Guide12 hours Gisborne
Fill your day getting amongst the finest places to eat, drink and shop in Tairāwhiti Gisborne.
Your guide to the best things to do in Gisborne
You’ll find Tairāwhiti Gisborne on the north east coast of New Zealand’s North Island (aka ‘Eastland’). One of the country’s smallest cities, ‘Gizzy’ is famed for being the first place in the world to see the sun rise. Enjoy long, laid-back days in a city well known for its food, wine and boutique wineries (it is the unofficial chardonnay capital of New Zealand, after all), as well as its quiet surf beaches.
Whilst we at Neat Places are fans of low-energy indoor activities like eating, drinking and shopping, Gisborne does offers some epic things to do outdoors that are worth having a go at, from surfing and rock-sliding, to hand-feeding stingrays and cycling the Tairāwhiti Trails. A visit to the national arboretum to discover one of the best tree collections in the Southern Hemisphere is a must. Gisborne is also an essential place to visit if you have an interest in Māori culture and history.
Manutuke Eco Retreat
322 Waingake Road, Manutuke
Wake up early at this beautiful wetland and lakeside eco retreat to catch the sunrise. The self-catered Manutuke Eco Retreat is located 15 minutes from Gisborne. Its twin safari-style tent is solar powered and is interconnected with decks and boardwalks so you can immerse yourself in the wetland surrounds. The tents sleep four and are spacious, stylishly decorated and warm.
8am: Coffee at Far East Coffee Co
5/67 Awapuni Road, Gisborne
Once you’ve risen early to see the sun before anyone else in the world, make your way to Far East Coffee Co for your first coffee of the day. At Far East they roast their own fair-trade organic coffee which is served alongside vegetarian and vegan cabinet food. Set up by Jo Pepuere and Steve King in 2014, the community-focused Far East is an excellent example of some of the best coffee you’ll find in the world’s most eastern city. They were Gisborne’s first official Living Wage employer too.
9am: Breakfast at Flagship Eatery
14 Childers Road, Gisborne
Breakfast at Flagship Eatery is served all day, so if you happen to oversleep then that’s okay. A very popular Gisborne café, you may need to wait a while to get a table as there is no option to book ahead. They serve classic breakfast dishes with a tasty twist. Expect to see house-made granola, eggs benedict and cajun lemon tofu scramble on the menu. After 11am the steamed bao buns are rolled out alongside the ever-popular Flagship burger with a 180-gram beef patty.
10.30am: Book shopping at Muirs
62 Gladstone Road, Gisborne
Muirs Bookshop (founded in 1905!) is the city’s independent bookstore, and a true treasure trove for print fans. You’ll find some great titles here, including a comprehensive collection of Māori history, art, language and cultural books. It could be the ideal place to pick up a souvenir from your trip. There is a good collection of second-hand books, mostly non-fiction and vintage children’s stories, here too.
Muirs Bookshop: Website I Facebook
11am: Culture - Tairāwhiti Museum
Kelvin Rise, 10 Stout Street, Gisborne
Cross over the Taruheru River to the Tairāwhiti Museum. If you happen to be in town on a Saturday, then pop into the Gisborne Farmers Market on the way, where you'll find some local culinary treasures to take home with you.
A museum and gallery, Tairāwhiti hosts an evolving programme of art and history exhibitions across nine galleries, with a focus on Māori arts and culture. Whilst there discover the oldest European-style house in Gisborne.
Gisborne Farmers Market I old Army Hall car park, Stout Street I Website I Facebook
12pm: Midday coffee at Raglan Roast Gizzy
116 Wainui Road, Inner Kaiti, Gisborne
1pm: Lunch at Frank and Albie’s
24 Gladstone Road, Gisborne
Frank and Albie’s is the perfect café to spend your lunch, with a friendly team serving custom sandwiches, bagels and salads. This is no ordinary lunch stop. On the menu, there are classic crowd-pleasers like the free range egg mayo sandwich and bagel with spreads. Then there are the more elaborate salads and artisan sandwiches such as the brown rice gado gado salad and peppered beef bagel. Enjoy your meal alongside a Coffee Supreme espresso, and grab a table out front if you can.
2pm: Homewares shopping at The Aviary
38 Childers Road, Gisborne
The Aviary is an independent boutique offering a collective of homewares, jewellery, ceramics and designer recycled clothing by local and international designers. There is also an array of beautiful organic baby clothing, handmade gifts and wonderful niche beauty products by the likes of Ora Aromatherapy and Nurture.
The Aviary: Instagram
2.30pm: Womenswear at Truly
60 Gladstone Road, Gisborne
A three minute walk away, Truly stocks some of New Zealand’s trendiest names in fashion including Widdess, Marle, Penny Sage, Wynn Hamlyn and Ovna Ovich. It’s a charming store run by owners Trish Maclean and Julie Isaac, who never lose sight of what’s up and coming in the world of fashion. With this in mind, they also stock a small yet fashionable selection of footwear, accessories by Mars, Litoralle perfume and Flash jewellery.
3.00pm: Milton Vineyards and Winery
119 Papatu Road, Manutuke
Take a short drive to Milton's, one of the oldest wine estates in the Gisborne region, and the first organic and biodynamic winery in New Zealand. Their wine cellar is open by appointment in the winter and every weekend in the summer, and is well worth a visit. Once you've finished tasting their extensive range of wines, drive back into town. If you have time, take a short detour to the Gisborne Wine Centre to try some other wines from the region.
5pm: Craft beer at Sunshine Brewery
49 Awapuni Road, Gisborne
Come to Sunshine Brewery and taproom for a delicious, all natural craft beer in the sun. New Zealand’s oldest independent brewery, Sunshine have been making their beers since 1989, so they know a thing or two about how to brew this amber nectar best. It’s not a bad place to pick up another souvenir (‘Gisborne Gold’ singlet or t-shirt) to remember your trip by either.
Depending on where you choose to go for dinner, it will be a 30 minute walk to Neighborhood Pizzeria (a casual affair), or 15 minutes to Ussco Restaurant for fine, quality bistro dining, which you’ll need to have booked for.
6.30pm: Dinner at Neighborhood Pizza
9b Balance Street, Gisborne
Neighborhood Pizzeria is one of Gisborne’s most popular places to eat. Operating out of a shipping container, the pizza and calzone are made with flair despite the very small space. The pizzas can be made vegan by swapping out the cheese for vegan cheese, and there’s loads of non-meat toppings as well.
6.30pm: Dinner at Ussco
16 Childers Road, Gisborne
Ussco Restaurant is our pick of the Gisborne restaurants serving fresh produce from the region. The handwritten menu is updated daily. Along with incredible dishes of fresh seafood and shellfish, you’ll also be able to try Ussco’s own interpretations of fillet steak and free range pork belly when on the menu. Yum.
Once you’ve finished eating, take a walk to your final spot for the night.
8pm: Wine and cocktails at Siduri
16 Peel Street, Gisborne
Spend the remainder of your evening at Siduri, a wine bar showcasing organic and biodynamic wines of the world. The delightful space hosts guests until late, and if you’re still peckish by the end of the night, we recommend sharing one of their plates of prosciutto, pickle and parmesan, perfectly matched with a glass of wine selected for you by the staff.
Siduri Wine Bar & Deli: Instagram
Photo by Strike Photography.