It’s just a big kids natural playground. All the locals we meet in Gisborne shared the same story, they can’t leave cause the lifestyle is so good and if they do leave….They quickly come back. High sunshine hours, tons of surf, great fishing and hunting, the local beer and wine is gold and it’s home to the best natural water slide in the country!
Yes that’s right the best natural water slide in NZ and until proven otherwise I’m sticking to this, It’s EPIC!
Rere Rockslide is about 50km northwest of Gisborne along the Wharekopae Rd. If you don’t have your own board like us the Gisborne Isite pick has sleds and wetsuits for hire. My first reaction was a mixture of excitement and nervousness, It’s bigger than I thought, photos don’t do the 60 meter slide justice, and I think it’s normal to be a bit apprehensive about something like this. We had the slide to ourselves when we hit it up, I understand in the middle of summer it can be pretty entertaining.
We suited up and made our way out onto the slippery top of the slide. WARNING it is damn slippery so take it easy…Mind you the worst that can happen is to start the slide before your board 😉
Once we got the first test run out of way, just it was on like donkey kong! Its so much fun, there are ton of different slid options, it felt like you couldn’t really go wrong….except when you start turning around and end up going backwards haha.
Eastwoodhill is the national arboretum of New Zealand. Basically its a massive Zoo for trees, It includes some 4,000 different trees, shrubs and climbers, including 170 species currently on the endangered species list. We were so limited on time here we only time for photos, so our guide Morris drove us around the place in their converted Jeep that looks like something out of Jurassic Park. Like I said before we got a whirlwind tour and you really need to give this place at least half a day.
Stingray feeding with Dive Tatapouri. The idea of hand feeding wild stingrays instantly made me think “Steve Irwin” and how did that go for him? Tatapuri is a little coastal town about 15 mins north of Gisborne and the folks there have a unique reef siting in front of their base, at low tide you walk out with a guide all wearing fishing waders to keep you dry and holding onto bamboo polls to help keep you upright as you fumble across the ocean floor. Our guide used a bucket with burly (fish food) to bring rays in and after a few minutes out there in they came! Like cats and dogs at feeding time they glide like flying carpets across the ocean floor towards us looking for breakfast. Within seconds of them arriving and swimming around us you realise how safe this is and they just want to hang out.
Captain Jame Cook: To hear this history we were meet by local Ta Moko Artist Nick Tupara, Nick doesn’t claim to be the local expert but he defiantly knows his stuff. We meet Nick as his studio on the main street of Gisborne and drove up Mt Titirangi overlooking the whole bay to show us around. He even took us onto the local Marae.
I have to admit my ignorance was embarrassing with this history and I thought I knew what had happened. The written history I knew told me. Cook Landed, there was a bit of miscommunication a Maori warrior was shot, they left…came back the next day made things right and all was good…..
Here’s the locals version: Cook landed with a hand full of sailors (a site now lost to port Gisborne’s logging industry) While foraging around taking samples of plants to see if there was value here, Maori approach the men stationed with the Row Boat, these men fired at the Maori and shot dead Te Maro. Captain Cook and crew returned to the Endevour and returned the next day with Tupaia (Tahitian they had picked up) When they landed a second time the body of Te Maro still lay where he had fallen the Maori not wanting to touch as they had no idea what kind of magic had killed him. Captain Cook tried to make contact again, and even when warned by Tupaia that things were not going well he pushed on till yet again his sailors fired at the Maori killing more…In the end there was no turning back from this disastrous first encounter, so Cpt Cook basically pushed “restart” sailed north and tried again in Tologa Bay. He named the area Poverty Bay and had a much better time up North. When talking with Nick about this I was shocked to know how bad things had gone down and you kinda wonder why there is a massive monument for Cooks landing site to honor his arrival and yet nothing to commemorate Te Maro and the other 9 Maori who died over the 4 days here….Do they not matter?
Wine Country: There are a ton of Gisborne wineries and alot of them are small, with cellar doors that are only open by appointment, or at certain times of the year. So when you get to town head to the Cellar Doors The Esplanade at the Inner Harbour. They have managed to get all the wineries to come to one place! You can taste your afternoon away and right on the waterfront…..PERFECT!