12/1/14 Day 6: Another epic night as we couldn’t find a decent/affordable caravan park to spend the night in. We slept by the side of the road somewhere along the coast of Mahia Peninsula. Waking up to breathtaking views of the sea, all safe and sound, was definitely one of God’s blessings. Hahahahaha only because we don’t have pictures of our bed in the car… I had to put this one up. So blissful looking ;)
11/1/14 Waihau beach. My first sight of freedom camping, completely isolated from the main road. There were so many caravans and some very luxurious looking tents sprawling around. Our first attempt in writing ‘Grad Trip 2014’ was washed away almost immediately.
11/1/14 St Mary’s Church @ Tikitiki. This beautifully carved memorial church is one of the first Maori-designed church located in the heart of East Cape. We were really lucky to have a local (caretaker) to let us into the church. I don’t think we’d ever have a chance to see the interior of a Maori church if we didn’t decide on taking the Eastern route. I’ll let pictures speak for themselves. One of my favourite places in north island.
East Cape Lighthouse: The original lighthouse was built on East island/Whangaokeno around 1898. However the weather and currents around the island were too hazardous. The lighthouse was then rebuilt on mainland in 1922.
11/1/14 Day 5: 20km of graveled unsealed roads in marked the start of our East Cape lighthouse trek. 700 steps to the lighthouse! The most easterly point of the whole of New Zealand. I’d imagine sunrise here to be spectacular, first spot in NZ to see the sun!
10/1/14 After visiting Raukokore church, we decided to start looking for a spot to the spend the night. Went past a dodgy motel/caravan park which looked like it had been broken into… we were pretty sure it was closed down even though a crazy guard dog was barking at us. Just when we thought we’d never find a place to stay along SH35 Te Araroa Road before sunset, we chanced upon an old signboard saying ‘Lottin Point Motel - most modern motel on the Cape’. So we turned off road and decided to give it try. The 4km drive in was so beautiful with tons of sheep starring at us weirdos. As we came closer to the coast and saw the motel sitting on the rocky promontory overlooking the ocean, all three of us instantly thought that this was gonna be out of our budget. We kept discussing how much we were willing to spend hahaha we were making so much noise in the car as we inched closer to the motel. The general consensus was not more than $150. To our surprise, we only had to pay $110 for a self-contained 2 bedroom ocean view unit which could probably fit 5 comfortably. Felt like the most blessed travelers at the point of time that we managed to find such a treasure. The owner (mum) and her daughter were so nice, brought us a small jug of milk and definitely gave us the best room they had. Sadly one of the owners passed away, so the motel is going up for sale now. It is so remote, the motel even has its own helicopter landing. From the pictures at the reception, Lottin Point is famous for rock fishing and even diving. We finished our bottle of moscato and whipped up a hearty dinner to celebrate our miraculous find and a good night’s sleep.
11/1/14 Day 4: Lottin Point Motel - Finally slept in, woke up to amazing views of the ocean, had a big breakfast, checked out at 10am.
10/1/14 Raukokore Anglican church, located at the tip of the rugged-looking Papatea Bay before Waihau Bay. I think the church was established around 1894,restored in 1994 and owned by the local Stirling marae. It is extremely well maintained and still in use for church services and weddings. We were greeted by horses in the front yard, picturing sijing making new friends. I’m quite weary of touching horses before they approach me ever since being bitten by Chester, the hormonal needy miniature horse (PONY), on the elbow =(