New Zealand is a land widely acknowledged for its natural beauty and serene ambience. Apart from being a popular destination for sports and adventure activities, the country is also known for its mesmerising road trips. From an array of others, a drive along the East Cape of North Island makes for a popular choice. The route from Gisborne to Opotiki that follows the coast is particularly enticing in that it offers a wide spectrum of sights and activities. However, for those who have opted for a car hire or are looking for a shorter distance to explore, the drive from Gisborne to East Cape Lighthouse makes for an equally spectacular one.
To get to the lighthouse, one will have to take a small detour. At 163kms from Gisborne is a small settlement known by the name of Te Araroa. It is at this point that one will have to deviate from the conventional Coastal Trail. The region is interesting and boasts several attractions that are frequented by travellers and trekkers. It is adorned with a charming beach that makes for a perfect place to unwind and relax. It is also home to the world’s largest pohutukawa tree – a sight not be missed.
The road that leads to the lighthouse is slightly challenging, with gravel roads, narrow stretches and rarely, even stray cattle. A 20kms drive will eventually lead to a small carpark – the starting point of a 700-step steep climb to the top of the lighthouse.
The detour and the excruciating climb to the top of the East Cape Lighthouse makes for a rewarding experience. Located on the eastern-most point of New Zealand and overlooking the East Island just below, the lighthouse offers views that will remain etched in your memory for a long time to come.
The East Island was designated to be the original site for the East Cape Lighthouse. However, its geographic location did not allow for the same. While the land was vulnerable to earthquakes, the shores proved a challenge for landing and other practical purposes. Keeps of the lighthouse and their families could often not be reached on account of its rough shores and challenging conditions. As such, the lighthouse was dismantled and relocated to its current location.
The highlight of the lighthouse is, undoubtedly, its panoramic views from atop. Overlooking the vast stretches of greenery, bordering a coastline into eternity, is a sight that will remain unforgotten. Sunrises and sunsets make for breathtaking visions with the horizon taking on natural colours of a glowing sun. Accommodation in the region is also available for those who enjoy life away from the commercial chaos.