Gisborne. The first city to see the sun rise in New Zealand. The first city to see the sun rise in the world. And the best place to spend New Years in the world. Gisborne. Also the home of the Rhythm and vines music festival. Three days of camping, drinking, electronica, and sunshine.
I departed Auckland at 10 am the morning of the 27th with Alex from France. The day previous I had returned from camping in the Coromandels to immediately work a double shift. I returned home after midnight, only to have to do laundry and pack for my next adventure. Needless to say, I was not the most talkative travel partner for Alex as I could not keep my eyes open for very long despite a very good effort to stay awake. The drive to Gisborne took about seven hours, and it rained the entire way. Not a good sign for a camping festival! But as soon as we passed through the mountains, the sky cleared and there was no more rain.
I arrived at the campsite before Gloria and her entourage, so I picked out a decent spot and set up my poor little tent despite the intense wind. It held. Best forty dollars ever spent. Gloria, Diane, Susanna, and Sylvia soon arrived and after quickly getting set up, we headed out to the first night of music at the BW camping festival. New Zealanders are weird at festivals…. namely because they are so SO pushy. It was mostly impossible to dance at all due to the fear that I would be pushed over and trampled to death if I ever lost my footing. The madness began that evening as we randomly picked up some lost American/Danish dood, who stayed near to us the entire night and was impossible to lose. I was the unwelcoming victim of many of his drunken hugs.
The next day I met back up with Alex to explore the region. New Zealand festivals are also weird in that each day the music did not start until the evening. so all during the day you were left to your own devices. We drove out to a natural water slide and a waterfall. The rockslide was at a portion of the river that couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a waterfall or merely a slope. In the end it turned out to be an amazing place to slide down into the pool below.
The waterfall was one of the more beautiful ones that I have seen in New Zealand yet. It was in a really peaceful location and you could walk right up behind the falls. I obviously did not do that. It would ruin my hair. 😛
I got back to the campground to find some very intoxicated campmates. But soon I caught up. I’m not sure what exactly happened during those hours in the campground, but I am sure I made many many new friends. Anyway, there are many interesting photos. Joe and Camille hitch hiked the Gisborne that day as well and we snuck them into the campground just in time to get some potentially embarrassing photos of them as well. The festival site is located in a vineyard outside of Gisborne, and it was necessary to take a shuttle bus to the site. A really really long bus ride actually. The bus rides always turned out to be sources of song and hilarity. Eventually we made it to R and V, but soon mostly got separated from each other. One photo exists of the team. In the end, it was Diane and I that stayed together, pushed out way to the front of the Naked and Famous, and Chromeo stage, had our picture taken for the paper, and were then removed by security after some drunk girls tried to fight us for no reason.
The next day James also arrived after hitchhiking from Auckland, and with the help of the entire security staff at R and V being incredibly confused, it was also easy to sneak him into the campground. The final day of the festival, New Years Eve, Joe and Camille also joined us at the festival. We got separated from my original camp buddies, but it was still epic to ring in the new year with James, Joe, and Camille on the top of a hill overlooking a vineyard and a crazy festival. I believe the festival was also epic for Gloria and company, as they managed to lose their purse which contained their car keys. (They did find it the next day though, thank goodness!)
James and Joe, New Years on the hill
The next morning after little sleep, we prepared to part ways. I had to leave rather early in order to hitch hike back to Auckland in time for work the next day. The beginning of the next adventure……