South from Anaura Bay to Gisborne


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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » East Coast » Gisborne
August 16th 2020
Published: August 17th 2020
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Sunday dawned rather overcast and it looked very unlikely as light started to appear in the eastern sky that a rising sun out of the ocean,that we had hoped for,wasn't going to appear as we wanted.But there you go that is nature and lets face it the weather more than often doesn't always perform the way we want it to.

Still it was quite magical to lie in bed and watch the light in the sky change and at least it wasn't raining.

We didn't have far to travel today down to Gisborne,our next and last overnight stop before we head home to Tauranga, on this mini tour of the East Coast so lying in for a while when we had suggested to our hostess that brekkie at 8.30 would be just for fine for us and our travel plans.

And when brekkie arrived it was wholesome and topped off with a deliciously,tasty and hot omelette.There is something special about not having to prepare and lay out breakfast for ourselves.It sort of suggests that we were going to be waited on hand and foot for the rest of the day.Well,it doesn't usually turn out that way but it is a little pleasure to look forward to and enjoy.

Our hostess stayed and chatted between courses and we discovered she had a very colourful history although we guess that might have been expected for a lady of 80 years old.One might have thought that reaching 80 you would want to just look after yourself but hosting guests,many of whom had been overseas visitors up until COVID 19 came along seemed to be the tonic to keep her 'young'.

Extracating the car from the tight parking spot alongside the part of the house we had as our apartment was never going to be an easy job and as I know Gretchen likes to do these things I left it to her and in the end she decided driving across the wet lawn was going to be the best bet and then straight up a driveway on the other side of the building to reach the gate.Shame we left some tyre marks on the grass but as Gretchen said it will soon be spring and new grass shoots will take care of the indents.

Anaura Bay is picturesque from above and viewing from beach level made it look the same as many of the secluded curved bays on the coast.

One thing that changed as we drove around towards the marae at the southern end of the bay was the impression that the small off shore island appeared closer to the shore than it was from our overnight accommodation.

It is little wonder that Captain Cook found a stop in the bay worthwhile,even if it was to find some shelter from the southerly wind,if that had been blowing at the time he sailed north up the coast from his first landing in Poverty Bay,aptly named as he didn't find the things he was looking for there,water and food etc, after the voyage from England.

We realised that we had missed driving the loop road to Waipiro Bay yesterday and so missed taking in the first picture theatre opened in New Zealand by the late Sir Bob Kerridge in the 1920's.And although we gave thought to driving back up the coast we decided we had been there before and paid tribute to one of those odd historical decisions to start the cinematic industry in a tiny seaside town far from the main centres.

As we joined Highway 35 again the river to the right of us reminded us of the very heavy rainfall from earlier this year that bought down huge amounts of timber from the steep hills to the west.There were still telltale signs of the level the Uawa River reached and the road surface was still dusty after many parts had been covered by floodwaters as the river broke its banks.One thing floods do in this part of the world is leave silt behind where paddocks flood and growth was lush and green.A great environment for the many new born lambs to start their lives.

At some point a river has to reach the sea and the Uawa does this at Tolaga Bay.

Here is where the real damage of the floods was done with huge volumes of this timber scrap clogging up the beach to the point where the picture we saw on television after it had happened meant that trying to walk anywhere on this flat beach was all but impossible.

A great amount of work had been done in clearing the beach and from the northern end of the beach we looked south at pile after pile every few metres of timber pushed up into piles several metres high.A great job by those involved in the cleanup.This is the second time in recent months when this disaster has happened and hopefully now those involed in the forestry activities that is making the coast thrive financially know they have to clean up their mess as they move to the next block for felling of the trees.

The real attraction at Tologa Bay is the wharf built at the southern end of the beach in 1929 to provide a berth for the small coastal ships that called in to take away the wool packs and live sheep and bring in supplies before the highway was upgraded from a rutted dirt road making travel uncomfortable and at times impossible in wet weather.

The number of ships calling at Tologa Bay slowed when the highway upgrade started during WW2 and came to an end in 1966.

The wharf at 660 metres is the longest in New Zealand and now with some important upgrading to make it safe it provides fishermen and fisherwomen a chance to drop a line into deep water without having to be on a boat!

A walk to Cooks Cove over the hill from Tologa Bay would have been on the crads had it not been lambing season and the easy walking track was closed.

Next stop down the coast was a look at the Marine Reserve established for seals and NZ dotteral to make their home in a protected environment and what a great job DOC has done.Just a shame the reserve is open to the southerly wind without a headland protecting it and the chill of the breeze kept our stay to a shorter time than we would have liked.We kept our eyes wide open hoping to see some wildlife but the 'locals' might have been a bit like us,preferring a warmer spot away out of the cold breeze.

We passed by the surfing communities of Makorori and Wainui as there was no surf to watch any brave soul trying to catch a wave.

One thing that was apparent as the highway continued towards the city of Gisborne was a two laned dedicated cycleway that looked very well formed providing a safe environment for the odd cyclist we saw.Oddly though it just seemed to stop part way into the first suburb we came across leaving a cyclist to take to the roadway and compete with cars.

We found the road up Kaiti Hill which has a great lookout over Poverty Bay towards the white cliffs of Young Nicks Head,so named because the 12 year old assistant to the ships surgeon a boy named Nicholas on Cooks first visit, spotted land first,to the great relief of the crew we are sure,and was rewarded by Capt Cook with two gallons of rum !! We guess he did shout the rest of the crew being far too young to drink alcohol.

The hill was also until recently the place of a statue of Capt James Cook,who surely was the greatest white mariner linked to New Zealand.However the statue was removed recently during the 'Black Lives Matter' campaign after being under threat of removal for a number of years by opponents of colonialisation.

It still seems to us to be counterfactual to try and forget about how history evolved in this country and the simple fact is the arrival of Cook meant that immigrants from crowded countries far away would eventually set their roots down here.After all our ancestors all came from somewhere else to live in NZ.

Our accommodation,the Senator Motor Inn is alongside the river,and our upstairs unit has all we need for our one night stay and especially while we relax and enjoy a wine or a gin or two before dinner.

We did take a stroll along the foreshore but the slight breeze had a cold southerly bite to it and after taking in the statues of Cook and Young Nick(neither of these on the foreshore have yet been removed)we headed back to the warmth of the unit and relaxed with our pre dinner drinks.

Gisborne,being a small city,there weren't a lot of choices for dinner but the one that was open and very nearby was Rivers Restaurant,a pub type establishment that was all but full of Sunday evening diners.And what a treat on the menu.Guinness Pie on spud with rich gravy and peas,absolute yum! And all washed down with a pint of Guinness.Even Gretchen got in on the Guinness,although she opted for the minute steak for her meal.

All very appropriate given had COVID-19 not come along we would have today been arriving in Dublin for the last week of our trip to Europe.

We retired to bed satisfied with our dinner and drinks as well as another interesting day of exploring the East Coast.


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