• Te Urunga
    The Sunrise Experience

Welcome to the first light at Maunga Hikurangi

Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience is a unique and unforgettable experience to greet the dawn in the land of the first light.

Be the first in the world to welcome the new day in the land of the first light. Your journey to the top begins at the base of Maunga Hikurangi (Mount Hikurangi) in Ruatoria. Under the dark Southern skies and a blanket of brilliant stars, the Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience is an adventure like no other.

Bundled up with helmets on, traverse the serene landscape by 4WD, cross fertile farmland and rural pastures until you reach the first point of mainland New Zealand to see the sunrise each day.

 

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Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience

Price from $260.00

Watch the world awaken surrounded by nine larger than life carved pou (pillars) that stand as sacred cultural treasures of the local Ngati Porou people.

Listen and learn as your expert Ngati Porou guide provides an in-depth and intimate story of each and every one of the carvings, who or what they represent and the significance they hold to the Maori culture.

With roots that can be traced back to the Maori creation story, to when Maui Tikitiki-a-Taranga slowed the sun, gifted us fire and fished Aotearoa from the sea. Come hear our history, explore our land and meet the descendants of Maui on Maunga Hikurangi.

Tour includes:

  • Adventure to and from Maunga Hikurangi via 4WD vehicle
  • Visit a sacred site of great Maori cultural significance
  • Incredible photo ops at world-first sunrise
  • Discover the history of the nine legendary Maori carvings
  • Authentic tour with expert Ngati Porou guide
  • Native seedling to plant as part of eco-project
  • Participation in a karakia (traditional Maori blessing)
  • Gift from the Ngati Porou tribe
  • Light breakfast atop Maunga Hikurangi all locally sourced
  • Intimate tour with a maximum of nine people
  • Duration 4 hours (approx)
  • Bookings essential

 

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Plan Your Trip

 

Self Drive

Make your way to Ruatoria via a stunning coastal drive up along the iconic State Highway 35. Pass stunning beachside communities, epic surf and rural countryside with the vast Pacific Ocean hugging the pristine coastline.

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Helicopter

Journey to Maunga Hikurangi across land, sea and sky with our Helicopter experience. This fully customisable, once in a lifetime experience can be designed to suit your travel requirements including transfers.

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Accommodation

With an early start to catch that sunrise, stay with one of our local accommodation providers. Overnight on State Highway 35 and take some time to explore the hidden gems of Tairawhiti.

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  • My husband and I have just done the early morning sunrise tour. It was a very special experience for us and we would highly recommend it to everyone.

    WendyG84
    Whakatane, New Zealand

  • He gave us an informative and interesting talk about the carvings, and the history of Ngati Porou - both distant and recent. Everyone in the group was very impressed.

    8Hazel8
    Auckland, New Zealand

  • At the site of the phenomenal carvings, Monty shared the stories of Ngati Porou - just fascinating. The picnic was delicious and elegantly presented. A most excellent adventure for visitors from far and near.

    Elisabeth E
    Auckland, New Zealand

FOLLOW US

Even though our world may feel very disconnected right now, our respect for the sun and its attributes may connect us than we think. 

Now feels like the perfect time to learn about how other cultures also respect the sun. We look at a few in a recent blog. 

Visit our website’s blog section to read more. ☀

📷: @whencyclopedia 

#nzspring #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #isegrandshrine
As our day begins and the sun rises over the maunga, we encourage you all to take a moment to step outside and appreciate the sun’s rays. 

These times during lockdown can be unpredictable. But just taking a moment to appreciate what we have around us will make this time more enjoyable. 

We hope you are keeping safe, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon. Kia haumaru te noho 🌄

📷: Eric Hanson for @purenewzealand 

#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #nzlockdown
We love seeing the morning sun casting its rays on Maunga Hikurangi – it never gets old! The nine carved pou (pillars) depict Maui and his whanau, and they stand on the maunga waiting for the sun to rise each morning. 🌞🌄 

📷: @jesswawatai 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #maui
The seed planting that all visitors get to take part in on one of our tours is for the purpose of native plant re-generation on Maunga Hikurangi. Local, native trees in Raukumara Forest Park include rata, rimu, tawa, totara, kahikatea and beech. 🍒🌲

Be part of the eco-project by joining one of our tours, and experience the incredible views - perfect for a photo opportunity!

Discover more on the ‘Experiences’ page of our website.

📷: @belinda.macdonald 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #kahikateaberries
Winter is upon us, yet the sun still rises each morning over Maunga Hikurangi. Join us for a day of culture on our Haramai Day Tour Experience! Stand with nine huge, carved sculptures as you listen to stories of our local history.

Find out more on our website under ‘Experiences’. 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #suncarvings
A great shot of the first glimpse of sunlight from up here on Maunga Hikurangi! @lisaexplorerku started her hike up the maunga at 3:45am to make the most of her trip! 😲 It looks like it was well worth it to get this picture of the sun casting its golden rays 🌞✨

 📷: @lisaexplorerku 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Matariki, the Māori New Year, te Tau Hou Māori, was on June 24th. This is best the time to celebrate the past year with family and friends, and to look forward to the future. How did you celebrate over the weekend?

Maunga Hikurangi is the first place in the world to see the start of the new year. ✨🙌

📷: @matarikifestivalakl 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #matariki
We are getting into the peak of winter now! But misty Maunga Hikurangi will still provide a spectacular sunrise on those clear mornings. If you’re planning to view the first light from the top of our maunga, be sure to wear lots of layers, appropriate footwear and a headtorch. The brisk air will surely wake you up ⛰🌞🧤

Check out our latest blog on our website to see what else you might want to bring.

📷: @mattcrawfordphoto 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
The winter school holidays are quickly approaching. Looking for something a little bit different to do with the kids? Bundle up and try a day trip with us to the top of Maunga Hikurangi. Less of a commitment for the kids in your group than our sunrise tour, the Haramai Day Tour Experience takes about 4 hours, includes a light lunch featuring local produce and an exhilarating 4WD adventure! 🏔😎

#maungahikurangi #haramaidaytour #tairawhitigisborne #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
We pride ourselves on being the first to see the sun’s light each day. But our region is home to a number of famous lookouts to watch the sun rise and set from, like the iconic East Cape lighthouse. 

About 20kms from Te Araroa, enjoy a scenic drive there followed by a 20 minute walk up to the lighthouse itself. It might not be as tall as Maunga Hikurangi, but it’s a slice of history and makes for a great Instagram shot while you’re here! ♥

📷: @tairawhitigisbornenz 

#beachraces #carpediem #adventure ##tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
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