Photo: Cruise ship visitors arriving at Eastland Port on a tender. The Westerdam can be seen anchored in the bay in the distance.(Ben Cowper)
THE words “beautiful” and “friendly” from cruise ship visitors in the streets of Gisborne yesterday summed up a very successful visit by the Westerdam.
The big ship sailed out of Turanganui-a-Kiwa/Poverty Bay at around 5.30pm last night, sounding its horn as it went, bound for Tauranga.
Around 1800 passengers came ashore for the day to take in places like the central city shops, the museum, the botanical gardens, riverbank walkways and various excursion tours, including steam train Wa165.
“There were more than 200 passengers on the train trips,” said Trust Tairāwhiti’s general manager tourism Matt Cairns.
“Overall it was a great day. Everything ran smoothly, and our visitors seemed really happy.
“We had just under 1800 passengers come ashore for the day.”
About a dozen “ambassadors” were on duty around the city, particularly around the harbour area.
Visitors spoken to in the CBD were rapt with Gisborne.
“What a beautiful and friendly place,” said an elderly couple from Utah in the US.
Others raved about their arrival in the Bay yesterday morning.
“It was simply stunning as we sailed in,” said one American couple.
“It felt like we were involved in something quite historical really, sailing in where Captain Cook came to all those years ago,” said another visitor.
They walked freely around the city and a resident in Aberdeen Road chatted to a couple from Canada who walked past as she worked outside.
“They told me what a lovely garden I had, and how much they had enjoyed wandering around just looking at people’s homes and their gardens.
“They also said of all the places they had visited Gisborne was the most appealing. It was so relaxing and laid back.”
An Australian couple said they really liked the city layout, and the fact there were very few tall buildings.
“It’s great there’s no high-rise here — you’re lucky.”
Another Australian couple said they thoroughly enjoyed the riverbank walkway and the steam train trip.
“The train was great, and the port area looks vibrant, but we felt the CBD looked a little tired, with too many empty shops.”
A former Aucklander, now living in Australia, said he had never been to Gisborne before.
“Seeing it now I wish I had come here when I lived in New Zealand. What a great little town.”
Posted: Thursday 17 November 2022