Day 271 on the Road
New Zealand’s Largest Tree Collection!
Today we are starting our epic Gisborne road trip with a stop at the Eastwoodhill Arboretum! If you like this video and want more inspiration for your New Zealand bucket list then don’t miss our 365 Days: 365 Activities over on YouTube!
Today we are visiting an arboretum, amazing rockslides, we’re gonna check out a superb waterfall and we’re gonna go on a wine tasting tour and all of that at $15.
Today we’re having a huge itinerary planned. We are first heading to the Eastwoodhill Arboretum then we are heading to the Rere Rockslide, one of the longest rockslides in the world, then we are checking out the Rere Falls nearby and we are finishing in Gisborne at the Wine Centre.
After a 30 minute drive out of Gisboren we arrive at the Eastwoodhill Arboretum which is the largest arboretum in New Zealand it cover 131 hectares of land and it’s the largest collection of Northern Hemisphere trees in the Southern Hemisphere.
Because we arrive a little bit early for our tour we take some time at the Discovery Centre but it’s already time for our curator tour which is basically a nice ride around with the curator himself. They have a massive Jeep fitted with a ton of seats and they even have a trailer fitted with even more seats. It’s so comfortable and it’s a great way to go all around the massive arboretum.
Dan’s going to be our tour guide for this Curator Tour and he has a really good set-up. He has a microphone that fits onto speakers so everybody in the whole truck can hear him very well. And the tour starts with a little bi of history about the arboretum.
The first plantings at Eastwoodhill happened in 1910 when the land owner, Douglas Cook, who was a originally a farmer started a massive mission to plant hundreds and hundreds of trees. Over the 55 years that he was here, he planted 5000 trees and now this whole place is maintained by a small team of volunteers.
Dan shows us a collection of trees from all over the world starting off with some unusual trees from China and Mexico and this is all mixed in with trees from New Zealand as well like nikau palms and totara it’s such an unusual mix and as you can imagine it’s unlike anything we have seen in New Zealand so far.
We quickly realise that the Eastwoodhill Arboretum is not just an awesome place to learn all about the natural environment of New Zealand but really to learn about tree species and natural environment from trees from all over the world and how that fits in with the New Zealand eco system.
On top of learning about all the different tree species at Eastwoodhill Arboretum we also learn about how this place dramatically changes between the seasons. We are arriving here just before those autumn colours are starting to pop out and really autumn is meant to be the most glorious time be here and that’s between March and May in New Zealand.
If you guys are visiting the arboretum on a budget, there is a lot of different walking options that you can take they are ranging from about 30 minutes really easy kind of walk to a good three hours where you can get to see most of the arboretum has to offer. It’s a really colourful place and there is really a lot to see here. Laura and I were absolutely so surprised on how many different colours and shades of trees to see in this very short tour. Despite this is not autumn we are seeing so many different colours it feels like it is. There is a tonne of red and yellow trees but this is because they have this kind of foliage all year round. And this is really what this arboretum is showing is the wealth and variety of the vegetation available on planet Earth it’s a massive eye-opener.
And this is exactly why this arboretum is organised the way it is. The Eastwoodhill Arboretum includes over 17 spaces there is different gardens, themed plantations, herbarium, and much more.
And obviously all this varied vegetation attracts a tonne of wildlife. We get to see a tonne of wood pigeons which is basically a beefed up version of your classic pigeon from Europe or North America and on top of it it’s so much more colourful with it’s beautiful white shade and green head.
Dan tells us that we can actually hear over 40 different types of birds all around the arboretum and this is why this whole place sounds so magical. it’s a beautiful and enchanting forest with heaps of bird song.
One of the really interesting and last trees that we’re seeing today is a tree from Florida which roots rise up above the swamp land really so those roots can breathe which is quite unusual.
As the curator tour is coming to an end we have more time left in the day to check out the area because the Eastwoodhill Arboretum is not the old hidden gem in Gisborne.
So we’re heading to the Rere Rockslide to have some fun it’s actually one of the longest natural rockslide in the world. We’ve got a body board we’ve got two able bodies I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun.
Next time on New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year, Day 271, part 2 we’re gonna check out one of the world’s longest rockslide, we’re also gonna check out one of the most pristine waterfalls in the entirety of New Zealand and we’re gonna head to Gisborne to try some of the most delicious wine that the North Island of New Zealand has to offer. Join us then.