East Cape Caper

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East Cape Caper

East Cape Caper

6 Day / 5 Night Tour to discover Gisborne and the East Cape, with additional stays in Whakatāne and Rotorua.

Get a taste for New Zealand the way it used to be. Take the road less travelled around the stunning East Cape to Hicks Bay and on to Gisborne and Rotorua, enjoying local hospitality along the way.

Tour at a Glance


$2,690 per person, share twin

$400 single supplement

Tour Date:

9 – 14 October, 2021 

1 – 6 November, 2021 

8 – 13 February, 2022


Fitness Level

Moderate walking with some uneven ground

Group Size Limited

maximum 18 travellers


• All meals
• Entrance fees
• All transport by comfortable, air conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers).
• Services of your knowledgeable guide.
• Quality accommodation chosen for a “sense of place”.


• Domestic airfares
• Travel Insurance

Tour Itinerary

For full details please request a Free Information Pack (Form to the right)

Day 1Auckland - Waihi - Mt Maunganui - Whakatane

Your Kiwi guide meets you this morning. We’re heading Eastwards! Down the southern motorway and over the Hauraki Plains and through the dramatic Karangahake Gorge to Waihi for a stroll in this historic goldmining town.

Continuing south we drive to Mt Maunganui for lunch, and visit a kiwifruit orchard where we tour by special transport and hear the history of this major industry. We continue to Whakatāne, and our waterfront motel just opposite the Whakatāne Wharf. We dine out this evening.

Day 2Whakatane - Te Kaha - Hicks Bay

After breakfast we drive to Ohope Beach and down the coast to Opotiki. There are stunning ocean views along the dramatic coastal highway as we make our way to the old whaling settlement of Te Kaha to lunch with Jessica Reriti at Tui Lodge.

We continue along the coast to Raukokore Church, sitting right on the beachfront it’s a favourite photo stop. At the East Cape Manuka Company we meet the pioneers of this Manuka honey and oil business. We stay at Hicks Bay Motel Lodge and dine in this evening.

Day 3Hicks Bay –Te Araroa – Anaura Bay – Gisborne

We visit Te Araroa’s huge pohutakawa tree and St Mary’s, a beautifully decorated church built in 1926 as a memorial to the soldiers of Ngati Porou who died in World War I. Mt Hikurangi, the first place to see the sunrise, dominates the landscape.

Tokomaru and Tologa Bay Wharves are relics of the days when the sea provided easier access than roads. At Anaura Bay we lunch at “Rangimarie” to enjoy Judy Newell’s hospitality and the magical views. We stay two nights in Gisborne and dine out this evening.

Day 4Gisborne - Eastwoodhill Arboretum - Tairawhiti Museum

Discover the pretty town of Gisborne including the wonderful surf beaches that draw the summer crowds. We visit the granite memorial at Kaiti Bay that marks the spot where Captain Cook landed in 1769 and also Tairawhiti Museum which features major Maori and Captain Cook displays.

Lunch at Bushmere Estate vineyard and visit world-renowned Eastwoodhill Arboretum, 65 hectares of trees and shrubs. A special vehicle transports us around the gardens. Dine in Gisborne this evening.

Day 5Gisborne - Waioeka Gorge - Rotorua

We visit Prof Jack Richard’s and Won Gyu Moon’s stunning coastal garden, Tiromoana, at Wainui Beach then drive through the beautiful native forests of the Waioeka Gorge.

We stop for lunch with Mary and Bob Redpath at Wairata Station in the Waioeka Gorge before travelling westward to Rotorua, passing by the bush-clad shores of Lake Rotoma and Lake Rotoiti. In the summertime both lakes are popular holiday spots.

On arrival at your hotel you could take a dip in the indoor thermal pools. We dine in the hotel.

Day 6Rotorua - Auckland

This morning we sightsee in Rotorua including the Museum’s gardens and the geothermal activity in Kuirau Park.

We enjoy a farewell lunch hosted by our Rotorua friends Karen and David Walmsley in the one of a kind setting of Te Wairoa Buried Village. Our homeward journey passes through Tirau and Cambridge before reaching Auckland in the late afternoon.


Some great news… while we wait for international borders to re-open, there is no better time to see a bit of our own backyard and help our local communities get back to business. 

We’re excited to let you know that we have partnered with MoaTours, one of New Zealand’s leading and most trusted local tour operators since 1971. MoaTours offers a range of small group tours all over New Zealand that we think you’ll love — from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island.  

A a family run business just like Tours Direct, MoaTours has great connections and unbeatable local knowledge of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. They also share common values so we know you will be well looked after and have a great experience.

In this remote region life moves at a gentler pace and you get a feel for earlier New Zealand life. My favourite spots are Tiromoana Garden overlooking Wainui Beach and lunching at Judy’s in beautiful Anaura Bay where little has changed since Captain Cook sailed in 250 years ago.

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