Way Out East

I noticed a little wiggly road on my map going nowhere.

So I went to have a look. 

The Ohuka Road

The Ohuka road, winds its way over a ridge and down a valley from where it climbs as a little dirt track and keeps going up and down until your legs are screaming. Or just plain give up altogether.

When that happens, if you’re lucky (and I tend to be), you run into a nice farmer who offers you to camp in his shearing shed.

Shearing Shed Camping

And just when you pitched the tent he calls ’round to offer a meal up at the house with the rest of the family.

The grandkids where over to stay for a few days, its school holidays and there’s enough to do at the farm. 

The Family

I missed the spectacular sunset because I was having a shower… that was pretty good too since it was the first one in a few days. Lucky Mary was out to get it..

Leaving Nga-Tuhoe I headed back to the main-back-road.

Leaving Nga-Tuhoe

There’s not a lot of traffic, or people, about.

Erepeti Road

I still get the feeling I’m being watched at times…

When I did come across people I’d have a chat.

A nice man invited me over for a coffee.

A Coffee

Another one invited me to come and stay at the farm. Same thing happened the day before…

But both times it was still too early in the day to stop riding. How nice of them though!

At a small pub I met three men with daughters who’d just been out setting bait for ducks. The duck hunting season is about to start and they’re coming out again next week to do some shooting. If I needed a ride to Gisborne.

I am heading there but the long way around, so I declined. A little while later they overtook me on the uphill and offered me a ride again. Instead I got a phone nr and an address to come and stay when I get to town 🙂


According to a map I had the area I was riding through was

‘Rural As’...

Rural As

And the road I was on wasn’t on the map at all…

So trying to find my way proved a little difficult. Lucky two nice lady’s were able to help me out.

Two Nice Ladies

The road I was after is actually a private station track and I needed permission to ride it.

But they knew the manager well so rang him up to ask if it was alright.

I would never have found the start of the road if they hadn’t given me very precise directions…

The start of the track

It wasn’t an easy ride. It was actually hardly a ride at all for the first couple of hours as I pushed my bike up the track.

Pushing it

But was rewarded with spectacular views.

And a fire/explosion of some sort going on in the distance.

Something going on.

A little plane was circling overhead and spraying fertiliser.


That’s exactly what I don’t need….

When I got to the top I ran into the manager himself and he invited me to stay on the property that night. I could use one of the spare rooms in the single mens quarters. 

On a sunday they were not working so took me for a drive around the farm. Rural style.

The guys working here come from all over the country. So with some new addresses in my pocket I was on my way again in the morning.

Good times at Tangihou Station. 


I’ve been staring at my map. The loop road that hugs the east cape seemed like a nice ride on a bike.

To get there I had two options. The highway to Opotike, or the Motu Trails.

Easy choice.

Motu Trails

Build with pick and shovels it took 5 years to build a road wide enough for a coach and it was officially opened in 1918.

The Motu Trails are now part of the ‘Nga Haerenga’  New Zealand cycle trails. A collection of rides throughout the country. ‘Nga Haerenga’ means ‘The Journey‘.

I got to Motu and ran into Jim. He’s just been out on a fishing trip and was heading home. So he left me with his spare food.

Hurray! Food!

That was very kind of him. And particularly good since I had not passed any stores since leaving Roturua.

I rode out of Motu in the misty morning but climbing out of the clouds the views were once again spectacular.

On the Motu Track

I slowly winded my way back to the coast.

Looking back onto Haiti
Onto the highway. But this is a highway with a difference.

HWY 35

Where people wave at you when you ride passed. Or toot. Or stop and have a yarn.

 Hwy 35

A highway where nobody seems to be in a hurry.

Back on the coastAnd where cows ride skateboards…


I spent a night at a small campground where the owner let me stay in a caravan. That was great.

Specially because he kept suggestively asking me what I do for ‘fun‘ so I locked my door.


Each little town I crossed has a Marae, a Maori meeting-house. Used for either religious or social meetings. Often with beautiful carvings.


One afternoon I met two ladies running along the road. Upon asking where the nearest campground might be I was directed to the school in Raukokore. Glenis is the head teacher there. 


She told me to pitch my tent at the school grounds and come to the house for a meal.

We spent a very enjoyable evening chatting and eating. I tried some little black shellfish called bubu.

Being right on the water we saw the lovely sunset too.

Eastcoast Sunset

They were set to go on a road trip early the next morning.

But before we were all on our ways she handed me a beautiful jade greenstone, from the South Island, just like she is.

Waihou Bay

I cycled through Waihau Bay, where the movie ‘Boy’ was filmed.


And up along the coast towards New Zealand’s most Eastern point.


It’s a 20km ride out of the small settlement of Te Araroa to the furthest eastern lighthouse in the world.

The road out.

I just made it up the 748 steps to see the sunset.


And back down in time to pitch my tent before dark, next to the furthest eastern dunny in the world…

For the most awesome view I only needed to zip open my tent.


I walked back up them 748 steps to be the first person to see the sunrise that day.

Lighthous Sunrise

It was me, a group of religious people singing songs and a nice couple from Tauranga who helped me back to the turn off. About 10 of us saw the light first.
Actually, there might have been a few people in Samoa or Tokelau… since they skipped the date line last year this place isn’t the first anymore. ah well. Let’s pretend.

Back pushing peddles I had a look at a little church off the side of the road. The whole church was beautifully carved.


Feeling hungry I stopped at the RSA club, I ordered a burger and this is what I got;


That did the job.

I ended the day at Te Puia Springs Hotel. The sun had just set when I arrived, it has been a long day, but a soak in the (very) hot spring was well worth the effort. As was the generous offer of the Publican to let me stay in a private room for a dorm-price. 

The Publican

The weather didn’t look all that flash in the morning,


so I stayed. And wasn’t charged at all the 2nd night!

Saturday night at Te Puia Springs Hotel

Next day the sun was out again.

It was a nice ride, along some beaches and small towns into Gisborne,

IMG_9147where Captain Cook was the first European to set food on New Zealand back in 1769. 


I had no trouble finding Dave’s family home. He is one of the three men I met in that small pub over a week ago. It was a great warm welcoming wonderful home. From where I needed to plan the next stage and a way to avoid the highway.

Dave had the perfect solution so after a couple of days I jumped on a truck at 4am to head a little further south and bypass that busy highway…

8 thoughts on “Way Out East

  1. Hoi Mirjam,

    De foto’s zijn weer mooi! En leuk om je net weer even gesproken te hebben. Succes als het weer straks minder wordt…


    pap & mam

  2. ohh … so nice to see your getting all the best from the kiwis 🙂 Did you see the movie “boy”? I did .. was glad I only did after getting accustumed to the maori-kiwi-accent .. pretty hard to understand sometimes when you’re not used to it, I think. But it’s a wonderful movie!
    “keep up the good work” 🙂
    Ps.: the sacred maori place is a marae – not marea 😉 ..smarty pants I am..hihi

  3. Hi there I love your blog I have much more to read which I’m looking forward to. I married into a Dutch family as my name is Tereza Berkemeier. However my maiden name is Callaghan as my Aunty Merle is one of the 2 ladies you photographed at Raukokere School. My family are from Waihau Bau. Amazing photo of her as are all your photos.

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