Go-To Guides

Tairāwhiti Gisborne

The eastern horn of the North Island is a place of many firsts. Early Polynesian voyagers are said to have settled here and, according to Māori tradition, the area was the first part of Te Ika-a-Māui fished up by Māui. The region also served as the first landing point of Captain James Cook's Endeavour.

The rugged coastal stretch, which clings to the Pacific Ocean, is famously known as the first city to see the sun. And with its bounty of untouched sandy beaches, pumping surf spots, and reputation for aromatic chardonnay, it's an unbeatable destination in the warmer months. Though, given the exceptional tally of more than 2500 sunshine hours, it's worth visiting Tairāwhiti Gisborne any time of the year.


See & Do

Slide down a naturally-formed chute, stroll through a massive arboretum of rare trees and immerse yourself in Māori culture.

The beautiful tourist highway full of hidden gems

The grand voyage of winding roads from Gisborne to Ōpōtiki takes you to some of the most untouched parts of the country. Along State Highway 35 you'll encounter some of the Cape's most iconic landmarks, from a beautiful seaside church to settlements full of rustic charm and a wildlife encounter with stingrays and kingfish. It's also not uncommon to find cows wandering along remote beaches. Read more

The spectacular road along the east coast. BROOK SABIN

The spectacular road along the east coast. BROOK SABIN

The best walks in Tairāwhiti Gisborne

Beach days and evenings spent in a chardonnay haze are par for the course on Gisborne holidays, so why not mix things up a bit with a head-clearing walk along its cracker coastline or in its under-the-radar hinterland? A heritage trail digitally guided by local iwi, a forest and farmland loop from one of the prettiest beaches in the region, a hike up a sacred mountain, and a high country trek to hidden waterfalls are among your options. That chardie — or cold local craft beer — will taste all the better afterwards. Read more

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An enormous arboretum full of rare and exotic trees

Eastwoodhill Arboretum was the brainchild of Douglas Cook, who bought a scruffy piece of land 30 kilometres from Gisborne in 1910. Over the decades, his ambitious planting only gathered pace and today there are more than 25,000 species of trees, shrubs and climber plants across the 135-hectare property. A visit will have you feeling like you're in a Japanese forest one moment, then Central America the next. There is even a tree cathedral which is the exact dimensions of Westminster Abbey. There are six main walks to choose from, but the easiest way to get a grasp of the place is to take a tour on the back of a jeep. Read more

The sand bridge makes easy work of cycling along the beach. NEIL HUTTON/SUPPLIED

The sand bridge makes easy work of cycling along the beach. NEIL HUTTON/SUPPLIED

Pleasant pedalling with a view

Ōpōtiki's Tirohanga Dunes Trail is the easy bit of the deservedly famous Motu Trails, a combination of three tracks in Tairāwhiti. Together, they’re a challenging 121km of pedalling or walking, but the Dunes Trail is a pleasant 18km, three-hour outing with little in the way of gradients to get you puffing. It takes you along the coast on a well-made track and delivers plenty of scenery, vegetation and birdlife. You’ll get spectacular views towards Whakaari/White Island, Moutohorā/Whale Island, and the cliffs and peaks of Eastland. There’s plenty of easy access to the beach for a dip to cool off. Read more

Is Gisborne really the first city in the world to see the sunrise?

East Cape is regularly floated as the first place to see the sunrise. The first light claim is based on the region's position in relation to the International Date Line, the point at which each new day begins. Those looking for a straightforward answer will be disappointed — the question technically has no answer.

New Zealand and Pacific island nations including Fiji and Tuvalu are located within the UTC+12 time zone, just to the left of the date line, making them among the first to see the sun. But the Chathams, are in the UTC+12:45 time zone, putting them 45 minutes ahead than anywhere in mainland New Zealand.

On this basis, the East Cape Lighthouse, 22 kilometres from the tiny settlement of Te Araroa, is the first place on the mainland to see the sun, and Gisborne’s claim to be the first city in the world to see the sun stacks up.

When daylight savings kicks in on the last Sunday in September, Samoa overtakes us as the first to see the sun. Its capital Apia therefore steals Gisborne’s thunder as the first city in the world to see the sun.

New Zealand could be considered the first large country in the world to see the new day. Whatever the case, if you’re on the mainland, Gisborne and the East Cape are the places to be if you want to catch the sun’s first rays on any given day.

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The best place to watch the sunrise

Watching the sunrise on the East Cape is one of those unforgettable life moments. Sitting pretty on top of Otiki Hill, the East Cape Lighthouse lords over the surrounding beaches and hills. An indomitable figure and landmark to many, it was first built more than a century ago and manned until the 1980s. While you can't go inside the lighthouse, you can climb the 700-odd steps for some great views. Standing at 154 metres above sea level, it's definitely one of the best places in the country to watch the sunrise. Read more

Insider tip: For a family-friendly sunrise lookout, head up Kaitī Hill in Tītīrangi Reserve. The reserve has an easy walking track and is accessible by car.
Stephen Heard, travel publishing coordinator

The sunrise view from East Cape is spectacular. LIZ CARLSON

The sunrise view from East Cape is spectacular. LIZ CARLSON

Rhythm & Vines is the largest music festival in the country. RHYTHM & VINES/SUPPLIED

Rhythm & Vines is the largest music festival in the country. RHYTHM & VINES/SUPPLIED

The best times to be in and around Gisborne

The Tairāwhiti Gisborne calendar is packed full of epic events worth planning a trip around, whether it be an iconic music festival, a multi-sport adventure race, or an entire celebration dedicated to chardonnay. Gisborne is also known as the first city in the world to see the sunrise, so be sure to factor at least one early start into your itinerary, just to say you’ve done it. Read more

The best free fun you can have in New Zealand

The Rere Rockslide is one of the country's coolest natural attractions. It's a giant 60-metre-long natural rock slide that attracts hundreds each day in the warmer months. To ride the slide, you need a tyre tube, bodyboard, yoga mat or something smooth — it's a rockslide after all, and you don't want to get caught by the odd little bump. Then just get on, and hold on. At the bottom, you'll hit a pond of water before heading back up to the top on a slippery walkway. Read more

SIGNIFICANT MĀORI SITES

Kaitī Hill (Tītīrangi Reserve)

In Tūranganui-a-Kiwa (Poverty Bay), Kaitī Hill holds history in the earth as the historic landing site where James Cook first set foot on New Zealand soil in 1769. It’s a dark history; fear and ignorance led to the death of Ngāti Oneone rangatira Te Maro and many other Māori here after Cook and his men invited themselves ashore. However, the bay is a special place in non-settler-based history too, as it’s believed to also be the landing place of the Horouta and Te Ikaroa-a-Rauru waka which first carried Māori to the region.

Wherowhero Lagoon

Across the bay at Muriwai, you can find the Wherowhero Lagoon which, according to traditional narratives, is where the ancestral Horouta waka lies. There’s also Young Nick's Head – so named by James Cook after his surgeon’s son, Nicholas Young, who first saw land in 1769. However, it is known to local iwi as Te Kurī-a-Pāoa, the dog of Pāoa, who captained the Horouta waka.

Te Waha o Rerekohu. SUPPLIED

Te Waha o Rerekohu. SUPPLIED

Te Waha o Rerekohu

Throughout the region there are also less obvious sites. Te Waha o Rerekohu is a sacred pōhutukawa tree in Te Araroa believed to be the oldest (more than 600 years) and largest in the world which stands in memorial to the local iwi’s famous tipuna, Rerekohu.

Whāngārā

With local legends in mind, journey further up the coast to Whāngārā, where it’s said Paikea arrived from Hawaiki on the back of a whale which turned to stone and can now be seen as the island of Whāngārā, immediately offshore. The area gained global fame in 2004 thanks to the Oscar-nominated film Whale Rider – and as a result, suffered from overtourism. Visitors can now access the beach, but aren't allowed to take the private road that leads to the famous village and marae without permission.

Anaura Bay

Further north is Anaura Bay, where a much more successful encounter occurred between Māori and Cook after the disastrous landing at Tūranganui-a-Kiwa. This time, rangatira in Anaura Bay met Cook on the water first and invited him ashore, allowing for a peaceful interaction including pōwhiri, waiata and shared kai.

Maunga Hikurangi. STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

Maunga Hikurangi. STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

Maunga Hikurangi

A trip to Gisborne isn’t complete without a visit to Maunga Hikurangi. The sacred maunga is believed to be the very first part of Te Ika-a-Māui to emerge when Māui fished it up. Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou operates the only guided tours up the maunga and, while there is a public walking track, permission should be sought before attempting an unguided trek. The tour is the way to go, as it provides iwi history and stories, and explains the nine carvings dedicated to Māui and his whānau.

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Hidden Gems

Hop aboard the country's coolest rail adventure, meet a pair of 'swimming labradors' and eat pizza in a dome cinema.

The best hot spring escape you've never heard of

Mōrere Hot Springs is a hidden gem found on the Pacific Coast Highway between Gisborne and Hawke's Bay. The pools are set in 364 hectares of rainforest and fed by ancient seawater bubbling up to the surface through a fault line. A beautiful 10-minute walk will see you arrive at a series of secluded hot pools. And you only need to pay $4 on top of the general entry price to secure your own private pool. Read more

Mōrere Hot Springs are tucked away in native rainforest. BROOK SABIN

Mōrere Hot Springs are tucked away in native rainforest. BROOK SABIN

New Zealand's amazing stingray encounter

In a small township just north of Gisborne there are a couple of Kiwi characters you need to meet. Pancake and Waffle are a pair of friendly stingrays and will give you big slobbery kisses and gentle hugs. Dive Tatapouri is like Gisborne's rustic version of Kelly Tarlton's, except you're out in the ocean rather than in a tank. You arrive at the dive centre to put on your waders and then head out on to the shallow reef, where the tame rays and kingfish are waiting to be fed. Read more

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A scenic rail adventure on four wheels

The Gisborne Rail Bike Adventure is an enchanting track that weaves through thick bush, traverses long tunnels and hugs the dramatic coastline. After years of planning and engineering, rail enthusiast Geoff Main had an idea to use a small portion of the mothballed line for tourism. Main's design sees two push bikes fused together with a steel chassis holding them on the line. All you need to do is pedal; there's no steering and it's almost impossible to fall off. The main route is a 32-kilometre round-trip, accessible for those who can ride a bike and have a moderate level of fitness. Read more

Insider tip: Soak up local culture and history on the self-guided Tūpapa Heritage Trail. The free app, narrated in both English and te reo Māori, follows landmarks and tells stories of tangata whenua.
Stephen Heard, travel publishing coordinator

Gisborne's Dome Cinema has comfortable bean bags for seats. BROOK SABIN

Gisborne's Dome Cinema has comfortable bean bags for seats. BROOK SABIN

Gisborne is the only place in New Zealand to offer a wild stingray feeding tour. BROOK SABIN

Gisborne is the only place in New Zealand to offer a wild stingray feeding tour. BROOK SABIN

Railbike rides range from one to four hours. BROOK SABIN

Railbike rides range from one to four hours. BROOK SABIN

SH35 sits right next to the Pacific Ocean. BROOK SABIN

SH35 sits right next to the Pacific Ocean. BROOK SABIN

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Gisborne's Dome Cinema has comfortable bean bags for seats. BROOK SABIN

Gisborne's Dome Cinema has comfortable bean bags for seats. BROOK SABIN

Gisborne is the only place in New Zealand to offer a wild stingray feeding tour. BROOK SABIN

Gisborne is the only place in New Zealand to offer a wild stingray feeding tour. BROOK SABIN

Railbike rides range from one to four hours. BROOK SABIN

Railbike rides range from one to four hours. BROOK SABIN

SH35 sits right next to the Pacific Ocean. BROOK SABIN

SH35 sits right next to the Pacific Ocean. BROOK SABIN

New Zealand's coolest cinema

Hidden in central Gisborne, in a grand colonial-style mansion, is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. It’s called the Dome Cinema. You enter to find a technicolour bar with an elaborate outdoor area full of fairy lights. Then, after a few pre-movie drinks or snacks you are ushered to one of the coolest cinemas in the country. You’ll find a series of enormous beanbags scattered around the room. During the intermission, attendants deliver hot pizza and ice cream to your beanbag – and then dim the lights to continue the movie while you gobble away. Read more

The Wa165 steam locomotive was built in 1897. BROOK SABIN

The Wa165 steam locomotive was built in 1897. BROOK SABIN

Ride the rails across Gisborne's runway

If you like trains, chances are you like planes – and Gisborne is the only place in the Southern Hemisphere where the two come together. The city is home to the Gisborne City Vintage Railway, where a train line passes across an active runway. The journey begins in central Gisborne, where you'll board a steam train built more than 120 years ago. You'll make your way through the suburbs before reaching the airport. Once the train has been approved, it chugs right across the main runway before steaming back through the countryside. Read more

THE BEST TAIRĀWHITI BEACHES

Wainui Beach

This surf beach is just a 10-minute drive from Gisborne. It’s long enough to ensure you never have to stretch out your towel within earshot of someone else’s and there are picnic spots aplenty. Opt for a spot beneath the trees in Lysnar Reserve if you’d prefer to keep out of the sun. The reserve is also home to the Wainui Surf Lifesaving Club, whose members patrol the beach in summer, making for safe wave jumping and swimming. The surf is consistent year-round, with left and right breaks and barrels aplenty. Hit up Okitu Store for some of the best ice creams in town.

Wainui Beach. SUPPLIED

Wainui Beach. SUPPLIED

Makorori Beach

Hugged by sun-baked hills, this long, golden sweep of sand is a favourite for swimming, surfing, picnicking, rock pool hunting, and sunrise and sunset strolls. At dawn, you’ll see surfers make the most of the consistent surf at the southern end of the beach, where you might also spot visiting seals in the winter months. With softer, smaller swells, the northern part of the beach is ideal for surfers in training — and swimmers who prefer medium wave action. It’s a great beach for families with plenty of picnic spots and rock pools, and the snorkelling isn’t bad either.

Pouawa

Four kilometres of golden sands fringe the Te Tapuwae o Rongokako marine reserve. At low tide, the deep channels and pools exposed in the reef are ideal for snorkelling. Down to about 10 metres in depth, you could encounter kina, marine snails, sponges, and fish. Peer into the crevices and overhangs and you could see hundreds of tiny crayfish depending on the time of year. Scuba divers who descend even further will find themselves swimming through extensive kelp forests. Dolphins, whales and fur seals are all regular visitors to the reserve too.

Makorori Beach. BROOK SABIN

Makorori Beach. BROOK SABIN

Cooks Cove (Ōpoutama)

Hike from Tolaga Bay Wharf to one of the loveliest coves on the East Cape. The 5.8km (2.5 hour) return walk will take you across farmland and through regenerating native forest to the cove where Captain Cook stopped to repair the Endeavour and get fresh supplies. Sheltered by the Mitre Rocks, the cove is a perfect place to while away a sunny afternoon. If your legs still have more in them, take the 10-minute walk to the Tātarahake Cliffs Lookout at the beach’s northern end for a photo opp.

Anaura Bay

Captain Cook called this pretty wee bay a “place of profound peace” when he made a pit stop there back in 1769. The description holds true to this day — except perhaps during the peak summer period when campers flock to the beachfront campsite. About a 90-minute drive north of Gisborne, the bay is one of the prettiest on the East Cape and a primo spot for a swim, surf or picnic. For a change of scenery, follow the 4.5km Anaura Bay Walkway to a ridge with panoramic views of the coast.

Tokomaru Bay

With an eight-kilometre white-sand surf beach surrounded by sun-bleached hills in summertime and a wharf that stretches for days, Tokomaru Bay is an ideal spot for a classic Kiwi summer holiday. Think swimming, surfing and horse riding at the beach, dive-bombing and fishing off the wharf, and fish and chips for tea. Lying just north of Anaura Bay, Toko (as locals call it) is doable in a day, but you’ll adjust to the uber-relaxed vibe better if you spend a night or few at one of the two campsites or in the converted post office.

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Eat & Drink

Hop between boutique wineries, eat doughnut burgers for breakfast and join the queue for iconic pāua pies.

Pāua pies worth the wait

While you'll pass dozens of empty beaches, quaint little communities and the easternmost point of New Zealand on State Highway 35 – one of your compulsory stops is Tokomaru Bay's Cafe 35. Here you'll find the Cape's iconic pāua pies. During the school holidays or long weekends, there will be queues – fresh batches are gone within minutes. You can even try loaded pāua fries. Read more

The Duke of Marlborough

If you're not a fan of seafood, Cafe 35's pork belly pies are also unmissable. BROOK SABIN

If you're not a fan of seafood, Cafe 35's pork belly pies are also unmissable. BROOK SABIN

The Chardonnay Express runs for three hours. STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

The Chardonnay Express runs for three hours. STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

Sip chardonnay on a steam train

It's no secret the east coast is big on chardonnay. But there's no better way to experience the local elixir than by travelling on a wine-fuelled steam train. As part of an annual two-day celebration of oak barrel-fermented and aged vino, The Chardonnay Express winds its way around the deep harbour through the countryside, pairing wine lovers with wine makers and their delicious Gisborne chardonnays. Read more

Three of Gisborne's best eateries

You're spoiled for choice when eating out in the heart of central Gisborne. At USSCO, award-winning chef Thomas Boyce plays with a broad range of fresh, local ingredients and flavours such as brioche-crusted tarakihi and spicy beef biryani. In Gizzy’s inner harbour, The Works makes great use of its historic brickwork venue to serve the likes of honey-glazed chicken meatballs and almond polenta cake. The central city's Flagship Eatery is where the cool kids hang out for the Melbourne-style vibes and fluffy pancakes. Read more

Lena Nepson of Ōmāio Store, which sells coffee and some of the best sausage rolls on the coast. KIM WEBBY

Lena Nepson of Ōmāio Store, which sells coffee and some of the best sausage rolls on the coast. KIM WEBBY

Foodie stops between Ōpōtiki and Gisborne

​From classic fish and chips to oven-baked pizza, there's plenty to pack in on your SH35 roadie. With freshly painted outdoor tables, Ōmāio Store is the perfect place to join the locals for a ‘Jawbreaker’ burger stuffed with two meat patties, two layers of cheese and home-made mayo. The beach store also sells coffee and some of the best sausage rolls on the coast — and if you catch your own fish, they'll batter and cook your fillets. At the foot of Tolaga Wharf is Broad Bills where you can wash your pizza down with a blueberry smoothie made with berries from local iwi. Read more

Doughnut burgers for breakfast

The doughnuts from GEM (Green Eye Māori) are some of the best you’ll try on home soil. One of chef Tihema Johnson's more popular is a fluffy Rarotongan-style doughnut packed with Caramilk ganache. If you have an appetite, don't miss GEM’s breakfast burger doughnut. It’s an unsweetened fluffy doughnut filled with creamy mushrooms, cheese, hashbrown, bacon and a gooey fried egg. Read more

Have breakfast at the beach at Tatapouri Bay’s café. BROOK SABIN

Have breakfast at the beach at Tatapouri Bay’s café. BROOK SABIN

NZ’s most underrated foodie region

Gisborne has no shortage of spectacular scenery, but the gastronomy scene is often assumed to be a little neglected. Take a deep dive with your taste buds, and you'll be thoroughly surprised. The Dome Cinema is a place of childhood dreams where you can gobble pizza while watching a movie, while Curbside Kitchen is known for decadent sweet treats. Elsewhere around town, Far East Coffee Co is where those in the know sip the best coffee in town, and seaside settlement Wainui has Bali-style vegan eatery, Zephyr. Read more

The first beer to see the sun

Founded in 1989, the Sunshine Brewing crew reckon they’re the second oldest craft brewery in the country. The brewery's signature award-winning drop is the Gisborne Gold Lager (aka Gizzie Gold), a staple at the brewery since the nineties. Visit the taproom a couple of blocks back from Waikanae Beach and you can watch the brewers do their thing while you sample their creations. With pizzas also on offer, it makes for a pretty sweet afternoon out. Read more

Insider tip: If you're staying in the heart of the city, pay a visit to the Gisborne Wine Centre, which stocks local wines at cellar door prices.
Stephen Heard, travel publishing coordinator

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FIVE OF THE BEST CELLAR DOORS

Millton Vineyards

Annie and James Millton are often considered to be the mother and father of sustainable winemaking practices in New Zealand, using biodynamic principles to work with the land and produce drinkable riesling and chenin blanc. Their Manutuke-based cellar door is open Monday to Friday for groups of four and under, serving as a destination where visitors can taste a line-up of different wines from the organic estate.

Bushmere Estate. SUPPLIED

Bushmere Estate. SUPPLIED

Bushmere Estate

David and Shona Egan’s Bushmere Estate is set on 17 hectares in the Central Valley region of Gisborne. The vineyard grows mainly the region's famed chardonnay grapes. Tastings with the winemaking couple are available at the cellar door between September and May, Wednesday to Sunday, while the adjacent Vines Restaurant is operational all year round for wine flights and an à la carte menu.

Bridge Estate Vineyard

For those who would prefer to stay put in one place, this beautiful cellar door rounds up some of the best drops from within a 5-10km radius. Bridge Estate is found in a 120-year-old building right by the Waipaoa Bridge. Here, varietals from the surrounding Ashwood, Spade Oak, TW, HiHi and Stonebridge vineyards are on offer, as well as a wide range of bubbles and craft beer.

Matawhero Wines. SUPPLIED

Matawhero Wines. SUPPLIED

Matawhero Wines

Husband-and-wife team Kirsten and Richard Searle and winemaker/business partner Kim Crawford produce distinctive aromatic wine styles. Only ten minutes’ drive south of Gisborne on SH2, the rustic Matawhero cellar door is the oldest in the region and open year-round, though booking ahead in the summer months is highly recommended. Sample the winery’s acclaimed drops like chardonnay, gewürztraminer, chenin blanc and albariño between vines and under olive trees.

Wrights Vineyard and Winery

The juice from some of the country's oldest gewürztraminer, syrah and chardonnay plantings can be sampled at this Manutuke winery. For $30, wine lovers can wrap their palate around all of the above, plus other grape varieties from the 2020 vintage, in a winery tour and tasting with the winemakers. After the 45-minute tour, there's plenty of room to sit down with your favourite drop alongside a gourmet pizza or platter from the kitchen.

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Stay

Sleep in a luxury cabin between the vines, watch the sunrise from beachfront pods and go off-grid at a glampsite with its own lake.

A luxury glamping escape

Manutuke Eco Retreat is set on a huge farm, overlooking its own lake, just 15 minutes outside of Gisborne. The off-grid camp can fit up to four adults in two lavishly appointed tents. There's even your own jetty, where you can go kayaking and paddleboarding. Take a mountain bike and explore the hills around the lake, where you'll find giant hammocks dotted around. The biggest is more than 20 feet long on a hill overlooking the city and beaches, where you can be the first on the mainland to watch the sunrise. Read more

The Tolaga Bay Wharf was opened in 1929. BROOK SABIN

The Tolaga Bay Wharf was opened in 1929. BROOK SABIN

Freedom camping with a million-dollar view

As well as playing host to the longest concrete wharf in the Southern Hemisphere, Tolaga Bay features a stunning freedom camping spot for the budget conscious. Blue Waters offers space for campers between October and April only a short skip from the beach. The grassy site at the northern end of the bay, is a short drive to local attractions including the Cooks Cove Walkway. Campers can stay for three nights and must hold a permit. Read more

Adults-only pods right by the water

At Gisborne’s new luxury beachfront cabins you can watch the sun lift out of the ocean without so much as lifting your head. Tatapouri Bay, which started life as a traditional campground has been completely reinvigorated with glamping tents and a waterfront café. The Zen Cabins sit just a few metres from the beach, with the bed facing a large glass window ready for sunrise viewing. They’re also impressively decked-out, with a compact kitchen and modern bathroom. Read more

Insider tip: Stays in Tatapouri Bay's Zen Cabins include a free booking in the camp’s hot tub and sauna.
Brook Sabin, travel reporter

Cedar House has four king-size guest rooms. STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

Cedar House has four king-size guest rooms. STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

A luxe bed and breakfast in the heart of the city

Cedar House is a bed and breakfast in a historic character home, only a few minutes’ walk from downtown Gisborne and the weekly farmers’ market. The house has four king-size guest rooms, while continental breakfast is served in the dining room downstairs. Touches inside the house include a beautiful stained-glass window designed by local artist Tony Ogle featuring local landmarks. A saltwater plunge pool and gym complete the luxe facilities. Read more

A romantic escape for wine lovers

There is no better way to appreciate the local drops than by staying amongst the vines, and you can now do that at one of the city’s newest escapes. Boutique winery Matawhero is home to two luxury cabins right next to its cellar door. The cabins are what you'd call "compact luxury" and come with all the mod cons for a comfortable stay. There's a well-appointed bathroom connected to the main bedroom and an outdoor seating area – the perfect place to enjoy your complimentary bottle of wine included in each stay. Read more

Tatapouri Bay's pods sits right by the beach. BROOK SABIN

Tatapouri Bay's pods sits right by the beach. BROOK SABIN

Wake up with the sun at Zen Cabins. BROOK SABIN

Wake up with the sun at Zen Cabins. BROOK SABIN

Matawhero has its own luxury cabins between the vines. BROOK SABIN

Matawhero has its own luxury cabins between the vines. BROOK SABIN

You'll find hidden hammocks around the Manutuke Eco Retreat. BROOK SABIN

You'll find hidden hammocks around the Manutuke Eco Retreat. BROOK SABIN

Cedar House is a bed and breakfast in a historic character home. STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

Cedar House is a bed and breakfast in a historic character home. STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

Manutuke Eco Retreat comes complete with its own lake. BROOK SABIN

Manutuke Eco Retreat comes complete with its own lake. BROOK SABIN

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Tatapouri Bay's pods sits right by the beach. BROOK SABIN

Tatapouri Bay's pods sits right by the beach. BROOK SABIN

Wake up with the sun at Zen Cabins. BROOK SABIN

Wake up with the sun at Zen Cabins. BROOK SABIN

Matawhero has its own luxury cabins between the vines. BROOK SABIN

Matawhero has its own luxury cabins between the vines. BROOK SABIN

You'll find hidden hammocks around the Manutuke Eco Retreat. BROOK SABIN

You'll find hidden hammocks around the Manutuke Eco Retreat. BROOK SABIN

Cedar House is a bed and breakfast in a historic character home. STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

Cedar House is a bed and breakfast in a historic character home. STRIKE PHOTOGRAPHY

Manutuke Eco Retreat comes complete with its own lake. BROOK SABIN

Manutuke Eco Retreat comes complete with its own lake. BROOK SABIN

Sponsored Picks 

Pack your bag for a summer road trip along State Highway 35

Watch the sunrise at the East Cape lighthouse. SUPPLIED

In an eastern corner of Te Ika-a-Māui lies a special stretch of coastline. The east coast is where you’ll find the real New Zealand: magical sunrises, spiritual encounters, and a strong connection to living Māori culture.

Get ready for a journey through the Land of the First Light along State Highway 35.

In Tairāwhiti, surfing is more than just a leisure activity; it’s a lifestyle. SUPPLIED

Watch the sunrise at the East Cape lighthouse. SUPPLIED

Watch the sunrise at the East Cape lighthouse. SUPPLIED

In Tairāwhiti, surfing is more than just a leisure activity; it’s a lifestyle. SUPPLIED

In Tairāwhiti, surfing is more than just a leisure activity; it’s a lifestyle. SUPPLIED

Visuals: Brook Sabin

Words: Brook Sabin, Stephen Heard, Siobhan Downes, Lorna Thornber, Alan Granville, Pamela Wade, Sharon Stephenson, Kim Webby, Siena Yates

Editors: Trupti Biradar, Stephen Heard


Stuff Travel's Go To Guides are created in partnership with Tourism New Zealand