Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Gisborne to Wairoa

We left Gisborne on Sunday afternoon after a very pleasant trip out into the bay on the MV Takitimu, a 1921 restored Gisborne tug. She’s a beautiful ship, lovingly restored by the new owners, a group of locals who bought it a few years back and take it out every Sunday for trips round the bay.

The weather was great and they had remembered I had phoned a few days previously to say I am a Captain Cook enthusiast, so had got some further information for me and a lady on board who was quite knowledgeable on the subject. I could see Jackie yawning behind them, so I won’t talk about the great man here, I’ll update my previous entry with what I learnt from the trip later! We were lucky it ran as there were only us, a family of 4 and a grandma with three kids, so the $15 adult fare probably wouldn’t even have paid their diesel, but they decided to go anyway.

That's Young Nicks Head behind me!
We saw no dolphins, but a couple of the kids had a go at steering and the whole trip was very laid back and pleasant, even had fruit juice and biscuits!

We got as far as Wairoa on Sunday evening, stopping at a great little quirky campsite, quirky as it had a BBQ in the boot of the rear half of an old American Cadillac, next to an outdoor table, with tablecloth and chairs, three sheep statues and toilet blocks with carpet, soft music, frills round the wash basins (blue in the mens, pink in the ladies) and an equally off the wall couple running it.

On Monday morning we headed off to Lake Waitaremoana, a lake formed about 2200 years ago by a huge landslip that blocked the river, creating a huge lake at nearly 600m altitude. One of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’ circumnavigates the lake, on a 3-4 day 65km tramp, through natural, unlogged forest. We didn’t intend to do that, but it indicates how picturesque the area is. In fact the drive in was very scenic (much better than the Waiokea gorge Murray!), although large sections were on an unsealed gravel road, that had a tendency to shake our little van to bits and leave a huge cloud of dust behind us. 
Lake Waitaremoana (can you see our little van?)
We did 4 short walks, the first one 5 minutes but the other 3 30 minutes or so, past some great waterfalls, a 1000 year old Rata tree and up past some fantastic looking rock (that appears to be unclimbed – maybe a bit too loose?) to a great viewpoint.

We were going to stay in the park and looked at a DOC serviced campsite right on the lakeside that was a bit expensive and passed a free DOC campsite that was probably too basic, but in the end we ended up back at the Wairoa quirky campsite where the lady who runs it talked our heads off, showing us their ‘rig’ that they intend to retire in.

Unclimbed cliffs? Maybe too loose!
Now we’re off back to Napier to meet up with John, our first cat sitting assignment houseowner who’s sold his house and is looking to buy in Napier, so we’re going house hunting with him!

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