stray east new zealand

Gisborne: the first place in the world to see the sunrise. We woke up at 6AM feeling relatively fresh after last night’s campfire beers. After a short stroll down to the beach we caught the first glimpse of sunlight – it was unbelievable!

With a no checkout time policy at the hostel we had the morning to ourselves with a few activities to choose from: Surfing, Hiking, Sting Ray Feeding or a chilled out morning by the beach. Gisborne claims to be New Zealand’s surf capital – there was no way that I was going to leave this scenic little town without hitting the waves. After a bit of a battering, we followed Henrik the stingray expert into the ocean to feed some of the friendly creatures. These marine animals are like giant, slimy puppies that rub against your ankles in search for food. With a new found love for these creatures – I have added ‘owning a pet stingray called Harry’ to my bucket list!

After the feed some of us headed for a hike up the mountain to capture beach views that lead all the way to South America – followed by a little nap on the beach. We left Gisborne at midday and headed North East towards our overnight stop, Te Araroa. 

First on our list was Tolaga Wharf – New Zealand’s longest jetty. The walk along the pier reminded me of Thailand – green waters, white cliffs and islands. Some of us jumped off – it was cold. We then made our way to the infamous Tikitiki Church – it had beautiful stained glass windows and Maori patterns.  Lunch was had a local Kiwi pub on the coast – here I realised that my ability to play Pool improved with Cider.

Early afternoon we reached our accommodation – a historic nunnery turned into a backpackers and hosted by a lovely Maori woman and her family. Here we were able to carve our own greenstone or bone necklaces as well as the option to learn flax weaving. This beautiful, enchanting house was amazing – check out the photos! Our guide Rex insisted that I try the local mussel (not being much of a slimy sea food enthusiast , I thought I’d give it a shot – eww)!

Day 2 was unforgettable – new friends, sunrises and sunsets and road tripping along the beautiful Kiwi coastline.

Read about Day 3 here.