11 August 2020

East Coast Explorer

Yesterday I had the amazing experience of flying around the East Coast with Andy Stevenson in his Piper PA-46 Meridian ZK-UTE...

Lined up on Runway 32 at Gisborne

Aorangi and Waitahaia River


Hikurangi at 1,752 m (5,748 ft) is the highest peak in the Raukumara range - trying to hide in the cloud. It is the North Island's highest non-volcanic peak

On the other side of Hikurangi - The Tapuaeroa River

Aorangi from the other side...

and Hikurangi from the other side

A look at the erosion on Tapuaeroa River
Waiapu River


Waiapu River looking down the Coast
Waiapu River with Hikurangi clear now in the distance 

Port Awanui - Shipping came here until the 1930s. The wharf has long gone

A beautiful day down the Coast
Another look at the erosion... Andy talked about earth flow as akin to the ice flow on the glaciers.

Waipiro Bay
The community of Te Puia Springs and Whakauparangi peak
Forestry - a blessing and a curse on the East Coast
Entering Tokomaru Bay
Tokomaru Bay wharf

Tokomaru Bay
Mawhai Point
Motuhina Island and Nuhiti
Motuoroi Island and Anaura Bay - Cook's Landing Place 1769

Paerau Point

Karaka Bay
Tolaga Bay


Cooks Cove in front of the wing... He took Endeavour in there
More of Tolaga Bay

The old coach rode that went along the Coast
Gable End Foreland and Light
Sam fishings for crays
Whāngārā, the setting for Whale Rider. The legendary voyager Paikea reached Whāngārā after journeying from Hawaiki on the back of a whale. The whale became the rock, Whāngārā Island, at middle right in this image, with its distinctive ‘whale’ shape.

Wainui and Gisborne

Views of Gisborne before rejoining for Runway 32

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My ride, Piper PA46T Meridian ZK-UTE 


  1. What a great day. That took me back to my years in and around the region 'in the day'.

  2. My home turf! Love Gizzy and the East Coast. Truly paradise!

  3. It's a magical part of New Zealand. I lived in Gisborne from March 1978 (when Fieldair were still operating multiple Beaver and DC-3 aerial topdressing aircraft out of there) until October 1998 and used to regularly visit the East Coast. I've also stood on top of Hikurangi (several times, including in the snow in winter), Whanokao, Aorangi and Wharekia. Even though I've now been living in Wairarapa for 21½ years since leaving Gisborne, those photographs make me feel homesick.