New Zealand’s Most Underrated Scenic Route: The Waioeka Gorge – Day 278, Part1
Road Trip Down the Waioeka Gorge
Today we are taking an amazing scenic route in New Zealand that is well off-the-beaten-track, the Waioeka Gorge! If you like this video and want more inspiration for your New Zealand trip, take a look at our epic YouTube Channel!
Today we are tackling what is probably one of the most underrated road trip in New Zealand the Waioeka Gorge and then we’re taking a steam train and then we’re driving all the way back. That’s gonna be a long day.
This morning we are leaving Opotiki to make our way all the way back to Gisborne. Yes, after spending 3 days road tripping to get to Opotiki from Gisborne we are just taking 3 hours to get all the way back but it’s stunning road ahead as we are taking the Waioeka Gorge.
But first we need to make a plan on which pitstops we want to make along the way and we have some help.
So part of what we want to do today is to drive this Waioeka Journey right here cos it’s a really beautiful drive all around and turns out that we just did stop right here and found a big map of a tonne of things that we can stop at so Laura and I right now are making plans.
There’s 6 pa sites around here.
Yeah. And they’re just like all around us. They would have been in the hills.
Along the waioeka Journey there is heaps of places to park. So after passing one, two and three of them, we decide to stop on the third one if there is places to park there is probably awesome things to see and little did we know there is. We are one a beautiful river bank with a tonne of pebbles. The river is placid looking super calm and lined with a Jurassic looking forest and it feels like a dinosaur could step out at any time.
So you never heard about those wood that you use to find water? They used to use them in the far west in America.
Oh, well. Here you are. Water is here.
After walking along the riverside for about 20 minutes we decide to get back on the road because we do have an activity planned later this afternoon as we take the Gisborne City Vintage Railway and we want to see a lot more things along the Waioeka Gorge. The deeper we get into the Waioeka Gorge the more dramatic the scenery gets with the mountains getting bigger and bigger towering above us, absolutely covered with dense forest it’s a really picture prefect place. And along the way there’s a lot of official stops where it’s well signposted so it’s easy to see before you need to pull over and then there’s loads of little information signs to learn more about the history of the Waioeka Gorge.
The signs talk about the early history of the Maori settlers that first arrived in the Waioeka Gorge, goes onto when it became a farming area and then talks about how this whole area has become a regenerating forest.
Along the way also there are couple of historic bridges so we check out the Manganuku Bridge which was built in 1928 and it’s one of the rare surviving wooden truss bridges left in New Zealand.
We head back on the road and make our way to our next short pit stop but there’s actually a lot more to do on the Waioeka Gorge if you want to spend more time here, For instance, there’s a few campsites, there’s also a lot of walking tracks but because we have somewhere to be today we just decide to do the short things. For instance, at the Monument Parking Area there’s an awesome little watering hole where you can go for dip or you can watch the native birds or just chillax have a picnic and be surrounded by this beautiful placid environment.
Those somewhat calm and shallow rivers are usually a bed for heaps of different insects they are usually flying just above the water and you can see them if you pay a lot of attention and this usually attracts a lot of native birds, namely the fantails. Which are very agile biords feeding on those little insects.
So we just found a couple of fantails feeding so they just fly above the water and just under the water and pick all the little bugs that fly just above the water it’s absolutely brilliant. We love seeing that.
it’s so amazing to be able to see those fantails in action. They are super quick but super agile. Obviously our footage does not do them justice at all actually there is a super show that you can watch it’s called BBC 2 New Zealand’s Earth Mythical Islands and they have some awesome slow motion of those fantails hunting it’s definitely worth watching. Then we jump back on the road toward Gisborne.
Next time on Day 278, Part 2, we are jump a traditional steam train through Gisborne city across an airport runway and beyond. So join us tomorrow for the conclusion of Day 278 and hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss a thing and you get a reminder for every one of our awesome episodes.
Wai-o-eka. Waioeka. Wai-o-eka. Ok, Waioeka. Waioeka? What a word! I’m going to try and only say it once. Waioeka. Done.