Bush walks and hot springs
Leaving Mahia relatively early, take Tunanui Road off the peninsula and head to Morere. Explore the rare stand of lowland North Island rainforest via a bush walk (tracks range from 10 minutes to 3 hours), before soaking weary travel bones in the thermal waters of Morere Hot Springs. Grab lunch at the café or the adjacent tearooms.
Wherowhero Lagoon and Young Nick’s Head / Te Kurī-a-Pāoa
Continue north up the coast before turning off towards the ocean down Browns Beach Road. Wherowhero Lagoon is a large wetlands (160 hectares), beyond which is the wild expanse of Browns Beach and stunning views of Young Nick’s Head, the first land sighted by the crew of HMS Endeavour when the British first arrived in Aotearoa in 1769. Young Nick’s Head is also known as Te Kurī-a-Pāoa (the dog of Pāoa, Pāoa was the captain of the Horouta waka (canoe) which carried Maori here many centuries before).
From here it’s just a short drive to Tairāwhiti Gisborne through the vineyards and orchards of the Poverty Bay Flats.