272 Days on the Road
There are many ways to explore a city: driving from point A to B, taking a bus, seeing how far your feet will take you, etc. Today, we are exploring the city of Gisborne by bike! Yes, we have been in the world’s most eastern city (according to the time zones) for two and a half days now, checking out its cosy-as-hell cinema, surfing, visiting the regional museum, beer-tasting, road tripping to an arboretum, a natural waterslide, a waterfall and we’ve done some wine tasting. But we still feel like we haven’t just had a good wander around the city. That’s where Cycle Gisborne comes in!
After checking out of our accommodation, we make our way to the Cycle Gisborne base on Ormond Road. As we walk in, the first thing that catches our eye is a tandem bike – it’s not often that we see tandems for hire in New Zealand… Shall we??
The many city cycle routes around Gisborne
We meet Anelia who is keen to show us all the possible cycle routes to do around Gisborne, from houses and garden routes to river and beach routes. There is also a popular bike route taking in some of the historic sites of Gisborne, where Anelia has plenty of maps and info to give you insights into the places you are visiting. Although we are taking a self-guided bike hire option today, Anelia kindly comes along to help us with photos and filming (as well as showing us a few interesting spots along the way).
Taking the tandem
“Right, let’s get you guys set up on a bike!” Anelia says, first getting us an aptly-sized helmet and then asking what bike do we want. Already we have made up our mind: the tandem!! Thanks to Gisborne being so flat, this is one of few cities in New Zealand where riding a tandem bike might not be too painful. However, it does take some time getting used to…
A wobbly start
Before hitting the roads, we practice in the driveway: Laura going in front, Robin in the back. The only problem is the person in the front needs to be the one in control. For some strange reason, Laura finds herself riding the bike like a toddler again wobbling all around the place! She starts freakin’ out, like this is some sort of adrenaline activity! Yep, skydiving and bungy jumping was easier than riding a tandem bike!
We quickly swap positions after that embarrassing ordeal. It turns out that Robin can ride a bike like a normal human being, which is lucky for the both of us. All Laura has to do is peddle and shut up!
Botanical gardens, river cycleways and bossing the tandem!
Right! We hit the road, first making our way toward the Gisborne Botanical Gardens, a small gardens with plenty of flowers and palms decorating this pleasant place to bike. From there we are riding on a walkway/cycleway alongside the Taruheru River. Gisborne has three rivers making their way through town, all of which start and end more or less in Gisborne city.
By this point, we have got this tandem bike thing nailed. So much so, that Laura has given up on using the handlebars. Her childhood dream of riding a bike with no hands has finally come true!
Riding in style along the Taruheru River
Harbourside to memorial statues
We ride alongside the inner harbour of Gisborne, where the cycleway continues (we really don’t have to spend too much time biking with the traffic). This takes us to The Cut where a proud statue of Captain James Cook stands. After doing a mandatory circle around the statue, we stop to look at the memorial to the first European to set foot on New Zealand. It was a negative first encounter between the British and the Maori, with some Maori getting killed in the process, but it is a significant event in New Zealand’s history nonetheless.
Only a short ride ahead is another statue dedicated to Young Nick, who was the first on Captain Cook’s ship to see land. The statue site itself is pretty stunning, with the view of the long-stretching Waikanae Beach before us and a backdrop of the white cliffs of Young Nick’s Head in the distance.
A pretty ride alongside Waikanae Beach
This takes us onto an awesome part of our city cycle trail, following a boardwalk for a good length of time on the waterfront. We watch the waves rolling in, surfers catching them. We even spot Frank’s van from Surfing with Frank, hoping to see our surf instructor from the other day! We have to suck up the disappointment of not seeing the characterful guy once again.
Waikanae Beach is also significant as this was the landing spot for the first Maori to discover the area some 650 years ago. The story of Paoa, the captain of the double-hulled sailing waka and Kiwa, the navigator, (as well as the Paoa’s dog), have been passed down to the people who call Gisborne (or Tairawhiti in Maori) home today.
Waikanae Stream to the town clock
After a good stint of beautiful beach scenery, we bike back into the city, following Waikanae Stream for a short while with its native plantations lining the waterway, until we arrive at the Gisborne Town Clock. We take some quick snaps of the clock’s Art Deco design – something that we have found a few east coast towns to be a little obsessed with.
With the perfect loop, we make our way back to the Gisborne Bicycles’ base. We survived the tandem! We have to say we had a lot of fun on the tandem bike – it was a hilariously fun way to explore the city!
Goodbye, 360-degrees camera…
What we didn’t tell you about our trip though, was that our 360-degrees camera took its final photos today before a gust of wind knocked it over and smashed it on the ground. As you can tell from all our blog posts, we are a HUGE fan of 360-degree photos. So we spend the afternoon searching the electronic shops around Gisborne for something that compares. Nothing compared to our camera… Expect to see a lack of 360-degree photos for the next couple of blog posts, until a new camera is shipped to us.
Checking into the Top 10 Holiday Park
After sorting that out, we check in at the Waikanae Beach Top 10 Holiday Park to find it has a bouncy pillow! (Like a bouncy castle that is shaped like a pillow). Unfortunately, we are still too depressed about the camera to play on kids’ apparatuses… Perhaps our activity tomorrow will cheer us up: cider tasting in the morning and wine tasting in the afternoon. If it doesn’t cheer us up, then we will at least drink to forget. Join us then!
Hanging out with Young Nick
We have more. Heaps more! Check out these articles:
- City Cycling Rules in New Zealand
- 10 Must Dos In and Around Gisborne
- Gisborne – Guide for Backpackers
See you tomorrow!