Today we left our peaceful beach hostel to head back along the coast to Gisborne. Our first stop was to the most eastern town in New Zealand, Te Araroa, there was visited Waha-o-Rerekahu; the largest Pohutakawa tree in the world over 600 years old.
East Cape, similar to the North Cape one I have on my blog as well .
This tree was spectacular, pictures just don’t do it justice. You can really tell there was something magical almost about it as stated in the ancient Maori legends.
We continued our drive with a stop at the Tikitiki Anglican Church, built to honour the soldiers that fought in WWI and WWII. Inside the church was a visual feast, everything from the roof to the floor was either carved or painted to tell an ancient Maori story or history. The amount of detail present was truly remarkable.
Sorry, my camerawork failed on this one
Our next stop was to the Tolaga Bay Wharf, New Zealand’s longest wharf at 600 meters long.
The wharf used to be used as a main shipping port on the East Cape but was later abandoned and now it’s just a tourist attraction.
Originally we where supposed to jump off the wharf, but I reasoned with sanity an opted to build up my tan. Besides, you can tell the wharf hasn’t received service in some while due to the many openings of exposed steel bars in the walls.
Omg no bars here!
After this I had a random spur of the moment activity choice and decided to feed stingrays! I really didn’t think I would be scared of the stingrays but as soon as I saw them swimming around my feet I started freaking out. They where huge, and very powerful, the largest weighing about 200kg!
There was two types we swam with, short tail; which where the large stingrays and the same bread that kill Steve Irwin. And the other type which where at least 1/3 of the size, and much more friendlier.
It took me awhile to get the guts to feed them because petting them felt like slimy velvet. And when you feed them it was like a suction cup on your hands.
On the way to our hostel we had a quick peak at the beach where the people of the Whale Riders came from, as popularized by the 2002 Oscar nominated movie Whale Rider. We actually ended up watching that movie during some free time that evening, since so few of us had seen the movie before.
To top off the evening we had a wine tasting via Longbush Wines, based in Gisborne which is world renown for its white wines.
We ended up trying 6 types of wines, 2 Chardonnays, a Savgion Blanc, Vioneny, Pinot Grigo, and a Gzertmeizer. My favorite was the vionny. And I got to indulge myself on a feast of brie cheese and crackers, my favorite!