We haven’t driven north from Napier on previous trips to New Zealand, so we took the pretty drive to Gisborne, which used to have the honour of being the first city to greet the sunrise each day – until in 2011, Samoa decided to miss a day and move westwards over the International Dateline to claim that particular prize.

By the time we got to Gisborne, it was well into the afternoon, so we didn’t get to see much of the city, but we did manage to see a spectacular sunset on the beach.

The next morning, we took the inland drive across to Opotiki on the eastern Bay of Plenty.  This is a magnificent drive with stunning scenery, through the Waioeka Gorge

This former track was only opened as a road in 1962. and was a massive undertaking due to the terrain and dense bushland.  About half way along the gorge, we came across a huge landslip (so big, they had named it Sandy’s Slip) which was being worked on by teams of men with enormous pieces of machinery to help them. 

Once we reached the beautiful beaches of the Bay of Plenty, it was time for a picnic on a deserted beach, and more opportunity to photograph log sculptures, before completing our journey to Tauranga.