Thursday, 9 June 2011

Gisborne, First City to See the Sun

Gisborne port of call
"Land!" cried a young sailor in October, 1769, and was promptly immortalised in history - Captain Cook named the promontary he sighted 'Young Nick's Head' in his honour. Seeing Nicholas was only 12 years old at the time, I wonder if he got the gallon of rum that Cook had promised to whomever first saw land!
   I was really looking forward to going to Gisborne. I'd been there only twice before, when I was a child. The city looked its best on this bright, blue sky day. The 'Volendam' anchored offshore which gave us a great view of Young Nick's Head, its sheer white cliffs reminiscent of those at Dover. The tender ride didn't take too long, up the river a little way to the marina. We spotted the statue of Captain Cook on the foreshore where he is said to have landed all those years ago.
Millennium wall, Gisborne, New Zealand
   The new millenium celebrations of 2000 started in Gisborne as it is the city nearest the international date-line, and so the first to see the sunrise. Hundreds of school children painted their self-portraits on tiles to mark the occasion. You can see them all on a wall by the marina.
   We had a good look around the town. Its palm trees give it a tropical feel and with great beaches a couple of blocks from the main street, you can see why surfie types like to live here. With the beach so close, you can ride the waves in your lunch hour!
   In the afternoon we went on a fantastic shore excursion - I'll tell you about that next time!

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