Thursday 17 May 2018

A Lighthouse & A Big Tree- East Cape; Part 2


Continuing on from Part 1

Once we moved the gathering of horses on from the entrance to the lighthouse walk, it was head down bum up as we set off at a steady pace... climb the 800 steps to East Cape Lighthouse. Someone has helpfully carved our progress into the steps; '150' (Really? Feels more like 250), 'There's 301 to go' (I've lost count by now and also read it as, I've done 301 steps and still have 500 to go. Bloody hell!) and finally '800, you did it! (thankyou kind person for your encouragement!). We pass fellow RVers, Angelique, Ken & Louell on their way down- they're staying at Moreporks Nest as well. David plods on, one foot after the other, steady as she goes...

...until we finally arrive at the top. The lighthouse is a popular attraction, many tourists make the pilgrimage to the top to be one of the first in the world to see the new day's sun rise over the eastern horizon.

The East Coast Lighthouse- 14 metres high, 154 metres from sea level and fully automated in 1985.

The views from the top are magnificent; looking south along the coast towards Gisborne...

...east towards East Island (imagine living on that tiny rock as the lighthouse keepers family did in the early days)...

...and west over farmland, with the lighthouse carpark and old buildings in the centre bottom of the shot.

The cloud formation provides some great leading lines for my photos.

We were disappointed to see how rundown the reserve around the lighthouse had become since our visit in 2011. The information panels that once told about the wildlife and East Island had been smashed along with a nearby seat. Rubbish had also been thrown in the bush and over the edge. Idle hands while people wait for the sunrise perhaps?

We headed back down to the carpark, passing a several groups of people coming up the stairs. At the bottom, a large group of Chinese tourists are talking excitedly to some of the horses who are standing by the track. A couple of the children are holding handfuls of grass and they ask me if they are allowed to feed the horses. I show the children how to hold their hands flat to feed them and left them having their photos taken. I also warn them not to go behind or try to touch the foals. I bet they decided that feeding the horses was the best experience that day!

We head back to Te Araroa, stopping to have a late lunch over looking the sea. There are a number of old derelict houses along the coast road, the one on the right doesn't looked to have changed at all in the 7 years since our last visit.

Just to prove that the signs are there for a reason...

...and that cattle, like the horses in the previous blog post, like to cool off on the sand too.

Back in Te Araroa we check out Te Waha-o-Rerekohu, New Zealand's oldest and largest pohutukawa tree which stands in the corner of the local school grounds. Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of NZ says the tree is thought to be around 600 years old but the sign says 350yo so who's right is anyone's guess. Still, it's a pretty impressive tree, its more than 21 meters tall and 40 meters in diameter at its widest point (click on the photo to read the sign)

This should give you some perspective, it's a massive tree!

The day wouldn't be complete without another horse encounter; we come across this little fellow just down the road from Moreporks Nest, he was happily wandering down the middle of the road but when he spotted us coming he made a break for it and trotted off down a driveway.

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