May 3

The next leg of our adventure began with our departure from Whakatane. We decided that we wanted to drive our (as yet, unnamed) trusty steed all the way around the East Cape. It is the furthest point east in New Zealand.

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Along the way we stopped for a number of stunning vistas and, of course, for some food. As a child, Zhoel had stopped at the Ohiwa Oyster Farm when his family had done this drive. So we decided to stop there as well. We got some delicious fried oysters and chips.

We took State Highway 35; it is longer but it follows the coast for most of the trip. This means that the views were spectacular. Zhoel hadn’t been on this road in nearly 20 years; it was blast for us both to constantly be saying “Look at that! Wow!” The weather was perfect, with sunny skies and calm seas.

Along the way we stopped at Waihau, Lottin Point, and Hicks Bay. At Lottin Point we went for a walk around. There were some amazing shells that don’t exist in Waipu. I also saw Paua shells in nature for the first time!

We made it all the way to the East Cape lighthouse. To get there you must walk up 800 stairs. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re jogging to beat the sunset then it certainly is. By the time we got back down my legs were jelly. I think it is time to start running regularly! It was amazing to stand on the point the furthest east on mainland New Zealand, with the first sunrise in the world!

We drove back towards town and decided to stop at a campsite on the road to the lighthouse. The location is beautiful, but the wind off the sea is deafening. We are planning for an early start tomorrow to go see Zhoel’s grandparents and father.

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