Gisborne is a sunny seaside town on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is a popular summertime destination as it has a relatively warm, dry and sunny climate, swimming and surf beaches with a more relaxed pace of life than the larger cities. It is the first city in the world to see the sun each day.
Gisborne is a good day's drive from either Auckland or Wellington or half a day from Rotorua or Napier, perhaps longer depending on the route you take.
There are frequent flights from Auckland (1 hour) and Wellington (1 hour) on Air New Zealand.
Naked Bus offer low cost bus services between Gisborne and many other North Island towns with fares starting at $1.
InterCity Coachlines is an alternative.
Gisborne is a long town, as it has spread out along the main road into town. A car is advisable, though if you are going to the beach, walking is a good idea, as parking in the central city is often a problem.
The central business district is quite small and easy to get around.
- Tairawhiti Museum, Stout St (from CBD, cross river at Peel St bridge, turn left on Stout St), ☎ (06) 867 3832, . M-Sa 10:00-16:00. Provincial museum. Upstairs has local art exhibition and Maori artefacts/taonga. Downstairs has maritime history, including recovered boat wheel house (great for the kids). edit
- Te Kuri Farm Walkway, (follow signposts from Ballance St and Ormond Rd corner), . Daylight, Labour Weekend to 1 August. 5 km walking track across private farm land in the Gisborne hills. Great views back over the city and ocean. 10 min drive from CBD. Take good shoes. Closed during lambing season. free. edit
- Kaiti Hill Lookout. Kaiti hill offers a drive and nice walkways to lookouts over Poverty Bay and the city. Playground for the kids at the top. Plus the best/worst statue of Captain Cook. edit
- Vineyard and winery tours. Gisborne is one of New Zealand's largest grape growing regions with just over half its 2000 hectares of vineyards planted in Chardonnay. A Mediterranean climate and suitable soils are the key factors in the success of wine production in this region which regularly produces unique, full-flavoured, award winning wines of international standard.
- Surfing, swimming, fishing
- Surfing with Frank, ☎ +64 6 867-0823, +64 21 119 0971, . flexible. Frank does surf lessons and tours for all ages and abilities. He will meet you at the beach (or pick you up), and can rent boards and wetsuits. edit
- Gisborne Olympic Pool Complex, Centennial Marine Drive (across from Midway Beach), ☎ +64 6 867-6220, . 06:00-20:00, Winter weekends go 08:00-18:00. In the summer, there is a 50 m lane pool, outdoor 33 m pool, diving well, kiddie pool, and hydroslide. In the winter only the covered 50 m pool and indoor hot pools are open. Easy access, except hot pools, where calling ahead is advisable. Adult $3.70, Child $2.70. edit
- Gisborne Cycle Co., ☎ +64 6 927-7021, . Offers bike rentals, vineyard bike tours, mountain bike day tours, and longer multi-day tours. Advance bookings required. edit
- Eastwood Hill Arboretum, 2392 Wharekopae Rd (about 45 min southwest of town), ☎ +64 3 6 863-9003, . Daily 09:00-17:00. Largest Northern Hemisphere tree plantation in New Zealand; great place to see the leaves change in the autumn. Lots of walking/mountain biking paths. Adults $15, Children $2, Concession $12. edit
- Rere Rockslide, Wharekopae Rd (About 45 min southwest of town; head south on main road and take 3rd exit at roundabout towards Eastwoodhill Arboretum. Carpark will be on right after a rise in the road.). Free local attraction; a natural rock slope with a stream running over it. Lots of fun for families to slide down on cardboard/boogie boards. Can have farm runoff after heavy rains. Beautiful local falls about 1 km down the road. edit
- The Stone Studio, 237 Stanley Rd, ☎ +64 6 867-3900, . M-Sa 09:00-17:00. Sells pounamu (greenstone) carved on-site. Also has selection of NZ-themed souvenirs. Gift wrap available. edit
- Verve, 121 Gladstone Road, ☎ +64 6 868-9095. M-F 08.30-17.30, Sa-Su 09:00-15:00. Cafe with breakfast and lunch menu. A small offering of counter snacks; full kitchen closes at 14.30 with snacks available until close. Music and local art on the walls. edit
- Zest Cafe, 22 Peel St (across the street from library), ☎ 5787, . Mon-Sat 06.00-16:00, Sun & PH 08.00-16:00. Cafe with wide range of counter food and vegetarian/vegan offerings. edit
- Cafe Anatolia, 120 Grey St, ☎ +64 6 867-8276. 11:00-21:00. Kebab shop and Turkish cafe. Tasty and affordable takeaways; uncomfortable chairs in the cafe itself. $8-15. edit
- Bollywood Star, 355 Gladstone Rd, ☎ +64 6 863-2954, . Quiet white-table dining and takeaways available. Solid Indian fare; next door is an Asian food shop. Very responsive to spice requests. edit
Gisborne's drinking scene is fairly quiet and often starts late, around 11PM or midnight. Expect to pay cover charges most bars/clubs in the CBD after 10PM on weekends; usually $5-$10. Busy nights are Wednesdays (payday for many people in town), Friday, and Saturday. The exception is during Rhythm and Vines, when the bars and beachside are going for pretty much the whole week.
The entire downtown and much of the town's beach are liquor-free zones; drinking outside in these areas can result in a fine.
- Gisborne Wine Center, Shed 3, 50 The Esplanade (Gladstone Rd across the river from the CBD; first right), ☎ (06) 867 4085, . 10AM-5PM Mon-Wed, 10Am-7PM SThurs-Sat. Local wine tasting and really yummy nibbles! Sunny porch and luxurious indoor tasting room. Bottle shop prices are ~$5 higher than elsewhere in town; find what you like and then buy from the cellar door for a bargain. edit
- Flying Nun Backpackers, 147 Roebuck Rd, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Cheap and dirty backpackers, with the emphasis on both! Lots of long-term residents and indoor and outdoor social areas. dorm $24.00, dbl/twin $26.00, sgl $36.00. edit
- YHA Gisborne, 32 Harris St (Across the river from the CBD, turn right), ☎ +64 6 867 3269, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Clean, friendly, quiet backpackers five minute walk from the CBD. Closes each winter, usually sometime between July and September, so call ahead at that time of year. edit
- Motel Oasis, 5 Sponge Bay Road (Along the Pacific Coast Highway), ☎ +64 6 867 9493, . edit
- Bella Vista Motel, 511-513 Gladstone Road, ☎ +64 6 868 7931, . checkin: 2pm; checkout: 10am. From $105. edit
- Go south to Morere (hot pools), Wairoa and Napier.
- Head north east to Opotiki on State Highway 35. This trip will take a full day and features spectacular coastal views and contains some of the most remote settlements in New Zealand. See East Cape