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There is a certain magic to the new day in Gisborne. For as the most easterly city in the world you can be sure that if you are watching the sun rise here you are one of the first people on earth to greet the new day.
The best spot to do this is undoubtedly on a stretch of white sandy Gisborne beach with the sun rising over the Pacific Ocean.
Locals recommend Wainui Beach, just a short drive from the city and a favourite spot for walking, swimming, surfing, fishing and horse trekking.
It is also the site of a historic sperm whale grave which commemorates the 1970 stranding of 59 sperm whales that lost their sense of direction, became stranded in the shallows and eventually died.
With an early start to the day, you are set to use every minute in this glorious city.
Our top 9 highlights include:
Maori culture – with Maori forming half of the region’s population, the Gisborne area is an excellent place to experience Maori culture. In some communities the Maori language is spoken as a first language and there is a wealth of Maori art including kapa haka (performing arts) to appreciate
Tairawhiti Museum – this award winning museum and art gallery reflects the ancient and recent history of the region and includes Maori artefacts from the 1300s when the earliest Maori explorers came to Eastland.
Surfing – a haven for surfers, six of New Zealand’s protected surf breaks are located on the Gisborne coast line
Wine – Gisborne is the third largest wine region in the country and is world renowned for the distinctive flavours it produces
Feed stingrays – see and feed wild sting rays by walking out on the reef at Tatapouri
Rere Waterfall and Rockslide – take a dip in this picturesque swimming spot or take the more adventurous option and boogey board down the 60 metre rockslide
Eastwoodhill Arboretum – this is the largest collection of exotic trees in the Southern Hemisphere and can be enjoyed on foot or in open backed jeeps
Festivals – the weather and beach setting make Gisborne a popular spot for festivals and events including Rhythm and Vines, New Zealand’s largest New year’s eve celebration
Air New Zealand flies between Gisborne and Auckland and Wellington connecting it with 24 destinations on the domestic network. For information and to book flights to Gisborne, visit www.airnewzealand.com