Pristine beaches are just the beginning of an adventure holiday in Tairāwhiti Gisborne. Here’s what a group of adventure-seekers could easily pack into a three-day weekend.
We fly in with Air New Zealand early Friday morning and collect a rental van from the airport – perfect for the gear we’re renting from Surfing with Frank, where the local legend (yes, he’s called Frank) runs a surf school and tours. Frank’s got the inside skinny on where the breaks are so we take his advice and drive straight to Wainui Beach and wake ourselves up with a triple-shot coffee from Wainui Store.
The waves are pounding and we surf up an appetite and head off to Smash Palace for a gas-torched pizza and then to one of the country’s leading cider producers, Harvest Cidery, for a tour and tastings.
In the afternoon we hire go karts from the Waikanae Top 10 Holiday Park and take them for a cruise on the Oneroa cycleway along the river and beach, soaking up the choice views that Gizzy has to offer.
By dark it’s tempting to crash at home but, hey, we’re here for an adventure, so we book into the groovy Dome Bar & Cinema. It's in a restored gentleman’s club and rated one of the top ten coolest dine-in theatres in the world.
We're knackered now, so it's great that our house - a gorgeous beachfront place we found on Bookabach - is just a few minutes from town.
We rise before dawn to see the legendary Tairāwhiti sunrise and then squeeze in a morning surf at Makorori Beach. By late morning we’re driving the 50 kilometres through the Gisborne wine district to the famous Rere Rockslide, to slide down the 60-metre rock falls on boogie boards (BYO boards). It’s a classic Kiwi thrill. Free too. Epic!.
The day’s not done so we’re down to Waikanae Beach for a late-afternoon surf at The Pipe followed by fish and chips and a few beers at the very welcoming Peppers Beachfront overlooking the surf.
Another day, another breath-taking sunrise. Today we’re tossing up whether we’re mountain biking in the Motu or snorkelling with stingrays at Dive Tatapouri. The rays win so we’re soon in the water where the team run an incredible reef ecology tour that attracts rays and fish alike. It’s the closest anyone can get to these magnificent creatures and they reliably turn up for their morning feed.
No visit to Gizzy is complete without a visit to the Tolaga Bay wharf. So after a 40-minute drive we're running up the wharf for a bit of fun and a taste of adventurers' past. A hearty lunch at the historic Tolaga Bay Inn tops off a classic three days with mates, before we head back to the airport for the last flight home and a decent old sleep. We must come back and cycle those Motu trails!