Gisborne City Guide

Famous as New Zealand's Chardonnay Capital, Gisborne has a strong Maori heritage, some wonderful cafes and restaurants, beautiful surf beaches and award-winning wineries. Historic Gisborne has two more claims to fame - as the first city in the world to see the sunrise, and the place where Captain Cook made his first landfall in New Zealand in 1769. Head up Cooks Landing for views over Poverty Bay and Waikanae Beach. Dine at Gisborne's marina, where there's a clutch of good eateries with al fresco seating and harbour views and walk off your lunch afterwards along one of Gisborne's riverside tracks.

Adventure seekers can choose from jetboating, deep-sea fishing, diving, surfing, river adventures, horse trekking and even hunting in the hills. Gisborne is handy to Urewera National Park, the North Island's largest stretch of untouched native forest, and to Mahia Peninsula, famed for surfing, fishing and diving. Whitewater rafting is available on the Motu and Mahaka Rivers, or drive up the stunning East Coast  and around East Cape, and visit some of the remote beaches and tiny Maori communities that Eastland its unique character.

Get Your Bearings

Head to Titirangi Domain (Kaiti Hill) for views of the city and region. Gladstone Road runs through the city and leads to Inner Harbour where you'll find places to eat and relax, plus the local fishing club.

Things To Do

  • Wineries
    Gisborne is world-famous for its award-winning wines, and a tour of the Gisborne wineries is a popular option. Local vineyards include Montana Wines (Lytton Rd), Matawhero Wines (Riverpoint Rd), Longbush Wines (the Esplanade) and Millton Estate Vineyard (Manutuke). The Visitor Information Centre can supply details.
  • Te Tairawhiti Museum
    Gisborne's museum features Maori and European artefacts, an extensive photographic collection and local, national and international artworks.
  • Gisborne Botanical Garden
    A 4ha park offering rare trees, ponds, rose and cactus collections, an aviary and children's playground.
  • Te Poho-O-Rawiri Marae
    This Gisborne marae, dating from 1930, is one of the largest carved meeting houses in New Zealand. A superb interior features woven panels and ornate carvings. Close by is the picturesque Toko Toru Tapu Church.
  • Cooks Landing Site Historic Reserve
    The first European landing place by Captain James Cook in 1769. A roadway winds up Kaiti Hill to an observatory, with a statue of Cook nearby. There are fine views of the harbour, westwards to Waikanae Beach and southwards to Young Nick's Head.
  • Wyllie Cottage
    Gisborne's oldest house built in 1872. The six-room cottage is furnished in the early colonial style.
  • Toihoukura Art Gallery
    An art gallery attached to Tairawhiti Polytechnic's art and design school, specialising in Maori art.
  • East Coast Museum of Technology
    A display of vintage farm machinery, home and office equipment and fire engines.
  • Matawhero Historic Church
    Located 6 kilometres west of Gisborne is Poverty Bay's oldest building, originally built in the mid-1860s as a schoolroom.
  • Eastwood Hill Arboretum
    Some 35km from the city, Eastwoodhill has the most extensive collection of mature Northern Hemisphere trees in the country.


Gisborne is fast becoming established as an adventure centre, with a range of activities to suit every level of ability. Its coastal location presents boating, fishing and diving opportunities, while the hinterland offers everything from farm-stays and horse trekking to jetboating on the Motu and Mohaka rivers.

Air-Based Tours

  • Ashworth Helicopters
    Operating out of Gisborne and Wairoa airports and offering scenic flights, hunting and fishing safaris.
  • Faram Helicopters
    Offering hunting, fishing and rafting adventures, as well as picnics, sightseeing and wine tours.
Land-Based Tours

  • Ao Marama - First Light Tours 
    Tours of the East Coast and Mount Hikurangi. Options include marae visits and Gisborne city highlights, garden, farm and wine tours.
  • Horse trekking
    A popular pursuit is horse trekking in Hicks Bay Beach, hill and river rides.
  • Tangihau Station
    Half-day farm tours to three-day farmstays on one of the East Coast's biggest high-country stations. Deer hunting, four-wheel drive farm tours, horse riding and shearing are among the activities available.
  • Waikawa Horse Adventures
    Horse trekking along Waipiro Bay beaches.
  • Waikoko Country Walks & Farmstay
    Guided two-day, three-night cross-country walks across farmland to Eastwoodhill Arboretum.
  • Waimoana Horse Treks
    Offering treks through beach, farmland and native bush and providing coastal and country views.
Water-Based Tours

  • Motu River Jet
    An exciting way to explore the upper reaches of this waterway.
  • Motu River Expeditions
    One to four-day tours whitewater rafting the Motu River. This Whakatane based company offers helicopter, 4x4 and jetboat options.
  • Pacific Invader Charters
    Fishing, diving and sightseeing tours.
  • Surfit Shark Cage Experience & Fishing Charters
    Get face to face with mako sharks from the safety of a submerged cage. Fishing and diving also offered.
  • Tolaga Bay East Cape Fishing and Diving Charters
    Guided fishing and diving tours around Gisborne and the East Cape.
  • Trout fishing with David Dods
    Day and multi-day trout fishing trips, with options for saltwater fly fishing.
  • Wet n Wild Rafting Company
    Rafting trips on the Motu and Mohaka Rivers.

Gardens & Parks

Clement weather (an average of 2200 sunshine hours a year!) and rich soils have established Gisborne as a destination city for parks and gardens. The hinterland grows such diverse crops as kiwifruit and maize, citrus and subtropical fruits in its rich soils.

Popular Parks and Gardens:
  • Botanical Gardens
    A 4 hectare park featuring trees, ponds, rose and cactus collections, an aviary and children's playground.
  • Eastwoodhill Arboretum
    Home to New Zealand's largest collection of Northern Hemisphere trees, shrubs and climbers.
  • Gisborne Rose Garden
    Displays of hundreds of rose varieties.
  • Glenroy Garden & Crafts
    A hillside garden showcasing proteaceae, roses and perennials with a water feature, and a woodturning and garden crafts outlet.
  • Hackfall's Arboretum
    A collection of trees planted around lakes on a sheep and cattle station. Rare plants include Mexican oaks, maples, magnolias and alpines, as well as native shrubs and herbaceous plants.
  • Heipipi Endeavour Park
    The site of the ornately carved canoe prow Te Tauihu Turanga Whakamana.
  • Panikau Garden and Park
    Landscaped in 1918, this hillside country garden has rock walls, a stone pergola and 80-year-old trees.
  • Titirangi Domain, Kaiti Hill
    Native trees plantings on a domain that also offers views over the city and region. Walkways, picnic areas and fitness stations also available.

Wineries & Breweries

The country's largest grape growing region, Gisborne is famous as the chardonnay capital of New Zealand. White wines dominate but there has been success with merlot and pinot noir varieties. Most local vineyards offer tastings and tours by arrangement, and some have restaurants and picnic facilities on site.

  • Amor-Bendall Wines
    24 Moana Road, Wainui Beach
    This beachside vineyard produces pinto gris, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, rose, cabernet franc and gewürztraminer. Cellar door sales are available 7 days from 8am to 6pm, phone 06 868 0928.
  • Brunton Road 
    44 Brunton Road, Patutahi
    These single vineyard wines are predominantly made in the vineyard and include chardonnay, merlot, viognier, pinot gris and gewürztraminer. 
  • Bushmere Estate 
    166 Main Road, SH2 Matawhero
    A 17 hectare vineyard producing mainly chardonnay, along with gewürztraminer, viognier, rose and merlot. Tastings and function facilities available.
  • Hihi Wines
    53 Bond Road, Ormond, RD 1
    An award-winning boutique winery based in Ormond producing chardonnay, gewürztraminer, viognier, rose, pinotage, malbec and merlot malbec wines. Tastings are available at the vineyard or at the Gisborne Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings.
  • Kirkpatrick Estate
    569 Wharekopae Rd, RD2
    This award-winning vineyard on the Patutahi plateau produces merlot, chardonnay, malbec, gewürztraminer and cabernet sauvignon. Visitors are welcome at the cellar door (daily in summer, winter by appointment) for tastings, tours and anti-pasto platters.
  • Longbush Wines
    This vineyard produces largley chardonnay and merlot. Tastings are available at the Wharf Cafe, 60 The Esplanade, in the centre of Gisborne City.
  • The Millton Vineyard
    119 Papatu Road, Manutuke
    This award-winning fully-certified organic vineyard specialises in riesling, chenin blanc and late harvest dessert wines. Visitors can enjoy the garden vineyard with BYO picnic area. The cellar door is open Monday to Saturday, and tutored wine tastings are available by appointment.
  • TW Wines 
    Back Ormond Road, RD1
    A 30ha vineyard offering a selection of award-winning wines including chardonnay, semillon, merlot, malbec and viognier. Tours and tastings are available by arrangement.
  • Wrights Vineyards 
    202 Wainui Road
    A certified organic vineyard producing gewurztraminer, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, methode traditionelle, merlot and syrah, and a small amount of late harvest semillon. Wine tastings are offered by appointment.
Breweries and Cideries:
  • Sunshine Brewery
    109 Disraeli Street, Gisborne
    A micro-brewery and shop producing a range of award-winning, fresh and unpasteurised all-malt beers. Tours by appointment.
  • Bulmer Harvest Cidery
    91 Customhouse Street, Gisborne
    An award-winning range of cider and mead liqueurs. Cidery tours, free tastings and cellar door sales are available.

Business Services

Business Overview
Wine has a high profile, particularly chardonnay. Gisborne is a major service centre for the rich flat lands surrounding it, on which wool, mutton, lamb, pork and beef are produced, as well as maize, kiwifruit, citrus and exotic fruits. Pinus radiata forests have been planted throughout the region. There is shipping and local fishing at the port.

Meeting Options
Gisborne Cosmopolitan Club has theatre seating for up to 500, there are smaller meeting facilities at city hotels, and exclusive board meeting and corporate retreat possibilities at lodges close to town. In the last five years, several new facilities have opened in Gisborne, including a conference centre with seating for up to 1000.

Airport Location
3km from city, and 8min by taxi.

To see why Gisborne is a top spot for your next business function check out
Meet In Gisborne.