Gisborne

It’s a revised road trip – day one.

There’s something rather glum about returning home only a few hours after setting off on a much looked forward to road trip.

Our house, much as I love it, seemed empty and oddly tidy. If it had a character I’d say it was looking forward to some time on it’s own, without us, as much as we’d been looking forward to the break.

But what to do?ย A whole week off work and no car.

Go back to work? That idea got next to no air time!! I might be self-employed, my own boss, as they say, but getting away takes weeks of advance planning. I wasn’t going to give up easily.

Have a holiday at home? That idea got slightly more air play, ugly suggestion that it was.

What about a rental car? I’m not entirely sure who first mooted this but I’ll say it was me. (John has read this and claims it was him!) Whatever! I will say, apart from the decision to call a towie at Lake Tutiraย and that was me,ย this was the very best idea of the day.

A rental wasn’t quite as easy to sort out as we expected. It took more than 24hours for the booking to be confirmed, which might have something to do with us being rental car novices. Or, everyone, including the car hire staff, were taking advantage of the holiday weekend.

Come Monday we were on the road again. To Gisborne and Makorori Beach.

Our destination, day one.

Our destination, day one, Makorori Beach

There was talk of a bad storm. Relentless rain. High winds. We wondered what we were driving in to. But the gods were with us this time and the worst of the weather skirted around our part of the country. And this time there was no stopping at Lake Tutira, not even for a cuppa. It was another two hours before we pulled over, a mandatory stop, but not the mechanical, or worse, accidental sort. With a view like this and the promise of clearing weather we had to appreciate our good luck.

View from the top of the Wharerata's, looking over Young Nick's Head to Gisborne.

View from the top of the Wharerata’s, looking over Young Nick’s Head to Gisborne.

Makorori Beach is ten minutes north of Gisborne. It’s sandy, sheltered and, for me, the stuff of childhood memories.

All those years ago, my sister and I made sandcastles here, I got a bad sunburn, our parents laughed and relaxed and had time to play with us. Here the waves were mostly gentle but seemed to roar at night, and we swam and then swam some more.

And this was where, on the last day of a long summer holiday, the sun disappeared behind clouds, the burning sand turned cold, the wind went to the south and whipped sand and tumbleweed into our legs. It was a blessing in disguise. Getting in the car to begin the long drive home over roads guaranteed to make one or other of us kids throw up, was that little bit easier.

I have never been back. Not to stay. So this part of our road trip was a trip down memory lane, too.

Although Makorori is more built up than I remember and some of the holiday homes are grand the basics haven’t changed. The beach is the same. Sandy and vast. The cliffs still tower above the reef.

Looking towards Makorori heads

Looking towards Makorori heads

The Pacific rolls in relentlessly. And the surfies still take advantage of the waves – even mid-week, even or perhaps especially in a southerly.

In my memory there was never anyone on the beach except us.

This time we saw two groups of surfies at our end of the beach, one dog and its owner, and one horse and its rider. Perhaps it’s busier in the summer. Our landlord, we’d hired a beach bach, told us that during the season the place is busy with people fishing and surfing and looking for shell fish. Apparently the crayfish are plentiful in season.

Here comes the rain

Here comes the rain

Paddling about in my bare feet on the reef confirmed what I suspected – the water was straight from Antartica. My togs stayed in my luggage.

Makorori Reef

Makorori Reef at low tide

By the end of our first day Makorori was once again my favourite beach of all time.

Where’s yours?

32 replies »

  1. Oh dear, following you is going to make me homesick, and I never allow that to happen except when I am actually there (no point when being homesick when you’re elsewhere), but your posts look too inviting to miss out, so I’m off on your roadtrip in a virtual sense.

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  2. The photo of Makorori heads is so wonderfully crisp and clear. What camera do you use Jill? Beautiful sandy beach, I only know the black sandy beaches on the other side of your beautiful island where I had the fortune to visit in December.

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    • Ah, the iron sands over in the Taranaki. My parents took us there for a holiday when I was kid. Us kids were all so affronted with the black sand – it was impossible to walk on it barefoot. Now, of course, I can see past that. Glad you like the photo, Jude. My camera is a FujiFilm X-M. I’m still very much learning the ropes.

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  3. Beautiful! Love the picture of the reef at low tide – there is something sad yet ageless about it. My favorite beach is far across the Pacific a place called Dana Point. It is not a typical sandy beach, it is rocky and full of tide pools. I love it.

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  4. I wondered if you were going to be brave enough to take a swim. ๐Ÿ™‚ Perhaps with a wet suit you may have given it a try. Sadly I am unfamiliar with all that area of NZ. It looks very beautiful. My favourite beaches would have to be Fiji ones. Oh, and a very lovely one at Cape Cod.

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    • The East Cape is very beautiful. One of my most favourite places – and there’s always more to explore. As for Fiji beaches – it was there I discovered the ultimate delight of tropical waters!! What a surprise not to have to brace yourself or put on a wet suit before taking the plunge.

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  5. Well, I’m glad you finally made it there, Jill, and what a wonderful sight to go back to. Such beauty, even if the water was cold and from the Antarctic, and the southerly wind was chilly to the bone. I’d say your trip was worth every shiver and every goose-bump.

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  6. So pleased you came up with plan B Jill. Love the beach photos especially the one looking towards the Heads, that sky is overpoweringly beautiful. One of my favourites in NZ is Oakura just outside New Plymouth. We lived there 4 years when Jack’s boys were teenagers and mad keen surfers. We had a special spot we called our spot, it had a flat rock to use as a table and was sheltered on 3 sides with the ocean rolling in with great surfers swells. We would get very upset in the tourist season when a stranger had found our hide-away…

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    • That beach spot sounds perfect! You’ve reminded me of a holiday we had in the Coromandel. We found a cove that no-one else seemed to bother with. We had to clamber down a bank to get to it. It was shaded by pohutakawas, there were rock pools to explore, a sunny patch when we needed to warm ourselves, and best of all, because the boys were very small, the water was shallow and nearly always calm. There was an island off-shore which John swam out to a couple of times – which really impressed the boys. We called it Golden Bay although it was very tiny. A few summers later we did stay at the Golden Bay, which is very beautiful, but this little cove in the Coromandel is our special Golden Bay. I still have the kina shell the boys found there.

      Once or twice we had to share the cove with others and like you we were most indignant about it! Makes me laugh now.

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  7. Those are some beautiful beach scenes Jill. I’m still stuck on the idea of your house wanting some time to itself. That’s an interesting concept. I hope it enjoyed itself.

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  8. These pics are gorgeous! The beach scenes remind me so much of the beach scenes in “The Piano”. Just glorious and haunting in its way. Wonderful stuff – the stuff of dark dreams. MH

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  9. Really lovely photos Jill. I’m glad you were able to get under way again and not waste a week off work! We were at the beach on the weekend too, one that is a family favourite on the south coast of NSW. The weather was very similar to that in your photos but a fun time was had by all regardless f the grey skies. Enjoy your trip!

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  10. So gorgeous! you are living in paradise ๐Ÿ™‚ My fav beaches are here, in the Philippines, where we are heading next Friday… Warm enough for me, pristine waters and sugar beaches.. I’ll may change my mind after visiting your country though!

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    • I’ll never forget swimming in the sea in the tropics for the first time – I couldn’t get over how warm the water was. Here it’s never like that. In the height of summer I have to steel myself against the shock of the cold water. But what we lose on warmth we gain on the having it all to ourselves!

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  11. Wow those beach scenes are amazing!!! How gorgeous. I guess my favourite beach is the one in my hometown Sarina in QLD…. It’s beautiful and quiet and full of memories.

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  12. I love your photos of Makorori Beach. Gorgeous. I have to say that with all the beaches I have experienced in my life, my favorite is Sunrise Beach in Lake Bluff Illinois. It is not necessarily as magnificent as Makorori. but it is home.

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    • Thank-you Lisa. Yes, I know what you mean, there’s nothing like home. Is Sunrise Beach sandy? The beach in our hometown is stony and although beautiful in its own way, I do prefer sandy beaches.

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