"Gisborne Rocks!" Gisborne by allikat
Gisborne Travel Guide: 50 reviews and 105 photos
Domestic air travel is notoriously expensive in New Zealand. Locals will argue that it used to be far more expensive, but that's small comfort to me, especially as I used to live twenty minutes from Stansted Airport in the UK, and all that Ryan Air had to offer. Basically, there is a lack of competition, but this is slowly changing, and prices are starting to come down.
So when my partner got lucky on Air New Zealand's "Grab-A-Seat" promotion and managed to nab a couple of tickets from Auckland to Gisborne for $6 each way, you can imagine we were pretty excited.
Of course, he was more excited than I was. He likes flying, and I don't much, and I certiainly wasn't keen on a ride in a 19-seater propellor-driven aircraft with no personal seat-back screens or complimentary in-flight drinks trolley.
However, not only did I manage, I actually kind of enjoyed it. And not long after leaving Auckland, we had settled ourselves nicely into the Tatapouri Fishing club for a nice bit of steak and a glass or two of red.
We picked the Tatapouri fishing club for two reasons. In 1991, my brother-in-law had been flying commercially and was based in Gisborne. He was involved with the fishing club, and after winning a couple of key prizes in that year's Ninety Mile Beach surf fishing contest had his winning fish mounted for the club. We had gone to see the legendary fish. Plus it was close to the backpackers.
We didn't know it, but we were in for a bit of a surprise. At 8.55pm, halfway through ordering two medium-rare steaks, the ground started to shake - and I mean, really shake. There was a low rumble, and for maybe a second or two, I wondered if a rail track ran by the club and that a freight train was passing. Then, pretty quickly, I realised we were experiencing an earthquake. I think I remember someone saying that it was.
Now, I think I may have experienced a very slight tremor when I visited Italy as a child. The Earth, and the stuff it does, has always fascinated me. Ever since I found myself living somewhere that gets a lot of shaking, quaking, steaming, boiling, erupting and rumbling, I've wanted to experience a 'proper' earthquake. Of course, I don't want anyone to get hurt, or for there to be any damage. I just wanted to know what it felt like. So for maybe another couple of seconds, I'm quite sure I was grinning and feeling a bit thrilled by it all.
And then the ground started really lurching, by maybe a couple of feet back and forth. I could see the water in the marina sloshing around like some sort of washing machine, and I remember clutching tightly to my partner as we moved to get under a doorway.
Looking down the length of the building to the restaurant area, we could see a giant, stuffed shark which was suspended from the ceiling swinging wildly. That was surreal and that was the point I think I realised the building might not stand up to the shaking and lurching if it carried on much longer. The lights went out, and all you could hear was breaking glass. Then one more big lurch and it stopped as suddenly as it started.
6.8 magnitude, 50km SE, about 40km deep, lasting about 30 seconds.
Gisborne does get a few quakes, but the girl who had been trying to take our order clearly thought I was mad when I looked at her nervously, post-quake, and said "I supposed you're used to this?". No one in New Zealand is 'used to' quakes that chunky.
The town is far better known for it's vineyards, it's surrounding beaches and for being Captain James Cook's first landing place when he arrived in New Zealand in 1769, anchoring in Poverty Bay. I like wine and I like beaches, and Gisborne, normally one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand, has an abundance of both. It doesn't normally shake that much. Go see!
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