43 km
3 - 4 hours
Information for this trail was last updated June 2024

The coastal State Highway 35 (Whāngārā Road) from Gisborne to Pouawa is an attractive and popular cycle ride with headland viewing points worth a stop. A calm Sunday is a good day to choose for this ride because there are likely to be log trucks on the highway on other days. 

Turihaua and Pouawa beaches are popular for summer camping, fishing and swimming. Makorori Beach is one of the most popular recreation beaches in te Tairāwhiti. Dive Tatapouri, located at Tatapouri Beach, offers a world-famous interactive marine experience with stingrays and other sea life.

Pouawa is home to Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, with eight different marine habitats including inshore reef, rocky intertidal platforms and sediment flats. This reserve offers the rare opportunity to encounter New Zealand’s intriguing marine life at close range, in a
protected environment. Established in 1999 after many years of work by Ngāti Konohi and the Department of Conservation, the reserve has plenty of great snorkelling, scuba-diving and marine sightseeing opportunities.


History of the trail

Gisborne District Council's Draft Makorori Masterplan includes some historical information generously given by the hapū of Makorori. Gisborne District Council Draft Makorori Masterplan

Over time, Makorori and the reefs including Te Toka Ahuru (Aerial Reef) became the fishing grounds of all hapū landward and seaward, including Rakaiatane, Hinehaeretaua, Te Aitanga a Māhaki, and Ngāti Konohi.

Hapū elders often spoke of the hapū fishing fleet that went to sea from Makorori from August to October to fish Tangaroa's children on Te Toka Ahuru. Following the Ruatepupuke tradition, 40 waka would travel out, 38 were for whānau of hapū and two were for those who rested while the fleet was fishing night and day. Upon their return, the fleet would rest, using the maka-o-riri aloe vera plant on their sunburn, and preparing their catches of fish by hangi smoke pits to travel west inland and north to Pouawa and Whāngārā, At the northern Makorori beach, hangi pits exposed on building sites have been identified and protected as the historical reference of this fishing practice.

The Draft Makorori Masterplan proposes naming four significant sites along Makorori Beach – 

Pānehu, an historic pā site of Hinehaeretaua, 

Hinehaeretaua, the tipuna who built and maintained pā along the beach and facilitated peace among the many whānau, hapū and iwi who visited Makorori,

Waiwhakata, named after the pā which once sat on the steep hill slopes above Makorori, and

Pukaingakakaho, named after the pā which sits atop Tatapouri point.

Tips & Logistics

Be aware that the speed limit varies between 80km/hr to 100km/hr after Okitu. Vehicles will be passing you at speed. Cycle as far to the left as is practical. From Gisborne to Wainui and Okitu, the speed limit for vehicles changes from 50km/hr to 60km/hr, then 80km/hr, reducing to 70km/hr through Okitu. 

The reserve has car parks, public toilets, picnic tables and information signs.