Sept 10th- 12th
Left our comfy but smelly home of Rotorua and headed 2 hours 'out east' to Opotiki, passed by the the nice looking town of Whakatane (Fak-a-tan-eh). We picked Opotiki (Oh-po-teake) as it was a way to break the journey to Gisborne- not that it was too far anyway,
It started raining after we checked in at 'Island View Family Holiday Park' and had erected the tent. As usual we were the only ones 'tenting', when the rain started battering down a guy who worked there offered us a cabin that was free as the rain wasn't meant to stop. The cabin was amongst a block of cabins and looked a bit rough around the edges (workmanship boots and clothes scattered around the place), but the cabin which had 2 bunk beds, fridge, microwave, and best of all heating was a welcome change from the tent and all for $16 pp with free unlimited wifi.
Opotiki didn't have much going for it especially in the rain, we could however look out at White Island, an active volcano (last erupted in 2000) just off the coast, and we visited a war memorial park which strangely but very funnily had a human sized hamsters wheel, which was very entertaining! We stocked up at 'New World' supermarket and lazed in our cabin.
We got out of there sharpish the next morning after a long, hot, free shower and headed 2 hours to Gisborne, pronounced by locals as 'Gisbin'. We stayed at the 'Showgrounds' campsite just out of town for $15pp with 50mb of internet. Been meaning to say that we have an app called 'Rankers Camping NZ' which is free to use, it wasn't always the best but it did give us locations of campsites. We got a nice spot amongst trees- although harder to put a tent up amongst roots, we could see the planes landing at the airfield next to us.
We took a drive to Poverty Bay, where Captain Cook first arrived into NZ and tried to do deals with the locals, there were skirmishes resulting in Cooks men killed Maoris in retaliation, then fled with no supplies, so named it Poverty Bay.
We took a trip into town for ice cream and spotted a road sign for me!
We also drove up to Kaiti Hill lookout and were treated to lovely views all around Gisborne, my friends Hinewairere's family and tribe and from Gisborne, and her gran blessed my pounamu, so I felt a good connection with this lovely city.