World-class surf breaks
Morere Hot Springs
Wairoa to Gisborne via the Mahia Peninsula on SH2
The riverside town of Wairoa is the halfway point between Napier and Gisborne. There are several riverside walks and a kids playground next to the impressive Wairoa River. Drive to the end of Marine Parade and along Kopu Road to the coastline to view the wide and scenic Wairoa River mouth.
Discover the coastal paradise of Mahia Peninsula
Turning towards the coast at Nuhaka takes you to the marine lover's paradise that is the Mahia Peninsula. A long sandy beach stretches the length of the isthmus from Opoutama to Mahia Village. There are more beaches, reefs and estuaries on the north coast. This is a popular family holiday hot spot and a mecca for surfers – don’t forget your board if you’re up for a few waves.
1 h 13 min | 71.4km
Bush walks and hot springs
Leaving Mahia relatively early, take Tunanui Road off the peninsula and head to Morere. Explore the rare stand of lowland North Island rainforest via a bush walk (tracks range from 10 minutes to 3 hours), before soaking weary travel bones in the thermal waters of Morere Hot Springs. Grab lunch at the café or the adjacent tearooms.
Wherowhero Lagoon and Young Nick’s Head / Te Kurī-a-Pāoa
Continue north up the coast before turning off towards the ocean down Browns Beach Road. Wherowhero Lagoon is a large wetlands (160 hectares), beyond which is the wild expanse of Browns Beach and stunning views of Young Nick’s Head, the first land sighted by the crew of HMS Endeavour when the British first arrived in Aotearoa in 1769. Young Nick’s Head is also known as Te Kurī-a-Pāoa (the dog of Pāoa, Pāoa was the captain of the Horouta waka (canoe) which carried Maori here many centuries before).
From here it’s just a short drive to Tairāwhiti Gisborne through the vineyards and orchards of the Poverty Bay Flats.
Morere Hot Springs
1 h 42 min | 106km via SH2