To Poverty Bay and Back Again

Trip Start Nov 10, 2013
Trip End Apr 02, 2014

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, November 22, 2013

After our short stint in Rotorua, we had a few days to kill, so instead of being lazy and going to the coast and enjoying some fun-in-the-sun time (as was our original plan), we decided to got full-tilt and drive all the way to the east coast; to Gisborne (prn. "Giz-Bn").

This little 30,000-person community was in the heart of NZ North Island wine country.  Surrounded by vineyards, the drive to Gisborne was relaxing, as well as a cause to salivate (just thinking about the different wines... that, alas, would be an endeavor best left for another day...)

 Regardless, we found a nice camp spot right on the beach of Poverty Bay, which was the very first place that Capt. James Cook and his crew not only lay eyes on, in New Zealand, but also set foot on shore.  Unfortunately for Cook and his crew, relation with the local Maori did not go smoothly and Cook was forced to abandon the sheltered bay, despite not being able to resupply.

I, however, was able to step foot on the shore.  The morning after having camped just up from the beach, I awoke early, put on my Five-Finger Vibram "hand-foot" shoes and went for a run along the beach... Okay, it wasn't a run... it was a jog.  (And only fellow Runners truly know the difference...)  Nonetheless, I was moving along the beachfront for just over 30 minutes, and believe it or not, I felt great afterwards!

Next up, we left Gisborne and began to make our way back west, towards the central part of the North Island.  En route, to our big hike, we decided to spend a night camping along the shores of the beautiful Waikaremoana Lake in Te Urewera National Park.  This rather remote, isolated location was once prominent in early (and recent) Maori/White New Zealander relations.  

 I think we lucked out at this beautiful spot, as the weather for us was calm, clear, blue-sky, and HOT, whereas it is normally socked in, wet and miserable.  We just took it easy and enjoyed the sounds of nature (I was able to distinguish over 13 different bird calls, before the sun set).

 From there it was a loooong drive to Turangi.  Having arrived here earlier this afternoon, we began to gather information about our upcoming hike (which we will begin on Sunday Nov-24: the Tongariro Northern Circuit).

 And with that I will leave you hanging... I will post another blog after we complete this 3-night, 4-day trek through one of the North Islands most volcanically active areas... 

 Keith B. Robinson
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