Introducing East Cape
Nowhere else in NZ is remotely like the gorgeous, detached East Cape. Maori community life is at the forefront here, with each stunning bay hiding a remote marae and village. It’s a fascinating illustration of what might have been if the Maori weren’t so vigorously divested of their land in the 19th century and the flood of British settlers had been moderated.
The pace of life is markedly slower here – everyone seems to know everyone else and life is rurally wound-down. It’s not unusual to see horses tethered by the roadside as their owners go about their daily affairs. The interior remains wild, with the Raukumara Range forming the Cape’s jagged spine.
Lining the coastline is the Pacific Coast Hwy (SH35), 330km of curvilinear asphalt that took decades to sculpt. The drive presents some stupendous views: bleak, postapocalyptic shores strewn with driftwood and punctured with tiny inlets that change aspect with the weather. On sunny days the sea is shimmering turquoise; at other times clouds brood on craggy slopes and everything shifts to misty green. Clear mountain rivers surge through steep gorges, while the summer seashore turns crimson with pohutukawa blooms.
Last updated: Mar 2, 2009
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