Venture to the Tairāwhiti Gisborne region and be the first in the world to see the sunrise.
Rich Māori culture, sacred mountains, bustling events and great weather make Gisborne the perfect year-round destination. Discover the top things to do in the Gisborne region.
1. Watch the sunrise from sacred Maunga Hikurangi
Maunga Hikurangi is the sacred mountain of the Ngāti Porou people and the first place in the world to see the sunrise. Stand in awe before nine breathtaking carvings, each with their own story to tell and Māori legends to remember.
2. Get up close to stingrays on the Tatapouri reef
Under the watchful eye of the expert guides from Dive Tatapouri, you can head to the shallow reef at low tide and observe stingrays and eagle rays up close. The stingrays are wild but their inquisivite nature brings them close to the shore.
3. Slippery-slide down the giant natural Rere Rockslide
Pack your swimwear and grab a boogie board then head to Rere Rockslide. This is New Zealand's largest naturally-made water slide and it's 60 metres of downhill adrenaline before landing in a four-metre deep swimming hole! If you're driving there from Gisborne be sure to stop in at Eastwoodhill Arboretum and Rere Falls. Before you slide, check the water conditions(opens in new window) and ensure you're a confident swimmer.
4. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway and walk on Tolaga Bay Wharf
If you're driving north from Gisborne along the Pacific Coast Highway make sure you stop in Tolaga Bay (Uawa) and walk the longest wharf in the Southern Hemisphere (660 metres long). Tolaga Bay Wharf is where Captain Cook sailed in to meet the Te Aitanga a Hauiti tribe when the Endeavour first reached New Zealand. Bookmark this handy interactive map(opens in new window).
5. Cycle on a historic railway with Gisborne Railbike Adventures
When the railway lines near Gisborne ceased operation in 2012 the team at Gisborne Railbike Adventures(opens in new window) saw this as an opportunity to experience the railway by bike. So grab some friends and cycle over the 500 metre long Waipaoa River rail bridge, or admire the sea views on a coastal loop near Muriwai or on the Mahia peninsula. Easy riding means age is no barrier and there are also E-bikes available.
You don't have to venture far from the city centre to find a tasty tipple. There are a dozen wineries in the area, all showcasing their best bottles at their cellar doors, including the famed Gisborne chardonnay. Top off a day surfing with a pint at Sunshine Brewing(opens in new window).
Where else could you find a surf beach just minutes walk from the city centre? Beginners surf lessons can be found at Waikanae/Roberts Road. For more challenging surf breaks, you can drive from Gisborne along State Highway 35 until you reach Wainui Beach and Makorori Beach. This coastline is home to small Kiwi towns with friendly locals so be sure to stop in for a break.
Visit the Dome Cinema, Tairāwhiti Gisborne’s best kept secret. The cinema shows mainstream hits alongside an impressive selection of art-house gems.
10. Explore classic Kiwi towns and golden beaches
Balmy year-round weather in the region means lots of time spent outdoors. Cooks Cove Walkway is a historic site. It's where Captain Cook stopped to repair the Endeavour. From Tolaga Bay you can walk across farmland to get to Cooks Cove where you can spend the day swimming and exploring the hole-in-the-rock. Te Kuri Farm Walkway and the summit of Titirangi (Kaiti Hill) in Gisborne are also great day walks.