Day 278 on the Road
Gisborne City Vintage Railway
Today we are jumping on board a steam train in Gisborne! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand then go ahead and hit that subscribe button on YouTube!
Today we’re going to be doing an awesome road trip through the Waioeka Gorge and also taking a steam train through Gisborne.
Previously on New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year we explored the beautiful Waioeka Gorge and it’s amazing amount of historical sights and amazing wildlife and if you did miss it make sure to hit that subscribe button so you never miss again one of our amazing adventures. And now the continuation of 278.
We arrive at the Gisborne Railway Station where we’re about to board the Gisborne City Vintage Railway. Even the station itself looks pretty vintage. Out in the distance we can see the steam train getting prepared for the journey ahead and everyone on the platform is absolutely buzzing.
We feel like Harry and Hermione about to board the Hogwarts Express and go straight Mordor it feels like a really awesome train and it feels like a part of history and it’s basically what this entire vintage Gisborne railway tour is all about. Discovering the history of this beautiful beast.
So David just invited me to join them in the locomotive part.
I’ll get you to sit in the seat over there.
So I’m staying in one of the beautifully resorted carriages in the back of the train watching the beautiful views of Gisborne go by while Robin has been given the VIP treatment by going right into the locomotive itself to see how that operates.
Well to be quite honest the VIP treatment is not really luxury at all. This engine is steamy, bumpy, shaky and extremely extremely loud. In fact, everybody in the steam engine is actually wearing earbuds while I am not just because well I didn’t come prepared.
This wild steam engine is absolutely chaotic everything is shaky and you can barely have a thought for yourself because everything is burning and everything is super dangerous. The two guys are having a hard time communicating to each other while being able to hear each other so they kind of tap on each other shoulders when they need to say something or when they point at something. But the whole thing feels like absolute chaos.
Right so let’s go through a few facts about this steam engine so we are in a wa165 locomotive it was built in 1897 in Dunedin and it has been operating in Gisborne for many many years. This locomotive was then retired in 1959, yeah that means that it operated for over 60 years which is super long for a machine of this size. The in 1962 it was used in a kids playground around Gisborne. We have shown you guys a few kids playground in New Zealand and honestly they are always super epic and having a massive real life locomotive as a playground is a prime example of that.
One of the really interesting and pretty gnarly sections of this railway journey is going over the Waiopaoa river bridge which is 329m long. It’s a really old bridge and we have to slow right down to cross it to about 10km/h and currently we’ve travelling about 25 to 30km/h but eventually we do make it over the bridge alive and come to our final stop for today which is in Muriwai.
The river crossing is not the only highlight of this railway journey though we’ve also crossed over an airport on a runway which is the only railway line in the Southern Hemisphere to do so.
Once we arrive in Muriwai it’s time for the locomotive to move from the back of the train or the front of the train to the other side of the train so we can start making our way back toward Gisborne.
So everybody is watching the locomotive being anchored back to the train. I hope anchored is the correct word. I’m pretty sure it’s not but we’ll go with that for now.
And then after we are making our way all the way back toward the train station that we started at. It’s a really cool way to see the same scenery but in a different light and this light right now is a smoky one goddamn a steam train creates a lot of smoke.
But jokes aside I actually do really like the fact that we get to see the same scenery twice because when I was inside the locomotive with all the chaos going on I really didn’t get a chance to embrace and see where we were actually driving through so now that I am in the luxurious wagon I get to see it all over again. And as we arrive in Gisborne it’s tome for us to say goodbye to the lovely crew of the Gisborne Vintage Railway and make our way back toward Opotiki. It’s a drive through the Waioeka Gorge again and because the weather is not that great we don’t do many stops we are just munching on ice cream and enjoying the misty landscapes of New Zealand and making our way back to our accommodation.
So yeah we arrive back on Opotiki get ourselves out of the rain and get into our accommodation which is the Royal Opotiki Backpackers and tomorrow we scheduled to do a jet boat ride but that probably won’t happen since the rain is so bad so see what we do tomorrow. We’ll think of something.