Gisborne Region of New Zealand

Welcome to the sunny region of Gisborne, the eastern-most region of New Zealand and the first place in the world to see the sunrise! There is a lot to do and see while exploring the Gisborne region, from enjoying the cafes and restaurants in Gisborne city, to hitting the waves at one of the famous surf beaches along the coast. This region is filled with natural beauty and cultural heritage, all mixed in with some proper kiwi hospitality!

Infographic showing the most popular destinations in the gisborne region of New Zealand

An Overview of the Gisborne Region of New Zealand

Gisborne Location:Eastern-most region of the North Island of New Zealand, facing the Pacific Ocean
Bordering Regions:Hawke’s Bay to the south and the Bay of Plenty to the west!
Region Size (km2):8,385.29
Population:52,600 (June 2023)
Main Cities and Towns:Gisborne, Tolaga Bay, Ruatoria, Te Araroa, Tokomaru Bay
Most Popular Tourist Destinations:Cook Landing Site Historic Reserve
East Cape Lighthouse
Rere Falls and Rockslide
Te Urewera National Park

Highlights of the Gisborne Region of New Zealand

Places to Visit in Gisborne

Gisborne City

Gisborne city Gisborne Region of New Zealand

Gisborne is the largest city in the Gisborne District and is found along the stunning east coast of the North Island. It is known for its sunny climate, rich Maori culture, and excellent surf beaches – including Wainui and Makorori Beach. It is also the first city in the world to see the sunrise, which is pretty incredible!

There are many things to do and see in Gisborne! You can visit the historic Cook Landing Site or the Tairawhiti Museum, explore the beautiful Titirangi Reserve, or relax and enjoy the stunning coastline with a glass of locally produced wine.

Wainui Beach

Wainui Beach Gisborne Region of New Zealand

The Gisborne District is known to be a surfer’s paradise, and boasts some of the best surf beaches in New Zealand! Wainui Beach is one of the most popular beaches and is only a short drive from the heart of Gisborne. This beach has a lovely community vibe, with a store and cafe, and is a must-see destination in the Gisborne District!

Makorori Beach

Makorori Beach Gisborne Region of New Zealand

Makorori Beach is a pristine and picturesque beach, found just north of Wainui Beach. It has a long stretch of golden sand and clear water, and is surrounded by forest and coastal bush. Makorori Beach is a great place to watch the sunrise, catch some world-famous surf, or stroll along the nature reserve.

Eastwoodhill National Arboretum

Eastwoodhill Arboretum Gisborne Region of New Zealand

Eastwoodhill National Arboretum is the national arboretum of New Zealand, and covers over 130 hectares of exotic and native trees, shrubs, and climber plants! It was founded in 1910 by William Douglas Cook, who planted over 25,000 species from around the world. Eastwoodhill has been internationally recognised for its immense and diverse collection of trees, as well as its homestead garden, and is an excellent place to visit if you are looking for a scenic walk or cycling track!

Rere Rock Slide and Falls

One of the most popular (and exhilarating) attractions in Gisborne is the thrilling Rere Rock Slide! This natural rock slide is over 60-meters long, and was formed by the river water rushing over the rock – creating the ultimate water slide!

A short drive from the Rockslide are the beautiful Rere Falls, which offer a scenic spot to swim and have a picnic in the sun.

East Cape

East Cape is the easternmost point of the North Island, and one of the most remote and untouched areas of New Zealand. It is a place of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and friendly locals! You can drive along the scenic State Highway 35 north from Gisborne, which follows the coastline and passes through many small towns and villages along the way.

East Cape Lighthouse

East Cape Lighthouse Gisborne Region of New Zealand

East Cape Lighthouse is a lighthouse situated on Otiki Hill above East Cape – and marks the easternmost point on the North Island! The lighthouse is accessible by foot from the carpark at the end of East Cape Road, and offers incredible panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean and East Island.

Tologa Bay

Tologa Bay Gisborne Region of New Zealand

Tologa Bay is a town and bay on the east coast of the North Island, about 55 km north of Gisborne. It is known for its historic wharf, which opened in 1929 and is the longest wharf in New Zealand! The wharf is a popular spot for fishing and walking, and offers amazing views of the bay and the surrounding hills.

Tokomaru Bay

Tokomaru Bay Gisborne Region of New Zealand

Tokomaru Bay is a small coastal community and bay on the east coast of the North Island, about 90 km north of Gisborne. The bay has a long and sandy beach, ideal for swimming, surfing, and fishing! You can also visit the historic Te Puka Tavern, the old freezing works, or the old post office. 

Gisborne Wineries

Gisborne wineries are some of the best in New Zealand, producing high-quality wines with distinctive flavours and aromas. Gisborne is the unofficial ‘Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand’, as well as a leading producer of other varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Gris! You can visit some of the wineries in Gisborne, such as Bushmere Estate, Matawhero Wines, or Poverty Bay Wine Estates, and enjoy a wine tour and tastings!

Gisborne Region Weather

Infographic on the Weather in Gisborne through the seasons

Airports in the Gisborne Region

Gisborne Airport

Gisborne Airport is the only regional airport in the Gisborne Region, making it the best place to fly if you want to explore this area! This airport offers flights to the major cities of Auckland and Wellington by Air New Zealand, and to Napier and Tauranga by Sunair.

Ruatoria Aerodrome

Ruatoria Aerodrome is a small aerodrome located in Ruatoria, about 130 km north of Gisborne. It has three grass runways suitable for light aircraft, and is operated by Air Ruatoria, a local charter service that offers scenic flights and tours to the East Cape and Hikurangi!