Today involves a beautiful but challenging drive around East Cape. If you've got time, spread this trip over two days, with an overnight stop in Te Araroa.
Sights on the way include the Maori church at Tikitiki, hot pools in Te Puia Springs, and a historic 660-metre wharf in Tolaga Bay. There is also plenty of uninterrupted beach for swimming, walking, surfing or fishing.
Alternatively, take the shorter inland route via State Highway 2 and spend more time in Gisborne, where you can surf to your heart’s content, experience Maori culture and gain a new appreciation for Chardonnay.