Stop in Te Araroa to admire the oldest pōhutukawa tree in the country. Then, climb up to the lighthouse on the most eastern point of New Zealand.
In the tiny coastal settlement of Te Araroa you'll find Te Waha-o-Rerekohu, New Zealand's oldest and largest pōhutukawa tree. It's around 600 years old, and stands proudly in the grounds of the local school.
Te Araroa is the birthplace of Sir Apirana Ngata(opens in new window). A trailblazer for Māori, he made it his life’s goal to uplift the Māori race spiritually, culturally and economically. To honor Sir Apirana's legacy his face is now proudly printed on New Zealand's $50 note.
A 22km, mostly unsealed, no-exit road from Te Araroa takes you to the most Easterly point on mainland New Zealand. The historic East Cape lighthouse stands 154 metres above sea level and is accessed by a walking track of some 700 steps - worth it for the views at the top.
The road to the lighthouse clings to the coastline, and there are numerous sandy beaches just metres away. Take your rod or handline with you - a bush walk around Haupara Point leads to excellent rock fishing.
Pig and deer hunting, fishing trips and Māori history tours can be arranged in the town. Down the road you'll find St Mary's Church in Tikitiki, one of the most marvelously ornate Māori churches in New Zealand.
Functional facts: Approx. population 600, visitor centre, basic shops and services.