Rotura to Napier via the East Cape

14 11 2007

This was a long driving day — it was not planned to be, but the weather became dreadful (rainy, 100Km/h+ winds) that being in a car seemed the driest.

I woke up early to do some blogging and to go see the sulfur ponds. There was a walking tour described in the Lonely Planet that looked interesting, which started at the Government Gardens:

But it started to rain, so I got in the car to go directly to the ponds.

I disliked them as much now as I did when I was 14.

Driven away by the smell, I drove east towards the Bay of Plenty and the East Cape, dominated by the Raukumara Range. In driving from the West to the East Coast, you can take the direct route along Highway 2, or along the original road around (Route 35). I had heard great things about the long way, and given how I had no quick need to get anywhere, I took 35.

View Larger Map

It was amazing:


The drive was a mix of California’s Route 1 and the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia.

Every corner was another beautiful bay. The road was smooth, curvy, and empty. Unfortunately it started to rain around Cape Runaway, so there are few photos of the rest of the drive. In any case, photos would not adequately capture the scenery.

Around 5pm, I made it to Gisborne, with two options. Napier was about 200Km (3 hours) away. I could drive there and get a place to stay (which I planned) or get a place in Gisborne and drive tomorrow.

The weather was improving, and I was not tired, so I decided to press on.

This drive in itself was amazing. It followed the railway, except when the railway came to deep box canyons. Instead of doing the proper thing, and building a bridge across:

The road went down and up the canyon. It did this at least twice. Luckily, it was still light out, and the road was lightly travelled (only three semi’s to pass). A word about the trucks here. They use a mix of Japanese and American tractors – the roads are narrower, but the tractors are as wide as they are in Canada! The truckers drive about as gently as they do in Canada as well!

I made it to my accommodations in Napier around 8pm. I am staying at the Sea Breeze B&B, right along the Marine Parade. I did a quick walk about last night, and I have decided enough with driving today — I am staying here another night.




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