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The stunning 3 hour drive from Napier to Gisborne

Can feel like a world away and makes for the perfect weekend getaway. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the land of the first light. Wind your way up the coast past beachside communities, the Mahia peninsula and into the great open spaces of Tairāwhiti - where unique cultural experiences, outdoor adventure and incredible food and wine awaits!

Time

3 Days
212 km

Highlights

Matawhero Winery

Gisborne Astro Tours

Maunga Hikurangi

Gisborne Railbikes

Morere Hot Springs

Proximity

Travel from Napier to Gisborne on SH2, venture further up the coast along SH35

Gisborne Wine Country credit Gisborne Wine Growers Association

1: Friday - Napier to Gisborne

Matawhero Wines
Ease into Tairāwhiti time with a leisurely lunch amidst the vineyards. Delicious platters, wine tasting and coffee is to taste the flavours of this fertile land. En route to Gisborne, stop off at the iconic Matawhero Wines conveniently located along State Highway 2.

Surf’s up
Known for its legendary surf breaks, Tairāwhiti is blessed with sun-kissed beaches and plenty of waves to go around. Check out local surf breaks in town from Waikanae Beach, Midway/Pipe or Wainui Beach and experience authentic Kiwi surf culture at its best.

Tupapa Heritage Trail
Get to know the history and lay of the land along the beautiful Tupapa Heritage Trail. This 4km self-guided walk is a must-do for visitors but also very popular amongst locals. Designed with a world-class app you can download for free, the Tupapa Heritage Trail brings the culture and unique stories of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne) to life. From beachside, riverside and the summit of Titirangi Hill, wind your way through city sights, landmarks, and epic panoramic views.

Top tip!
Far from light pollution and under the dark skies of Patutahi in the East Coast, Gisborne Astro Tours is a unique stargazing experience set in beautiful backcountry. This 2-hour astro tour with a highly acclaimed astronomer is your gateway to the stars.

Gisborne Astro Tours

Gisborne Astro Tours

Under the dark skies of Patutahi in the East Coast, Gisborne Astro Tours is a unique and memorable experience for all ages

Highlights

Matawhero Winery

Surfing

Tupapa Heritage Trail

Gisborne Astro Tours

Proximity

3 hour 10 min | 212km via SH2

Friday - Napier to Gisborne
Tolaga Bay Wharf

2: Saturday - Gisborne to Tolaga Bay

Titirangi Reserve/Kaiti Hill sunrise
Catching a sunrise here in the land of the first light is definitely a rite of passage. Make sure to head to the summit of Titirangi Reserve and be the first in the world to welcome the new day with some panoramic views of Gisborne. Situated on a hilltop above the city, Titirangi was once a pā or fortified village and is an ancestral site of the Ngāti Oneone people with the Te Poho-o-Rāwiri marae at its base.

Gisborne Farmers Market
Saturday morning delights! Head to the Gisborne Farmers Market to enjoy the best coffee from local roasters, freshly squeezed orange juice, the best in-season produce, a selection of regional wines, delicious food stalls and unique artisan goods.

Maunga Hikurangi
A visit to Tairāwhiti wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Maunga Hikurangi. Come face to face with nine spectacular Māori whakairo (carvings) representing Māui and Ngāti Porou descendants and experience the history and culture of this place come to life. Sunrise tours (for early birds) and daytime experiences are available and begin from Ruatoria – about a 2 hr drive north of Gisborne.

Tokomaru to Tolaga Bay
There’s plenty of bay hopping to be had along the iconic State Highway 35 on your way back to Gisborne. Tolaga Bay Wharf is New Zealand’s longest wharf at 660 metres in length and is a historic landmark that was once a bustling hive of activity for large coastal trading ships to load and offload goods. Now it’s an excellent spot to dangle a fishing line and enjoy a leisurely stroll. Or if you’re looking for a bit more, Cooks Cove Walkway is another must-do walk in the area. And when hunger strikes, check out Broad Bill’s Uawa Food Trailer – family-owned with legendary oven-fresh pizzas in the middle of paradise. Or head back to Tolaga Bay township for some delicious kai at Aunty’s Café.

Top tip!
There are plenty of places to wine and dine in Gisborne. One of the oldest independent breweries in Aotearoa, Sunshine Brewery is an iconic establishment in the centre of town just around the corner from Waikanae Beach with a laid-back and lively atmosphere. Or head to UssCO Bar & Bistro for an incredible evening enjoying cocktails, fine wines, and a delicious bistro menu in beautiful surrounds.

Sunshine Brewery

Sunshine Brewery

Soak-up the atmosphere, beer and good times are on-tap at New Zealands second oldest craft brewery.
Tolaga Bay Wharf

Tolaga Bay Wharf

A Category One Heritage NZ Site and one of the top 100 historic sites to visit in the country.
Maunga Hikurangi

Maunga Hikurangi

Maunga Hikurangi is the sacred mountain of the Ngati Porou people, and the first place in the world to see the sunrise. Gain access to our sacred maunga and sacred sites to obtain a unique authentic Maori cultural experience and sunrise.
Maunga Hikurangi

Highlights

Titirangi Reserve/Kaiti Hill

Gisborne Farmers Market

Maunga Hikurangi

Tolaga Bay Wharf

Proximity

51 min | 58 km via SH35

Saturday - Gisborne to Tolaga Bay
Gisborne Railbikes

3: Sunday - Tatapouri - Morere

Dive Tatapouri
Make your last morning in paradise a memorable one and spend the morning on an interactive reef ecology tour with Dive Tatapouri. This unique marine experience takes you on a guided reef tour in Tatapouri Bay where you can interact with stingrays, eagle rays and other majestic reef dwellers in their natural habitat. Make sure you confirm tour times since these often run during low tide.

Gisborne Railbike Adventures
Another unique Tairāwhiti experience is the legendary Gisborne Railbike Adventure. Conveniently located off State Highway 35, just 5 kms west of the city, this is the perfect way to take in the picturesque Gisborne plains and rural countryside. Choose from standard or e-bikes and enjoy a 1-hr tandem railbike journey to the Waipaoa Bridge and back.

Morere Hot Springs
What better way to end a fabulous weekend with a stop at Morere Hot Springs. This lush wonderland offers a variety of hot pools surrounded by pristine native bush. Located just off of State Highway 2, this hot pool haven also boasts beautiful walks tracks and picnic areas to enjoy.

Gisborne Railbike Adventures

Gisborne Railbike Adventures

Experience an amazing new cycling adventure on the very scenic 90 kilometres of coastal railway between Gisborne and Wairoa.
Dive Tatapouri Reef Ecology Tour with Wild Stingrays

Dive Tatapouri Reef Ecology Tour with Wild Stingrays

The Reef Ecology tour allows you the opportunity to walk out at low tide under the guidance of our guides to observe and interact with the Stingrays, Eagle Rays and other marine dwellers of Tatapouri. A must-do activity for anyone visiting Gisborne.
Dive Tatapouri Reef Ecology Tour with Wild Stingrays

Highlights

Dive Tatapouri

Gisborne Railbike Adventures

Morere Hot Springs

Proximity

1 hour 10 min | 67km via SH2

Sunday - Tatapouri - Morere
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