Gisborne’s charming coastal identity is defined largely by its relative seclusion, which guarantees you a serene and generous taste of a remarkably unspoiled and scenic coastline.
That isolation is due to its position perched out on the far easterly edge of the lower North Island, which ensures a blissfully serene vibe, aided in no small part by the spectacularly good weather this area experiences all year round. Gisborne enjoys an annual average of 2,200 sunshine hours.
Thanks to the high, hot, sunshine hours, fertile clay loam soils and fertile land, Gisborne is home to some of the most acclaimed winemakers in the country. The East Coast area is famous for producing exceptional Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Malbec.
But if breaking a sweat is how you like holidaying, outdoor sports are also very much the name of the game with surfing, camping, diving, fishing, hunting, hiking and swimming all popular activities.
The East Coast offers some of the most consistent high quality surf breaks in New Zealand, with coastlines facing south and east, providing a 180 degree window for picking up super consistent swell.
Some other more low-key, easy going, attractions in Gisborne include soaking up panoramic views atop landmarks like Kaiti Hill, Young Nick's Head or the East Cape Lighthouse. For a splash of fauna colour, head to Titirangi Domain, Gisborne Botanical Gardens and Urewera National Park.
For a perfectly family friendly activity, head to Tatapouri where you can join a stingray feeding tour, or embark on the 10km dunes cycle trail section of the Motu Trail. This starts in Opotiki and eases along the Pacific Ocean coast.
For a more challenging riding experience, the nearby Rere Falls trail spans 103km and is considered a Heartland Ride, as part of the greater New Zealand Cycle Trail. The journey begins on a riverside, then takes you across plains and past many of Gisborne’s finest vineyards and wineries. By combining Rere Falls with Motu Road trail you can effectively cycle from ‘coast-to-coast.’
Horse riding and helicopter scenic tours are also popular attractions in this remarkably unspoilt corner of New Zealand.