East Cape Lighthouse
7541 State Highway 35, Te Araroa, New Zealand
East Cape Lighthouse Te Araroa Reviews
As East as you can get Mar 01, 2002
I had a spare couple of hours after finishing my driving assessments at Te Araroa so I thought I'd shoot out to the East Cape Lighthouse.
Nic and I had stopped at the signpost when we came through the town several years earlier on our motorcycle trip but decided the 20km ride was too far out of our way.
I cruised into town and waved to all the local children who were out on the street, having just been released from school for the day. They probably wondered why they had never seen my patrol car here before and who the new cop might be in town now, and what had happened to Gary?
On the other side of the shopping center the road swings past the beach, out over a bridge across a river that flows out to meet the sea a short walk away. I didn't stop and take that walk.
Gary had told me how to get to the lighthouse and mentioned the 700 steps up to the top of the hill it sits on. That was going to be enough for me!
After the bridge the road became gravel. The East Coast area has little traffic and doesn't justify much expenditure by the government I guess. This was a typical state of repair, or dis-repair, if you wanted to look at it that way. Several times the road had been bitten away by the sea and traffic was reduced to one lane.
Out at the end of the road there is a small toilet block and a parking area for those visiting the lighthouse.
This valley is delightful and as I climbed the steps to the top I was constantly looking West to where the sun was dropping down over the ranges and the gold and green of the paddocks and the maize took my breath away.
Well, I think that's what took my breath away, it may have been the steady assent of this hill, where at the bottom, I had passed a sign that warned me of a steep climb.
I was wearing my stab-proof vest so I was enjoying the challenge of it's 6kgs weight and it's tight fitting, non-breathable style! I was also very mindful that two months ago I had the plaster cast removed from my left ankle. It was still not as strong as I needed it to be for my impending deployment to Timor Leste.
Even with all that on my mind I was feeling pretty relaxed about the climb and as I trod on a step that was marked "150" I smiled and thought that was pretty cute.
By the time I reached one that marked 301 from the top I was puffing hard, and sweating, and aware that my thighs were screaming, and appreciating how unfit I had become whilst I was on crutches with my foot.
The top was a blessing. The Dept of Maritime Safety had put up some very informative billboards explaining why the lighthouse no longer sat atop the hill on nearby East Island and told tales of shipwrecks, cemetaries and pest eradication from the Island by the Te Araroa locals.
Naturally the stomp down the hill was easier and the air-conditioning in my car most welcome!
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