We see the new year in, in Gisborne

Catching up…

The Waioeka Gorge

Roaming as we do, the decisions we have to make may seem a little mundane. For instance, we couldn’t decide whether to go around the East Cape to Gisborne, or go through the Gorge. In the end the Gorge won, as neither of us had taken that route before.

We have done the East Coast road years ago, before we started this road tripping lifestyle, and we will do it again another time, but for now, we take the shorter Gorge route.

We plan to spend New Year in Gisborne.

The Waioeka Journey (SH2) – Te Awa a Tamatea, runs between Ōpōtiki and Gisborne, following a route through steep forested hills, carved by rivers. It’s 144kms and takes a couple of hours, plus stops along the way. There are historical bridges, riverside picnic spots, and information boards along the way to tell the stories. It’s one of the longer gorges in New Zealand.

We didn’t stop until we reached Matawai, about halfway through the gorge, where we stretched our legs and had a coffee at the camp store.

We sat out on the verandah. The coffee’s good, and the scones, muffins, cakes etc are all made on the premises. Yumm!

Matawai is a small rural settlement with a couple of cafes, a gas station, a camp, and a hotel…

…which looks as if it would have been quite grand in it’s heyday.

…and a pretty wee church…

Matawai is the junction for both the Mōtu cycle trail, which heads to Ōpōtiki, and the Rere Falls Trail which heads to Gisborne.

From here you can also turn off to travel 14 kms to the village of Mōtu and Mōtu Falls. With the caravan on board we didn’t do this as we wanted to get to Gisborne, but it’s something to consider on a future trip.

Reaching Gisborne we headed straight to the new NZMCA Park…

Being the day before New Year’s Eve, it was starting to fill up.

There’s no potable water in this park, and in our hurry to get there so as to ensure we got a spot, we forgot to fill up before arriving.

We hadn’t filled up before leaving Ōpōtiki because we didn’t want to travel with full tanks.

So, at 6am next morning, we hooked the caravan up and trundled off to the nearest dump station with potable water, to fill up. The Waitomo Gisborne Fuel Stop is only a few kms from the NZMCA Park fortunately, and we were back in ‘our’ spot in no time.

As fellow caravaners will know, you learn from these little ‘uh-oh forgot’ 🤦🏻‍♀️ moments.

What a great park this is – awesome beach on one side, golf course the other.

Walking on a beach in the evening is one of my most favourite things to do…

…and you can see how stunning it is.

Our spot was toward the back of the park so we looked out on the golf course and these beautiful pohutukawa trees still in flower…

Titirangi (also known as Kaiti Hill)

It was at the foot of this hill near the Port of Gisborne that Captain James Cook first set foot on New Zealand soil, in October 1769.

There’s an interesting statue at the top…

…with an inscription that explains how this was acquired and erected with the understanding that it was a bronze of Captain Cook, however subsequently it was identified not to be said gentleman, due to his uniform and facial features being wrong. It turns out the true identity of this likeness is unknown.

There are several lookout points over the Pacific Ocean…

It’s too hazy to see Young Nick’s Head clearly in the distance…

The Port of Gisborne and the city…

The port is situated in the centre of Gisborne city, where two rivers, the Taruheru, and the Waimata, merge to flow out to sea. It’s the country’s most easterly and one of the busiest logging ports in the country.

The city centre…

It’s New Year’s Eve, and the NZMCA Park is becoming pretty full. Vans and motorhomes are filling up the centre behind the marquee.

It is a beautiful evening…

…and people are gathering for happy hour in and around the marquee where a guy entertains with music and singing as darkness falls.

January 1 2019

I wanted to see the sun come over the horizon in the place that sees the sun first in the world on the first day of the new year, so I Googled the time of sunrise and set my alarm…

0545 hours January 1 2019, waiting...

…and at exactly 0546 hours, there it is. Plop!

…a golden globe. So beautiful…

As I walked back from the beach, the new day’s (and new year’s) sun cast it’s beautiful light on the wild flowers growing in the dunes…

This is a wow! moment for me. We live a blessed life and I’m so grateful for health, and the opportunity to do what we’re doing, in our beautiful country of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Besides just chilling, and enjoying 30 degree centigrade temperatures every day, we also caught up with some cousins we hadn’t seen in years, and a friend I used to work with who has moved home to Gisborne.

That’s part of the joy of what we do – being able to catch up with friends and relatives around the country as we travel.

Our last evening in Gisborne…

Before we leave I take a last walk across the road to the beach.

Looking left towards Kaiti Hill, and right towards Young Nick’s Head…

Goodbye Gisborne. You’re a gem. East Coast gold.


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