You know how the saying goes - when in Tairāwhiti, there’s plenty to see and do. Especially during Labour Weekend. Fun in the sun, food and wine, with friends and with family, it’s the perfect place to ring in the sweet flavours of summer. Here’s how to spend your Labour Weekend in Gisborne the right way – a 3-day itinerary highlighting the must-dos so you can really take a bite out of life.
Arrival day means it’s a good idea to understand the lay of the land and find your bearings. The Tupapa Heritage Trail is a self-guided walk that’s a must-do for visitors but also very popular with locals. With the next level Tupapa app that you can download beforehand, this is like taking a walk back to a time of voyaging explorers and first encounters.
What better way to take in the beautiful Tairāwhiti landscape than on a vintage WA 165 Steam Train Excursion? A bit of adventure and a bit of romance to remember the days of old that have gone by on this scenic leisurely journey around Gisborne’s bays to Muriwai. Your journey begins at the Gisborne Railway Station when you hop aboard WA 165 – a 120-year-old steam train that was one of the first to be built in New Zealand. Tickets can be bought at the Gisborne i-SITE Visitor Information Centre while souvenirs and refreshments are available for purchase on-board.
The perfect way to end the day is an evening at Dome Bar and Cinema. Old world elegance meets modern delectable delights - from mouth-watering pizzas to fresh fish tacos and churros, you may find it hard to get back up from the comfort of your bean bag and cosy blanket.
Your weekend wouldn’t be complete without a visit with Waka Voyagers. One of only nine double-hulled wakas of this type in the world, you are invited to step back to a time when Māori voyagers ruled the seas. Discover first-hand the ancient wayfinding vessel that traversed vast oceans as you climb aboard the majestic Waka Hourua. With cultural, sailing and group charters available, you can select from three unique and unforgettable experiences that truly embody the spirit of Tairāwhiti.
You don’t need to be a foodie to know that Tairāwhiti Gisborne is the place to be over Labour Weekend. The annual First Light Wine and Food Festival is a flagship event for Gisborne that brings together people from all over New Zealand. With three venues offering three unique foodies serving up the most decadent cuisine, over 15 wine varietals and live entertainment all afternoon, the best of Gisborne is on the menu so you can enjoy an entire weekend dedicated to wining, dining and the good life.
Let the festivities take you into the night at the First Light Wine and Food Festival. With organised bus options to visit three local vineyards - Matawhero Wines, TW Wines and Bridge Estate, you’ll be feasting from noon until night and have the opportunity to mingle with the makers in the most beautiful surrounds.
Across vast oceans and a voyage spanning 250 years, sacred taonga (treasures) that left the shores of Te Tairāwhiti in 1769 are coming home to be commemorated in the upcoming exhibition, Tū te Whaihanga. This internationally curated exhibit at Tairāwhiti Museum will run from 7 October 2019 - 11 October 2020. Tairāwhiti is the only place in New Zealand that you will be able to see this exhibit first-hand – a highly anticipated homecoming of priceless taonga that weaves the past into the present.
Here in the Land of the First Light, there are plenty of reasons to rise and shine. Even if you’re not a morning person, there are unique, only in Tairāwhiti experiences here you won’t find anywhere else in New Zealand. Famous for its interactive reef ecology tour with wild stingrays, Dive Tatapouri is definitely one for the bucket list. An easy 15-minute drive from Tairāwhiti Gisborne up the coast, Dive Tatapouri is where land meets the sea and where local culture is as vibrant as the stunning marine surrounds.
Take your pick from some of the best restaurants and bars dotted throughout the CBD and up along the coast. From French-Kiwi fusion to historic taverns further afield, Tairāwhiti is truly the land of plenty with an abundance of great places to eat and a wealth of wineries, cideries and breweries to enjoy. Cheers to that!