The easternmost city in the world is definitely a marvel in and of itself. For the serious travelers though, there is much more to be done as well. From grand views to exhilarating excursions, Gisborne has a lot to do. Read on to discover the best activities to do and places to visit in the region.
1. East Cape Lighthouse
When you visit the East Cape Lighthouse, which is accessible by foot, you are at the easternmost part of the easternmost city of the earth. It is best to come here at dawn or dusk to enjoy the first sunrise or sunset of the day to be seen by land. Although the lighthouse isn’t open to the public, the peaceful view itself is well worth the hike up the steep steps and will surely give you a sense of satisfying accomplishment!
2. Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery
One of the most renowned museums of New Zealand, the Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery is a definite item to add to your checklist when visiting Gisborne. Named after the Maori tribe that once resided in the area, this museum not only showcases a wide range of artifacts and art pieces that reveal the rich culture of the Tairawhiti but also hosts many Maori cultural festivals to help you reach into and interact with the history of the area. Visit any day of the week for the regular exhibit, or visit the website for information on any upcoming events.
3. Dive Tatapouri
If a seaside thrill is what you want, then definitely check out Dive Tatapouri! Get a tour of the marine life and the reef to learn about the local culture, or get even closer with the marine life by going snorkeling. You can even enjoy other activities like surfing or fishing, and the grand Rere Rockslide is a must for nature loving adventurers!
4. East Coast Museum of Tech
This non-profit museum was started in the late 1960s when a group of technology enthusiasts got together to showcase their love for technological items as a part of the Captain Cook celebrations that annually take place in October. The group was then offered a barn at the back of a museum in Gisborne to house their artifacts for curious visitors. Almost half a century later, and now the artifacts have expanded into a property of their own, managed by volunteers just like you and me! The museum not only has a great regular display but also houses many clubs and events, including “live days” when all of the technological artifacts are up and running for you to use.
5. Titirangi Domain
When you see any scenic photograph of Gisborne, chances are that it was probably taken from the Titirangi Domain. You can visit the top of this hill by hiking or simply driving to the top. When you get there, you’ll get a beautiful, unobstructed view of the mountainous region encircling the city center and the bay. Sit and enjoy a peaceful picnic or look around at the many landmarks. You’ll find a statue of James Cook alongside the observatory, as well as a Pohutukawa tree planted by Lady Diana in 1983.
6. Wainui Beach
This four-kilometer (2.5-mile) stretch is the easternmost piece of land on earth. Many people live here, but you can visit the W.D. Lysnar Reserve which is open to the public. The beach, known for its natural beauty and easy accessibility, is protected against erosion by an intricate dune system. It also houses the Whales Grave, which commemorates the stranding and burial of 59 sperm whales in 1970. The facilities provided by the reserve include car parking, picnic spots, walking tracks, specific areas for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, horseriding, and much more!
7. Tikitiki War Memorial
Along with St. Mary’s Church, the Tikitiki War Memorial is a must-see if you want more insight into the Maori culture of Gisborne. Unveiled on February 16, 1926, this marble memorial depicts a Maori soldier to commemorate and thank all of the Maori men that served in the First World War. Similarly built in memory of the Maori Soldiers in World War I, St. Mary’s Church in Tikitiki greatly showcases the rich Maori culture. You can admire the stained glass art depicting Maori soldiers yourself, get a tour guide or simply ask a local to explain further the history of the church and memorial.
8. Gray’s Bush Scenic Reserve Walks
If you’ve seen all of the culture and landmarks of Gisborne, you’ve still got a lot of wildlife left to check out. Walk through this Kahikatea filled forest, taking either the long route (about 40 to 60 minutes) or the shorter one for wheelchairs and buggies (15 to 20 minutes). Enjoy the unique vegetation and wildlife surrounding you, indigenous only to this part of New Zealand.
Gisborne has plenty to offer
So whether you explore the historical culture or the wilderness, whether you’re a thrill seeker or a relaxed, curious soul, Gisborne definitely has a lot to offer you.