Take yourself on a drive around the isolated and rugged East Cape. Drive from one location to the next in ease as all tours, activities and accommodation have been organised for you by Wild Earth Travel. Fly into Tauranga, collect your vehicle and driving between locations and time within the small towns of Mount Maunganui, Whakatane, Gisborne, Lake Waikaremoana and Napier!

Please Note: This is a tailormade trip and dates are an indication of when you can depart. Please contact Wild Earth Travel with your preferred travel dates.


• Enjoy kayaking through a narrow canyon to see thousands of glow worms.

• A four hour dolphin and wildlife cruise

• A guided sunrise tour of the sacred Maunga Hikurangi plus the opportunity to plant a native seedling as part of the native tree regeneration programme

• 1.5 hour reef ecology tour observing stingrays, eagle rays and kingfish

• Plus enjoy the scenery and small towns of Mount Maunganui, Whakatane, Gisborne and Napier

Arrive in Tauranga and pick up your rental car (any time – price based on 10am). Check in to the Oceanside Resort & Twin Towers. Tonight you will enjoy your first activity an evening glow worm kayak tour. You will start nestled among the trees at Lake McLaren Falls Park with fine New Zealand wines and delicious cheeses while watching the sunset. At dusk you will be led into the calm waters to discover the magic of the enchanting glow worm canyon. Kayak up a narrow, high-sided canyon at the head of the lake to see thousands of glow worms. The tour is led by a professional guide providing a fascinating and informative brief about the life cycle and peculiarities of the New Zealand fungus gnat.
Check out of your accommodation this morning and make your way to the Tauranga waterfront jetty to board the Bay Explorer at 9am for a half day Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise. Enjoy exploring the pristine Bay of Plenty coastline and islands, where you will see an amazing diversity of marine wildlife – dolphins, seasonal seabirds, penguins, seals, whales, sunfish, school fish, sharks, orca and even maybe turtles! You will return to Tauranga by 2pm. Before you make your way to Whakatane we recommend a walk up Mount Maunganui. Approximately 40 minutes when following the Mauao Summit Walk. Your drive to Whakatane is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes, check into the White Island Rendezvous.
Start the day discovering the rare beauty of one of New Zealand’s little-known treasures - Moutohorā/Whale Island. You will board your water taxi at approximately 10am for a 15 minute journey to the island. On arrival you will enjoy a 4 hour guided tour of one of New Zealand’s most protected wildlife sanctuaries. Keep an eye out for the threatened New Zealand dotterel, the North Island saddleback, Tuatara, re-crowned parakeet as your journey through the regenerated native bush before you dig yourself a soothing geothermal spring pool at Onepu Bay. Each ticket price includes a landing fee supporting the Department of Conservation’s work on the island and a contribution to support the Whakatane coastguard. Once back in Whakatane approximately 2pm spend the rest of your day exploring one of the many tracks and walks in the area.
Check out of your accommodation by 9am to be on the road for a big day of sightseeing! You will drive 3 hours 45 minutes from Whakatane to the most easterly point on mainland New Zealand to see the historic East Cape lighthouse which stands at 154 metres above sea level and is accessed by walking along the track. After this, drive 2 hours 30 minutes from the East Cape Lighthouse to the beautiful Tolaga Bay, make sure to stop in and see St Mary’s Church in Tikitiki on the way as it is one of the most ornate Maori churches in New Zealand. On arrival in Tolaga Bay enjoy walking the length of New Zealand’s 2nd longest wharf, a 660m long pier built in the 1920s. Nearby is the Cooks Cove Walkway, the spot where Captain James Cook anchored the HMS Endeavour to repair and restock the ship in 1769. This walk takes around 2 hours 30 minutes to complete. From Tolaga it is a one hour drive to Gisborne to check in to your accommodation at the Knapdale Eco Lodge.
Another early morning as you drive 2 hours to see Maunga Hikurangi. You will meet your Ngati Porou kaitiaki (guide) in Ruatoria to make your way to the base of Maunga Hikurangi. From here, you will be transported by 4WD to the place where nine large pou (Maori carvings) are situated and where you will watch the sun rise enjoying spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, valets and sunrise. This experience allows you to immerse in the nature and culture of the Ngati Porou people. This tour is approximately 4 hours. After the completion of this tour drive 40 minutes from Ruatoria to Tokomaru Bay, a small beachside community with great fishing and surfing. If you enjoy fresh, simple and tasty food stop at the Te Puka Tavern for brunch and beautiful views, or head to the famous Café 35 to try the legendary paua pies. Drive 1 hour from Tokomaru Bay to Dive Tatapouri where you are booked in for a reef ecology tour. This is one of the most popular things to do within the region, famous for its interaction with wild stingrays. With knowledgeable guides you will walk across the reef to meet the residents of the reef including short tail stingrays and eagle rays. Return to Gisborne (a 30 minute drive) to spend the rest of the day relaxing or enjoying a few of the local walks or the beach.
Check out after breakfast and drive 25 minutes to the Gisborne Railbike Adventure to experience a unique morning bike tour. You will enjoy a 7km ride through a bush-clad valley which slowly narrows to the entrance of Tunnel 26. Switch on your lights and start cycling the 1.4km long tunnel. Once through the tunnel, it is another kilometre along the flat until you come to the panoramic views out over the Pacific Ocean only 140 metres below. Enjoy lunch (not provided) before heading back along the rails. Drive 30 minutes from the Gisborne Railbike Adventure to the Morere Hot Springs Lodge where you will check in for the night. There are a number of walking tracks to do within this region or enjoy taking a night-time walk through the woods to see glow-worms, young native trout, long finned eels and fresh water crayfish.
Drive to Wairoa and enjoy brunch at one of the many cafés. Then continue on for another 30 minutes to the Te Reinga Falls Scenic Reserve. The falls offer a spectacular site, they are fed by the Hangaroa and Ruakituri Rivers that merge just above. From here, you will continue on and see some amazing views over rolling hills, farmland and grazing animals. Ohuka Road will take you back to State Highway 38 where you will continue to Lake Waikaremoana (1 hour 45 minutes from Te Reinga). There are a number of great walks to complete at Lake Waikaremoana including many waterfalls and New Zealander’s largest rata trees. Talk to us for walking recommendations or visit the Te Urewera Visitor Centre. After enjoying your time at Lake Waikaremoana drive 3 hors to Napier to check in to the Art Deco Masonic Hotel located on the waterfront with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and drop your car off at the Napier Airport before 10am.
Itineraries are subject to change.

East Cape Self Drive Accommodation

Oceanside Resort & Twin Towers

Welcome to Oceanside Resort & Twin Towers. Stay with us and enjoy our beachfront accommodation in the centre of beautiful Mount Maunganui.

Situated at the foot of Mount Maunganui overlooking golden sandy beaches, Oceanside Resort & Twin Tower’s prime location puts you at the heart of this bustling seaside town. Our enviable address on Maunganui Road gives you access to so much to see and do, yet still provides you with the tranquil escape that you dream of having on your holiday.

Experience the best the area has to offer, all without having to venture far from the comfort of your room, with a host of activities and sights right at your doorstep. Experience the glorious beaches, local surfing and water activities and abundance of shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants nestled at the foot of the Mount.

Whether you are travelling to Mount Maunganui for a family holiday, a romantic getaway, or a corporate event, Oceanside Resort & Twin Towers has everything that you need in one easy location. Relax on your own private balcony or patio, wander down to the beach, or take advantage of our on-site pools, gym, and spa.

White Island Rendezvous

Nestled between the Whakatāne River and a Pōhutukawa tree lined escarpment lies White Island Rendezvous. Whether you’re travelling for leisure or in Whakatāne on business, our 4.5 star motel accommodation has a room type to suit every traveller.

A quiet location yet only minutes walk from Whakatāne’s boutique shopping and numerous restaurants.

White Island Rendezvous is the only motel accommodation in Whakatāne to boast its own onsite café - a favourite amongst locals. Let our barista make you the perfect coffee to go with your gourmet breakfast. Choose to have it delivered to your room or enjoy in the atmosphere of the café.

Knapdale Eco Lodge

Welcome to Knapdale Eco Lodge - a tranquil paradise only 10 minutes from Gisborne airport.

At our luxurious hide-a-way you can take a leisurely stroll around the lake through our well tracked forest, feed the animals or pick oranges for your breakfast juice. Or you can just relax and enjoy the superb food while enjoying award winning Gisborne wines overlooking a stunning landscape.

During your stay you don’t need to feel guilty about the small pleasures because Knapdale Eco Lodge is a sustainably managed operation that has won numerous awards including the Gisborne Rural Environmental Award.

Knapdale is also the perfect base to explore the Gisborne and East Coast region. The region has many forests, lakes and rivers, and breathtaking beaches with excellent surf. It’s also a must for wine and food lovers. We look forward to your visit.

Morere Lodge & Holiday Park

Kia ora, welcome to beautiful Morere, home to the Southern hemispheres only fossilized salt water hot pools set in hundreds of acres of stunning native forest with walks to explore and enjoy.

You will find us Just across the road from the iconic Morere Hot Springs. 

Accommodation options include: Self-contained cabins, 2 bedroom cottage and our 5 bedroom historic East Coast farmhouse lodge.

A wonderful place to spend time together, relax, explore, adventure, or celebrate a special event.

Morere is also near to beautiful beaches and surrounded by forests, rolling hills and pastures.

Art Deco Masonic Hotel

Napier’s best located Boutique Hotel, on the waterfront with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean – Masonic Hotel is an Art Deco jewel offering unique, characterful Napier accommodation options.

Right in the heart of 1930’s Napier and opposite Hawke’s Bay’s MTG (Museum), The Art Deco Centre and i-SITE, Masonic Hotel’s location is perfect for exploring Art Deco Napier.

With a choice of stylish and individual Rooms, Studios, Suites, Apartments your stay at Art Deco Masonic Hotel is guaranteed to add glamour and fond memories to your Napier experience.

Art Deco Masonic Hotel guests enjoy a choice of bar and dining options including; Emporium Eatery and Bar serving delicious breakfasts, contemporary lunch and dinner menu, locally roasted coffee and a great range of New Zealand and international beers, wines and spirits; Emporium - The Lounge a most intriguing and enchanting place that captures an era of elegance and grace where guests can enjoy fine wines and dining in more intimate surroundings; The Rose our friendly, authentic Irish pub. Please note that during COVID-19 our dining services have been slightly adjusted. Please refer below.

The Hotel has a variety of unique spaces for conferences, functions and celebrations and guests enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi.


• 7 x nights accommodation
• Car rental for 8 days including one way fees, total protection package and stress free cover
• 3.5 hr evening glow worm kayak tour
• 4 hour dolphin and wildlife cruise
• 4 hour Whale Island tour including a visit to a fur seal colony an catamaran excursion
• 4 hour guided sunrise tour of the sacred Maunga Hikurangi includes a light breakfast and opportunity to plant a native seedling as part of the native tree regeneration programme
• 1.5 hour reef ecology tour observing stingrays, eagle rays and kingfish, includes waders to keep you dry
• Half day rail/cycle journey between Gisborne and Wairoa


• Meals when not listed in itinerary
• Personal costs e.g. laundry and souvenirs
• Fuel for rental car
• Transport to Tauranga and from Napier
8 Days from
$2,499 NZD pp

or call us on

NZ Freephone
0800 945 3327

AUS Freephone
1800 107 715

to help you make your reservation

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