Mount Hikurangi: The Land of the First Light
There are numerous places where one can gaze upon the world’s first sunrise. The summit of Mount Hikurangi is regarded to be the best spot to watch God’s majestic creation awaken, and although this is open to interpretation, the mountain gained world prominence when the new Millennium was celebrated.
Be one of the first people in the world to have an unforgettable experience to welcome the day in the land of the first light by visiting Mount Hikurangi!
New Zealand, East Cape, north of Gisborne, is the first place on Earth that is lucky enough to witness the world’s first sunrise each and every day.
About Mount Hikurangi
Mount Hikurangi (or Te Ara ki Hikurangi in Mori) is a 1,752 m (5,748 ft) summit in the eastern edge of New Zealand’s North Island, only around 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Gisborne and 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of the East Cape Lighthouse. It is the highest mountain in the Raukumara Range and the highest non-volcanic divine mountain in the North Island.
The summit of Mount Hikurangi is regarded as the first land on Earth to catch the sun’s rays before other places; “Haere mai, e te Rwhiti!” (Welcome, O Sunrise! ), South Island’s traditional greeting, alludes to this fact.
History of Mount Hikurangi
Mount Hikurangi was within Ngāti Porou’s territory. The mountain is considered sacred by the local Ngāti Porou people. In Maori mythology, this region suggests that when the legendary Māui, the Polynesian adventurer, famous for his extraordinary feats, Mount Hikurangi is the very first part of New Zealand’s North Island to spring up from the sea after being dredged up.
As per Ngti Porou legend, Mui’s waka (canoe) Nukutaimemeha is still stranded on the mountain; it was once the hideout that Mui used during the fishing trip. The crown jewel depicts Mui as a founding ancestor of the Ngati Porou tribe, whereas the other eight carvings are assembled to embody the traditional compass points.
Experience Mount Hikurangi
Mount Hikurangi is a very spiritual mountain for the local Māori people. To enjoy the most of Mount Hikurangi and learn their history more, you must contact an accredited local tour guide or only seek permission to the Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou. A tour is the best way to experience Mount Hikurangi.
How to get there
Hikurangi guided tours are available by 4-wheel drive or by guided walks. There is no public vehicle or bicycle access. However, you can drive north from Gisborne by private, rental cars or opt for 4×4 tours by an accredited local tour guide and through the Runanganui o Ngati Poro and enjoy the scenic view of the vast Pacific Ocean.
You can also opt to experience Mount Hikurangi by taking a helicopter and have a breathtaking tour towards the mountain. The Runanganui o Ngati Poro also offers a summit or overnight guide.
For some, watching the break-of-dawn after a great hike is the main object of going to Mount Hikurangi. To achieve this, you could hike and stay at your accommodation and then rise two hours before daybreak to complete the journey to the summit.
Plan your trip
Mount Hikurangi is a highland landscape with volatile weather that changes quickly. At any time of the year, you can expect rainfall, haze and fog, strong winds, and freezing temperatures; be prepared to turn your back if the weather does not permit. Dress warmly and bring waterproof clothing and or items. Gear up with first aid kits, a form of communication, and carry water and food.
Take extra precautions along the path and be respectful to the tribes.
Before you set off on your adventure, inform someone you trust about the details of your plans for safety measures.
Where to Stay
There are several places on the East Cape where you can gaze at the world’s first sunrise. Still the best spot to stay at is situated about an hour north of Ruatoria at the northernmost point of the Tairawhiti region, the picturesque seaside community of Hicks Bay. Away from all the distractions of city life, Hicks Bay is just perfect for an unforgettable experience with your family or your special someone. Hicks Bay Motel New Zealand offers a wide range of accommodation to fit your needs. So what are you waiting for? Book with us to get the best sunrise experience in New Zealand!