- Te Kaha Small community 65km drive north east from Opotiki. Te Kaha is a popular spot for fishermen and holiday makers from Opotiki and features a fairly new beach resort.
- Whanarua Bay and Maraehako Bay These neighbouring bays offer several good accommodation options and are popular with summer holiday makers. Whanarua bay itself is accessed from the highway by a steep one way road about 200m west of the Rendezvous holiday park.
- Raukokore Featuring a picuresque Anglican church standing isolated near the shore of Papatea Bay.
- Waihau Bay Well known among sports fishermen and is the setting for the film Boy. Waihau Bay is a 100km drive north east from Opotiki.
- Whangaparaoa The easternmost settlement in the Bay of Plenty
- Hicks Bay
- Te Araroa Small beachside settlement famous for its manuka honey. There is a decent holiday park near the beach that also contains a small shop. Head 20km along East Cape Rd to see the East Cape lighthouse on top of the easternmost point of mainland New Zealand.
- Tikitiki The most easterly point of the New Zealand Highway network.
- Ruatoria With a population of around 900 Ruatoria is the second largest town in the East Coast district. Ruatoria is the home of the East Coast Rugby Football Union - the smallest union in New Zealand.
- Tokomaru Bay
- Tolaga Bay Small bay and settlement that is popular among local holiday makers and features the longest wharf in New Zealand
The East Cape region is officially part of the Gisborne District. However, the East Cape is generally referred to as the entire geographical cape between the east of Opotiki and the north of Gisborne. This area of New Zealand has a strong Maori presence and influence, with 88 percent of the population being Maori and 45 percent speaking Maori (compared to 14 percent and 4 percent respectively for New Zealand). Historical, cultural and economic ties to ancestrial land are a main contributing factor to this unique demography. Unemployment, poverty and isolation are common on the East Cape. However, its inhabitants generally offer a warm welcome to travelers.
Travelers who are interested in the Maori way of life, or who love getting off the beaten track, should find this region fascinating. Travelers making their way through this region should be aware of cultural aspects such as Tapu (sacred) areas such as burial grounds and Rahui (temporary ban) on fishing.