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The East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand includes the Gisborne District or Gisborne Region (Maori: Te Tai Rawhiti) and Hawkes Bay Region. The former is named after its largest settlement, the city of Gisborne and the Hawke's Bay Region (Maori: Heretaunga) is recognised on the world stage for its award-winning wines.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council sits in both the cities of Napier and Hastings. It derives from Hawke Bay, named by Captain James Cook in honour of Admiral Edward Hawke, who decisively defeated the French at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759. The Gisborne Region is also known as the East Coast region. However, it is often divided into the East Coast proper, also known as East Cape, north of the city, and Poverty Bay, which includes and surrounds the city. Its Maori name, Te Tai Rawhiti, means the Coast of the Sunrise, reflecting that it is the first part of the New Zealand mainland to see the sunrise.

The district is located in the northeastern corner of the North Island. It ranges from the Wharerata Hills in the south, which divides it from the Wairoa district in the Hawke's Bay region to Lottin Point in the north. The western boundary runs along the Raukumara Range, which separates it from the Opotiki district. In the southwest, its boundary runs along the west edge of Te Urewera National Park.

Situated on the east coast of the North Island, the Hawke's Bay region includes the hilly coastal land around the northern and central bay, the floodplains of the Wairoa River in the north, the vast fertile Heretaunga Plains around Hastings in the south, and a hilly interior stretching up into the Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges.

Five major rivers flow down into the coast of Hawke's Bay. From north to south, they are the Wairoa River, Mohaka River, Tutaekuri River, Ngaruroro River and Tukituki River, respectively. Lake Waikaremoana is situated in northern Hawke's Bay, roughly 35 km from the coast. It is the largest lake in Hawke's Bay, 4th most prominent in North Island and 16th in New Zealand.

The region consists of Wairoa District, Hastings District, Napier City, and its southernmost district, Central Hawke's Bay District, as well as Taharua in Taupo District and Ngamatea in Rangitikei District. It does not include Southern Hawke's Bay, whose constituent districts, the Dannevirke and Woodville counties, came under the Tararua District Council and the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council (also known as Horizons Regional Council) in the 1989 local government reforms.

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New Zealand's East Coast boasts the country's most beautiful landscapes, from pristine beaches to rugged mountains and lush forests. With so much to explore, choosing the right area to stay can make all the difference. Here are some of the best places to stay while visiting the East Coast of New Zealand.

Gisborne: Known as the "first city of the sun," Gisborne is the easternmost city in New Zealand and one of the sunniest places in the country. With a rich history and vibrant cultural scene, Gisborne offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels.

Napier: This charming seaside city is renowned for its art deco architecture and world-class wineries. Located in the heart of the Hawke's Bay wine region, Napier is an excellent base for exploring the region's vineyards and beaches. Visitors can choose from various accommodation options, including boutique hotels and cozy bed and breakfasts.

Tauranga: Situated on the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is a bustling port city with a vibrant waterfront and stunning ocean views. The town is a popular destination for beachgoers, with miles of pristine coastline and plenty of water sports activities. Accommodation options in Tauranga range from luxury resorts to budget-friendly motels.

Whakatane: Located in the eastern Bay of Plenty, Whakatane is a picturesque town with a rich Maori heritage and natural beauty. The city is an excellent base for exploring nearby attractions such as White Island and the Whirinaki Rainforest. Accommodation options in Whakatane include charming bed and breakfasts and comfortable motels.

Opotiki: Situated on the stunning Ohiwa Harbour, Opotiki is a small town that offers visitors a glimpse into traditional Maori culture and a range of outdoor activities, from fishing and kayaking to hiking and mountain biking. Accommodation options in Opotiki are limited but include budget-friendly motels and holiday parks.

Whether you're looking for a luxury hotel or a budget-friendly hostel, the East Coast of New Zealand has something to offer every type of traveller. With so many beautiful destinations to explore, choosing the right area to stay is the first step in planning an unforgettable vacation.

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