First Sunrise in the World
The first place in the world to see the sun is the beautiful Tairawhiti Gisborne area in New Zealand. It’s a completely surreal feeling to experience that first birdsong and serene rays – as one of the first people to do so on the whole planet.
You have your pick of places to head to pre-dawn – whether that’s four wheel driving up Maunga Hikurangi, tackling the steps to the East Cape lighthouse, walking the Tolaga Bay Wharf, surfing Wainui Beach or camping at Anaura Bay.
Of these, the very first place to see the sun is Maunga Hikurangi, the highest non-volcanic peak in the North Island. This mountain is steeped in Maori legend. One of the best stories is of course How Maui Slowed the sun, which describes a time where the sun flew quickly across the sky, leaving no time for humans to get anything done. Maui – a Ngati Porou ancestor – trapped and fought the sun, forcing it to slow down.
The Maunga is sacred to Ngati Porou and is a key part of the tribe’s identity. It was returned to Ngati Porou from the crown in 1990, and a working farm owned by the tribe covers its foothills. The legend of Maui and sun, and others, are brought to life at dawn by the guides on the Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise experience.
There are so many options on where to head to for the Tairawhiti sunrise, many wild and remote, others easily accessible – and the likes of Maunga Hikurangi Sunrise Experience will add a profound cultural experience to your morning (as well as first-to-see-the-sun bragging rights).