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Whakatane to Gisborne - overnight stops please?

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posts: 37
reviews: 9
Whakatane to Gisborne - overnight stops please?

Part of our self drive tour involves driving from Whakatane to Gisborne. Our guide book says one day but we feel it is more like 2 days, we want to just tootle along (old people!) and enjoy the views. Any suggestions as to where we should break our journey for overnight B&B, any recommendations for accommodation at all along here would be very helpful. Driving along road number 35.


Dunedin, New Zealand
Destination Expert
for Dunedin
posts: 1,193
reviews: 55
1. Re: Whakatane to Gisborne - overnight stops please?

I agree, take a couple of days. It can be done in a day, but only with a sense of urgency. To maximise tootling, stop at the half way point, Hicks Bay. Not many choices, but there is a tidy motel, the Hicks Bay Motel. Te Araroa is another place you might consider. After that, you lose the coastline until Tolaga Bay, and that's only about 50 km from the end (nice spot, but).

Rotorua, New Zealand
posts: 82
reviews: 8
2. Re: Whakatane to Gisborne - overnight stops please?

I would take 2 days, not one to get from Whakatane to Gisborne. I have stayed at the Hicks Bay Motel. Yes, it is tidy but very dated - a little like an English Butlins. I also think it is quite expensive for what it is. There is only this one motel in Hicks Bay - captive market. It also has a restaurant attached but we didn't try it and a small shop for provisions. We were looked at rather sternly when we bought 4 cans of beer; perhaps we were being over-indulgent! On the plus side, the motel has magnificent views and spacious grounds and very quiet.

There is a holiday park with motel-type units at Te Araroa, a little further towards Gisborne but I haven't stayed there.

An unusual detour is to take the untarmaced (dirt) road to East Cape and at the end of the road is what I imagine to be the most easterly public toilets in the world and certainly the first to see the new dawn each day. Stop off too at Tolaga Bay and walk along the wooden wharf for good views. One of the largest pohutukawa trees in NZ is just before Hicks Bay and if in flower when you visit is quite magnificent. Don't forget to take photos of steaming volcanic White Island from Opotiki. Also, Gisborne is an up and coming wine area and has very good vineyards to sample.

Hope this helps.

Park City, Utah
posts: 302
reviews: 4
3. Re: Whakatane to Gisborne - overnight stops please?

Another option (although not quite half way) is to stay at Waihau Bay. It is pretty much the last stop on the western side of the peninsula before you go over to the eastern side.

There are a few small accommodation options. I can't comment on what they are like as I haven't stayed at any of them, but Waihau Bay is a nice spot. Maybe check out http://www.waihaubay.co.nz/ or waihaubayhomestay.co.nz/public/default.php… to see if either appeal.

It is a magnificent coastal drive around the East Cape peninsula so I hope you enjoy your 'tootle'.

Dorridge, United...
posts: 1
reviews: 1
4. Re: Whakatane to Gisborne - overnight stops please?

If you get a chance, try and stay at this beautiful deserted beach setting north of Kaiaua and Tologa bay.


A real gem off the beaten track....you'll need to book well ahead in peak time over summer though...don't even dream of just turning up on the off chance as to those in the know it books well in advance. The road becomes gravel en-route but is fine....just watch out for sheep on the road! Good but challenging local walkways into the native bush and surrounding hills, and a gorgeous and relatively deserted sandy beach. You might want to stay longer though! Judy will sort you dinner if you request it.

There is a basic campsite there as an alternative or if you're in a motor home:


Tologa Bay has a less expensive and easier access option in the beach front motor camp with cabins as well, but is only 1 hour north of Gisborne.....the 0.8 km wharf at the base of imposing cliffs is a must do, and there's another hilly walk over to Cooks cove if you need something more challenging. The local fish and chips are legendary!


For a dose of something a little more sophisticated, the local winery just north of Tologa run by an English ex-pat....Yorkshireman Roy Johnson may be worth a visit too.....certainly a source of insight into life on the coast from a recent arrival....met him in Gisborne sampling his wines at ...a nice chap.


This little travelled part of New Zealand is very isolated and the roads are not often straight, but there in lies it's greatest attraction. Clocks tick slower in this part of the world, which is just as well, because you need as much of it as possible to take in it's rugged beauty.

Edited: 3:52 am, December 15, 2010
posts: 37
reviews: 9
5. Re: Whakatane to Gisborne - overnight stops please?

Thanks for all your advice everyone but our trip is not happening now. My husband cried off at the point of booking our flights -and yes, he is still walking! He cannot face the thought of such a long flight again, even breaking it with a stopover. I'm devastated as this was for my 60th birthday and I had done sooo much planning, I was so excited as I absolutely loved New Zealand when we came on an escorted tour 2 years ago. It looks like I will have to do another escorted tour on my own,all my friends are married and obviously can't do such a big trip without their husbands-time & money come into play here,so a solo trip is the only answer. I won't get to all the places I wanted to go, but at least I will be back in New Zealand.

Thanks again folks.

6. Re: Whakatane to Gisborne - overnight stops please?

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