From Rotorua, we got picked up in a smaller bus by Kelly or Kels who took us towards the East Coast of the North Island, first stop Gisborne. As I hopped off there, I didn’t partake in any of the activities like wine-tasting in a really cool-looking bar or stingray feeding the next morning, but that was ok.
I hopped back on a few days later, this time with Jason and a bunch of really cool people! This had been a bit of a worry because we would spend 3 days together in this small bus and small hostels in small places 😉 But I couldn’t have wished for better travel companions 🙂
From Gisborne we set out to Tolaga Bay first, with the longest pier in New Zealand. A few of us were crazy enough to jump into the sea from the end – I was told it was bloody freezing, especially walking back the whole length of it with just a towel 😉 Then we went on to Tokomaru Bay and our hostel for the night. This one was up on a hill, overlooking said Bay and aptly named Stranded in Paradise!
It was one big house, with two dorms on the ground floor and a big living room and kitchen – the rest of the beds were mattresses up in three different attic bits. Very cosy and extremely comfy! 🙂 There were several activities on offer, but I opted for being lazy and staying in with some others and we had a quite cosy afternoon 🙂 Then we cooked together for all of us and enjoyed our dinner and the evening with card games, jigsaws and the like.
In the morning we set off for Te Araroa and the Manuka oil production there, where we learned about the plant and the product and got a taste of Manuka tae and ice tea 🙂 Refreshed like that we went to the East Cape and walked the 768 steps (something like that) up to the East Cape lighthouse. It was quite a walk, but the weather was perfect and the views from up there couldn’t have been better 🙂
We also stopped at a church right by the sea with wild horses around it and then came to our next hostel at Maraehako Bay. It was directly by the sea and as it was a pretty windy day, the waves were quite spectacular 🙂 Again I opted for the lazy afternoon and spent some hours reading in the sunshine, getting splashed occasionally 🙂
In the evening, our host served a seafood meal for the ones that had signed up for it. Of course I had, mainly because it was my last chance to get fresh crayfish 😉 We got half a crayfish each (they’re like lobsters) and there was also potatoes, pumpkin and kumara (sweet potato), salad and two sorts of fish. No one went hungry there 😉 The outside fireplace was a perfect place to end the evening 🙂
The next morning, the sea was all calm again and we had a beautiful light 🙂 But we had to set off early as we were coming back into Rotorua for some to catch the Stray Bus from there. After a coffee break in the Two Fish Cafe in Opotiki with the best muffins ever we got to Rotorua on time and I could go back to my nice hostel 🙂