Wairoa [101km] This is the main route south from Gisborne on State Highway 2 which will take you on to Napier (215km) and eventually to the capital city, Wellington (534km). At the village of Makaraka (6km) take the left branch at the junction with SH2. Head out through vineyards, orchards and maize fields to the bridge over the Waipaoa River at Matawhero (5km from Makaraka). Take the extreme left turn at the roundabout, following SH2 and signs to Wairoa. Head south across the Poverty Bay plains.
Wherowhero Lagoon & Young Nick's Head [Wairoa 79km | Gisborne 22km] If you love wild places take a left towards the ocean at Browns Beach Road. Wherowhero Lagoon is one of the last large wetlands (160 hectares) on the North Island’s east coast. Beyond is the wild expanse of Brown’s Beach and Young Nick’s Head is very close.
Morere Hot Springs [Wairoa 41km | Gisborne 60km] On the south side of the Wharerata hills Morere Hot Springs is a thermal pool complex set in a native bush reserve. For a small entry fee there are a number of public and private pools to enjoy. The 364-hectare bush reserve has walking tracks, from 10 minutes to 3 hours, through a rare stand of lowland North Island rainforest. There is a café at the Hot Springs and a dairy and café on the highway. Morere Hot Springs Lodge & Cabins P 06 837 8824.
Nuhaka, Opoutama & Mahia Peninsula [34km there and back] 9km from Morere you reach a tee-junction at the village of Nuhaka. Right continues on to Wairoa and left takes you 17km to 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 playground and a Mecca for surfers and fishermen. Mahia has an excellent 9-hole links golf course.
The Quarters P 06 837 5751.
Wairoa [Gisborne 101km] From Nuhaka there is a fairly easy 32km drive close to the coast, passing the expansive Whakaki Lagoon, to the river town of Wairoa. Stop beside the river on Marine Parade to buy food for lunch and take a photo of the old Portland Island lighthouse by the bridge. Drive to the end of Marine Parade and along Kopu Road to the coastline to view the wide and scenic Wairoa river mouth. With a range of services available, Wairoa is an ideal base for exploring the rest of the area. Ask at the Wairoa i-SITE Visitor Information Centre for a full range of activities and accommodation options.