From the town of Ruatōria you can plan to visit Maunga Hikurangi (Mount Hikurangi) a sacred place for local Māori and the first point on mainland New Zealand to see the sunrise.
The small town of Ruatōria is the gateway to Maunga Hikurangi(opens in new window). And it is a great place to take a coffee break during your roadtip.
Just north of Ruatōria along the Waiapu River banks you can find the town named Tikitiki. The well-known St Mary’s church(opens in new window) is the jewel of Tikitiki – a stunning heritage church built in 1924 that is one of New Zealand’s finest Māori churches.
St Mary's church serves as a memorial to the Māori men from the East Coast between Paritū (south of Gisborne) and Tarakeha/Torere (east of Ōpōtiki) who fought and died in the First World War. Entry to the church is free but koha (donation) is encouraged.
Functional facts: Approx. population 750, basic shops, limited accommodation.