I believe some places in the world are truly magical. For me, two of these are Morere Hot Springs and Mahia Peninsula. We left Gisborne again last Wednesday morning, and these were our first two planned stops. It’s a long and winding road to Morere from Gisborne, with a magnificent viewpoint halfway up the Wharerata Ranges. Fortunately, we were blessed with fine weather to say haere ra for now to Turanga Nui a Kiwa/Gisborne.
Morere Hot Springs
The hot and cold springs of Morere are surrounded by 364 hectares of rainforest. An incredible 250,000 litres a day of hot ancient seawater is produced naturally here. It’s a breathtaking area of native bush, managed by the Department of Conservation. This bubbling spring is transformed into two ‘hot’ pools. One’s a far more intense heat than the other. It’s the most amazing place.
I recall the first time I visited here and decided to do one of the bushwalks – on my own. The weather hadn’t been great, and halfway around the walk, it became slippy and scary. Part of the track was the ridge of a hill, with a steep drop below – not much to stop me tumbling down. Foolishly I hadn’t let anyone know where I was going. Mobile phones in those days weren’t so good (this was 2001), there was no signal, and I hadn’t let anyone know where I was! That was a salient lesson for me about walking in New Zealand.
Since then, I’ve been many times and relaxed in the hot pools. I don’t think I’ve ventured onto any of the tracks again! I took mum and dad here, and Barry and I have been a few times. Usually, there are foreign tourists amongst the bathers.
This time, however, it was full of kiwis – some who’d emigrated many years ago from Holland or Germany. There must be something about the powers of the water, as we all chatted away amiably. Once many had departed, there were five of us left – and it turned into a full-on opening up session! Nothing sordid. The discussion started around prisons, and drug-taking; then moved on to how our early years affect our lives and whether we can consciously change this. We delved into nature/nurture debate, and whether it was chance that made a difference or mindsets. I guess when you’ve got hardly any clothes on, and the likelihood of seeing people again is remote, it’s easier to open up. Our three companions spoke of the ways they’d turned their lives around. It was fascinating; we felt incredibly privileged.
Having intended staying an hour, the revelatory experience in the hot pools extended our stay to over two hours! To save time, we thought we’d head over the road to the café. Especially as we’d been reliably informed they now do the best burgers ever! Apparently an overseas chef who got ‘stuck’ in New Zealand is residing there for a while. They were correct. The burgers are amazing. I rarely eat burgers out, they just don’t appeal, but I was plesantly surprised by this one. I chose the blue cheeseburger. They use locally sourced meat and make all the sauces and bread rolls made on the premises. It was undoubtedly the best burger I’ve ever eaten. Delicious and highly recommended.
Mahia is a spectacularly beautiful peninsula south of Gisborne, on the road to Wairoa and Napier. A dear friend offered us the use of their ‘bach’, so we took the opportunity to spend a couple of nights there last week.
“Short for ‘bachelor pad’, the word bach is deeply embedded in the Kiwi psyche – unless you’re from the south of the South Island, where they use the word ‘crib’ when referring to a holiday house.
After World War II, as better roads made remote places more accessible, New Zealanders began building haphazard holiday houses in gorgeous places up and down the country.”https://www.newzealand.com/nz/feature/new-zealand-bach/
Before we found the bach, we took a drive round to the northern side of the peninsula. To my second favourite beach after Wainui. Another idyllic place I’ve been to many times alone and with family or friends. In 2006, when my eldest daughter Lisa visited us, Barry took our portraits here. Lisa captured one of Barry and me on the beach. It’s one of the best ones of the two of us and takes pride of place on the wall in Areandare. In 2002 I watched whales jumping and spouting here. The beach always has a collection of paua and kina shells dotted along it. This time Tangaroa gifted me a pair of half-buried jandals that fit me perfectly!
We were thankful we’d visited on Wednesday. By Thursday the weather was changeable, with driving wind, heavy rain and it turned cold. That was despite a red sky in the evening. I was actually relieved as I had lots of work to catch up on, so it felt fine to stay indoors most of the day.
By Friday the sky was blue once more …
On Friday, another dear midwifery friend, Alison, who lives on the peninsula, visited. We enjoyed a lovely long walk on the beach for a catch-up. I was ecstatic to find a ‘sea biscuit’. I look for these on every beach in New Zealand and this was my very first find of a whole one.
It’s so wonderful to be returning to these lovely locations once more.
Our destination is north of Wellington on Tuesday, ready to fly to Christchurch on Wednesday and spend almost a week with Barry’s daughter Jamie. There are a few more stunning places along the way, which we’re aiming to show you before we fly.
En route, the plan is to also catch up with two fellow narrowboaters. Many readers will know at least one of them. Watch this space to see who they are …
Barry’s Super Slide-show Follows
Click on the first image then let the pictures reveal themselves slowly: