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Odometer 2512.5

Tolaga Bay has one of the longest wharves in New Zealand, or the Southern hemisphere, or maybe its just the longest concrete wharf, or something… A major construction feat, it’s building signed its own death warrant — for the short period it was operational, it enabled ships to come in and load up with gravel for the construction of the coastal highway that put the shipping out of business. Now it is gradually falling apart as the salt in the gravel and cement eats away at the steel reinforcing, causing the rods to swell and crack the cement from inside. More and more sections of the railing are falling into the sea while the local council tries to raise money from the national government to preserve the wharf as a national monument…

While it’s still standing we can still walk out to the end, the wharf is far enough from the city, and nobody has yet become bureaucraticly paranoid enough over potential insurance claims to plaster it with “condemned” signs and barricade it off. Local kids climb the rails and leap into the bay, older residents fish. Visitors just tend to walk out to the end, then turn and look back at the land, realising just how far it is to get back to the beach!

Tolaga Bay boasts a Cashmere clothing store that is famous throughout New Zealand. We had been urged to visit and peruse the hand-made clothes, even though it was the middle of summer, but since this was New Zealand in the height of the tourist season, the shop was of course shut! Also shut was the only restaurant in town, it was attached to the only pub, had changed owners within the last month, and was in the middle of being redecorated. As a result, dinner consisted of a rather unappetising fish & soggy chips & fried egg from the only takeaway in town.

Where?

Gisborne (38°S, 178°E) Tolaga Bay (38°S, 178°E)