Gisborne is considered to be one of the first cities to see the morning sunrise, though having been at the East Cape lighthouse earlier in the week to try and have an even earlier experience, I wasn’t keen enough to wake at 530am to try again. However, there were quite a few good little walks that I went on during my stay in Gisborne. For the most part the town is a bit of a flat plane, with hills surrounding the outside. The most prominent of the hills is just north of the city, called Kaiti Hill. It overlooks the bay (called Poverty Bay – such a happy name!) and gives a good view of the surrounding city. Not to mention, this was also the place that Captain James Cook first sighted and stepped onto New Zealand soil, way back in 1769. There was a nice obelisk monument at the base of the hill…surrounded by industrial lumber yards and you couldn’t actually see the water from that spot…kind of hard to visualize Captain Cook stepping off the boat in that situation.
When I got to the first lookout, I realized I forgot one of my key pieces of travel paraphernalia – my camera. So my cell phone stepped up to the task (and performed about as expected – poorly). Still, better than nothing. The designated ‘lookout’ actually had pretty poor views – lumber yard anyone?
As Steff and I ventured further up the hill, the views got better but the walk got harder. The track became part of a ‘fitness’ course – full with steep steps, monkey bars and other various fitness apparatus. A great spot actually I thought if you wanted to get out and exercise in the fresh air. Finally, at the peak I could see down to the town of Gisborne, stretching away to the East.
At the peak there were a couple other things of interest – there was an observatory, a plaque commemorating Princess Diana, as she planted a tree on the hill in 1983, and near the plaque, a statue to Captain Cook:
Except, that isn’t Captain Cook at all. It’s a bronze statue of…someone, and was put up in 1969 to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of Cook landing here. Who is it actually of? No clue, but it certainly isn’t Captain Cook!