Day 5 – Gisborne to Opotiki New Zealand
In theory only a 2.5 hour drive but we have a bit of tripping around so in reality 4 to 5 hours drive time. Not sure of the exact agenda but we will look at shortly.
Last night on discussion between us we agreed the trip could have been 1 day less plus we could have changed how and what we saw each area but this agenda was presented to us by the local tourism authority. Maybe a sign they don’t understand totally what they have to offer. But it has still been a good exploratory trip. We worth the time the 7 of us have spared up to do it.
We have laughed a lot. Told very interesting stories so personal opinion, a great trip. I have my photography I set out to get. Maybe the weather not making some of those photographs as beautiful as they could be but that is okay.
Asked last night what was the highlight so far. For me the whole East Cape trip. Hindsight is great but I never thought of this to now. We should have stopped Opotiki first night. Then 1 to 1.5 days getting around the East Cape before we arrived Gisborne.
Today an 8.15 start. I am packed ready to go. Viewing news on television. Not sure whys because if its news its seldom good news. Haha
9.18pm. Later than I wished to keep writing this blogs but sometimes tours do not give the tour guide/driver, namely me, time out to write.
We had a great day today. 2 people less tonight as they flew out of Gisborne to their home destinations.
What did we do on this weather wise after some terrible cold weather days. We started with a tour to Eastwoodhill Arboretum. If you are a ‘kiwi’ then we own it. A very interesting heritage. Started by a very interesting character, Douglas Cook in 1910. Granted through a land grant of sorts the land. Much more than exists now as part of the grounds but as time evolved and he spent money bringing trees from all over the world he sold off parts.
Don’t quote me, but now in about 113 hectares this property is planted extensively with trees from all over the world. And yes experts are in there to keep developing this property. As a kiwi you are an owner, but this property is more than that. It is protecting trees becoming extinct in their natural environments. If you are into trees, an absolute must see. For me personally, not so much about the individual trees, but the photography opportunities at the magnificence of what I saw which was just a small portion of the property.
My mistake, I am travelling with 3 cameras plus a cell phone but today I misjudged which camera I should carry.
Douglas Cook, maybe another day I will dictate a blog to him, or google him. It was his vision that established what I saw but there are more interesting stories about that man.
From there we were running extremely late so we cut out a segment of the agenda that included some hot springs. Personally I was fine with the decision. So because by now it was late morning and none of us had had breakfast we decided on a very late brunch. I wont name the place and just put it down to they had a bad day. Food was okay but service and staff were not. A pity. But my off sider decided she would not leave without saying something. Apology was given, but sorry, I will not stop there with a tour group again.
From there it was to Milton Vineyard. A boutique vineyard an organically certified. This trip 3 vineyards and one brewery but I am driver so no drinking. Sad. But I understand the wine was great. I know my wines so I know what the gentleman was telling was correct. Just a pity I am driver.
Next we built in a surprise for the rest of the group. I cannot take credit at all but I agreed we should do it. We went to a blacksmiths. A gentleman with same first name as me and probably similar age. Peter. My eyes lit up. Sea anchors, cray pots and old motor bikes. I am in heaven. Peter was a real character you could spend all day with. Endless stories to tell. Bonus of this stop was I got very unexpected photo opportunities and hopefully 2 cray pots are on their way north.
Next stop an extremely beautiful water fall but if you want to see you will need book a tour with Peter and Xiaoli Tours. Off the beaten track very much but worth t.
From there a 2 hour drive to Opotiki and the lovely lady on the GPS keep telling us to turn around for a while. But then she must have realised that’s not going to happen so kept saying go straight. Haha. 30 to 50 minutes of metal road. Very scenic and I love metal roads. A dream come true. But probably not the ideal tour route. Haha.
We arrived Opotiki 20 minutes or so earlier than the GPS lady originally predicted. I wonder why?
A great day. Tomorrow 4.5 hours to Auckland. Drop people off different locations. Visit a souvenir factory that has agreed to work with us. Pick up 10kg of American Cherries for my beautiful wife, the boss, Xiaoli
Then 5 hours to home. Going to be a late night arrival. Hopefully the farm gate is open as we are 1km down a very dark metal driveway. See my beautiful little Li Li. Yes my dog. She will be beside herself to see me. Xiaoli has no look in until I settle here. Xiaoli and I both know, our 4 beautiful babies, the dogs, take priority