharf was the main access before the roads reach Tologa Bay, extreme length required due to the shallow bay.
It is impressive how a community trust is funding on going restoration to keep this historic structure, no longer used commercially, open.
The nice weather stuck around for the drive to Gisborne, lovely roads and little or no traffic!
I spent the night in Gisborne, nice Motel near the beach (Ahi Kaa Motel) and (more) fish for dinner!