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East Coast Holiday: Driving to Gisborne

Leaving Lake Waikaremoana we headed back towards state highway 2, the road to Gisborne. We had one stop at the small town of Tuai and took a brief look at the power station. The building was old and statuesque and in stark contrast the turbines inside were brightly colored and much more modern looking. We’d noticed the building when the satnav took us on an unnecessary diversion on our way in the Lake Waikaremoana.

IMG 2437Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The Tuai Power Station

We had two more stops on the way to Gisborne. First up was the Morere Hot Springs Scenic Reserve. Keryn had found the place while searching for interesting places for us to see on our trip. The springs have been used for bathing since the 1890’s but we were more interested in the DOC managed walks available on the site.

The forest at Morere has a large number of Nikau palms, making it quite different from the usual New Zealand bush walk. The wind through the nikau palms gave the forest a constant creaking sound, and there were often sounds of spent palm fronds falling to the ground. There were a large number of wood pigeon in the palms, often flying away as we came near.

IMG 2447Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A young nikau

The path we chose to take took us up to a high point in the reserve before returning along the Tunanui stream. Having taken a good look at the map I had decided we should go anti-clockwise, the clockwise path looking much steeper. This proved to be the case, the steep steps seemingly never ending as we tramped along the path. The viewpoint we never found, I think the forest has grown to obscure any view there may have been. Keryn stopped to take a photo of what I assume is some kind of strange fungal mass, a pink and fluffy protrusion from the trunk of a tree.

IMG 0453Photo by Brendon & Keryn

What is it?

IMG 2450Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Heading down the stairs

As we got to the stream level we started to see evidence of a storm that had passed this way a few weeks earlier. The stream was strewn with mud and branches, piles of wood built at curves in the flow. The path was messy near the stream and one bridge had been washed from its foundations giving us a slippery set of rocks to traverse during one of the many crossing the path made.

IMG 2451Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Logs can be seen wedged in the pool

The springs themselves had some interesting signs showing what they looked like a century ago. On some of the exposed rock walls near the old pools there was old graffiti and I tried to get some photos but the names and dates are hard to make out. After a few too many mud slides the site of the pools was moved downstream to the current site near the road. The pipes that take the water from a few different springs were a distraction from the beauty of the area, but maybe they are only so visible because of the recent flooding.

IMG 2454Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Try and make out the details

We didn’t bother taking a dip I’ve never been a big fan of hot pools anyway and compared to the deluxe resort we’d visited in Costa Rica this place seemed a bit dirty, Keryn’s visit to some public toilets was not very pleasant. I think we’ll have to visit in a few years once the stream is back to its usual state.

From Morere we took a diversion to Mahia Beach to find another walk that Keryn had identified earlier. We ended up not taking the walk, I think some of the lingering disappointment from Morere put us off any more exercise. Instead we bought some lunch and parked up with a view of the sea watching a surfer tackle the waves.

Our campsite in Gisborne was at the Waikanae Beach Holiday Park. The place was clean and tidy and right next to the beach. We set up the tent and under some large trees at the far end of the park, nice and quiet. I thought the sunset might be interesting so we went to the beach to see what happened. It was a beautiful sunset, different partially because of light rain falling high up in the atmosphere. The patches of rain were not reaching the ground but the setting sun glowed through the mist like fire in the sky. The beach turned orange the sea mist adding to the pretty picture. Lots of people were coming to the beach with cameras this was apparently not a usual sunset in these parts.

IMG 2469Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Shades of yellow and orange

IMG 2495Photo by Brendon & Keryn


IMG 2507Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Sheets of fire

IMG 2516Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The wide view
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