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10 Awesome Things to Do in Gisborne

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What to Do in Gisborne

Get off the beaten track and relax in the stunning seaside city of Gisborne. The city is renowned for its significant historical sites, for being the third-largest wine region in New Zealand, and being a frankly epic surf spot. Whether you’re into food, culture or adventure, there’s something for you here in Tairawhiti/Gisborne. Find out what in this list of things to do in Gisborne!

While you’re in the region, don’t miss our Eastland Road Trip Itinerary: Gisborne to Opotiki and 11 Free and Cheap Things to Do in Gisborne.

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1. Meet the Stingrays at Dive Tatapouri

At low tide, join the team from Dive Tatapouri for a reef ecology tour. You’ll be kitted up in waders and lead out on to a shallow reef to feed the local residents: giant short-tail stingray, majestic eagle ray and the mischievous kingfish. Learn all about these beautiful creatures on this interactive tour just outside of Gisborne.

Location: 532 Whangara Road
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2. Visit the Eastwoodhill Arboretum

Be transported to forests from all over the world at the Eastwoodhill Arboretum. This collection of native and exotic trees covers a whopping 131 hectares making for an excellent place to immerse yourself in nature just outside of Gisborne. There are over 25km of walking trails to explore and more than 40 bird species to be seen across the plantation.

Location: 2392 Wharekopae Road
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3. GO surfing

Surfing in Gisborne couldn’t be easier with two fantastic surf beaches accessible from town. Waikanae Beach at the end of Roberts Road is a popular spot for beginners and surf lessons, while intermediates might want to try Gizzy Pipe located just in front of the surf club. Those looking for more of an adventure, check out the breaks at Sponge Bay, The Island (for advanced surfers only), Wainui Beach and Makorori Beach.

Location: In and around Gisborne
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4. Visit the Gisborne Farmers’ Market

Who doesn’t love a classic New Zealand farmers’ market?! If you haven’t had a chance to discover one for yourself yet, then make your first one the Gisborne Farmers’ Market! Try local fruit, vegetables, cheese, wines and bread, as well as other artisan products. When you’re done browsing all of the goodies, relax with a coffee while listening to live music. The Gisborne Farmers’ Market is on every Saturday 9.30am-12.30pm.

Location: Army Hall Carpark, corner of Fitzherbert and Stout Street
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5. Hop on a WA165 Steam Train

If you’re lucky enough to be in Gisborne during a summer or holiday weekend then you’ll get the chance to ride a WA165 steam locomotive through the city and countryside of Gisborne. Highlights of the trip include travelling straight across an airport runway and over a 329m bridge. Pick up your tickets to the Gisborne City Vintage Railway from the Gisborne i-SITE.

Location: Gisborne Railway Station
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6. Learn about the local region and culture at the Tairawhiti Museum

A great place to start when visiting any new town in New Zealand is the local museum. The Tairawhiti Museum located along the riverside has a wealth of exhibitions, telling tales of the local Maori through historic artefacts to how the early settlers used to live through the restored Wyllie House. The wheelhouse of what was once a shipwreck is another highlight to see and now overlooks the Taruheru River.

Location: Stout Street
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7. Explore Gisborne by bike

Hire a bike from the Gisborne i-SITE or Cycle Gisborne and explore the town on two wheels. The bike-friendly footpaths alongside the rivers and waterfront of Gisborne make it a great place to get on your bike and see the city highlights quickly. Plus, it’s one of the very few cities in New Zealand that’s almost entirely flat!

Location: Gisborne i-SITE, 209 Grey Street
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8. Try the local wines

Gisborne is the third largest wine region in New Zealand so don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in fine wines and artisan food at some of the many cellar doors. The region is famous for its Chardonnay, but it also produces Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Merlot and more. Find out more about each winery in our 7 Best Breweries & Wineries in Gisborne.

Location: All around Gisborne
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9. Go for a walk

Discover photo-worthy viewpoints, native bush, coastal walkways and historical sites along the many walkways in and around Gisborne. Enjoy an easy stroll along the boarded Town Beach Walkway, spot native birds in the Gray’s Bush Scenic Reserve, and capture magnificent views from the Te Kuri Farm Walkway. Get more details on each of these walks and more in our 10 Gisborne Walks You Can’t Miss.

Location: In and around Gisborne
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10. Play mini golf – Gisborne style!

If you’re only going to do one mini golf course in New Zealand, make it the fun and characterful Gisborne i-SITE Mini Golf! With each hole, you’ll take a whirlwind tour around the East Coast of New Zealand, from the surf waves of Gisborne to the East Cape Lighthouse. There are 18 holes in total and it’s fun for all ages.

Location: Gisborne i-SITE, 209 Grey Street
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