Known as a surf town, this small city was a must-see for us due to its famous warm weather and beautiful surf beaches. Gisborne was named after the crew member who first spotted land when Captain James Cook set foot on New Zealand’s shores in 1769. References to the famous ship captain can be seen all over the city.

Captain Cook’s Ship 

During the 3 days leading up to New Years, Gisborne transforms into a party city full of 20-somethings camping out at the largest music festival in New Zealand – Rhythm & Wines. Unknown to us, we were lucky to get a campsite a few weeks before Christmas as the city was packed with university students for the entire weekend. Situated on the coast just outside the downtown area, our campsite at Tatapouri was a perfect oasis after our 4 day hike in Lake Waikaremoana.

Beachside campsite at Tatapouri 

Jordan had pre-booked a rental Firewire surfboard (every surfers dream board) and was eager to catch some waves. We hit up the Makorori beach bright and early (before 7am) and were surprised with the number of locals already in the water. Jordan raced to the beach to get in the sweet spot while I hung out in the shallower water catching some waves with my new awesome body board!

Makorori Beach 

The Firewire board stood up to its reputation – after 5 hours of surfing Jordan finally emerged from the water with a huge grin on his face from the excitement of some great rides. He even rode off the lip for the first time which topped his day!

Jordan trying out the Firewire surfboard 

The demo board put Jordan over the edge and finally decided to buy his very own Firewire surfboard – a dream of his for many years. After some negotiations with the local surf shop, he purchased a brand new Timbertek model – Firewire’s latest technology – one of the most sustainable surfboards in the world. The store owner described the beautiful wood finish as ‘surfboard porn’.

Jordan’s new Firewire Timbertek Baked Potato 

Gisborne boasted itself as being the “first to greet the sun each day” as it is closest to the International Dateline, so we got up at 5:30am to catch the last sunrise of 2013. A beautiful way to start the last day of the year!

Last sunrise of 2013