Hotels in Gisborne, New Zealand
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The World’s Easternmost City: It’s Gisborne
Stretching along the northern shores of Poverty Bay in north-eastern New Zealand, Gisborne may be somewhat off the beaten track but top notch beaches, Maori culture and heritage, and a seemingly endless supply of Chardonnay make it a popular tourist destination nonetheless. The city boasts a wide variety of accommodation options so whether you fancy bedding down in a simple but friendly B&B or want to splash out on a stay in one of the city’s upmarket hotels and luxury resorts, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to call home during your stay.
Gisborne’s status as the world’s most easterly city means that it is the first to greet the sun each morning. Locals recommend watching the sun rise from Wainui Beach (just ten minutes from the city). When you’ve soaked up the spectacular scene, be sure to check out the historic sperm whale grave or simply enjoy activities such as swimming, surfing and horse trekking. Surfers can also head to Sponge Bay, which at low tide offers access to Tuamotu Island. If you’re travelling with small children, you might want to stay closer to the amenities in the city centre. Waikanae Beach has the smallest surf in the area so the waters are typically excellent for little ones. Plus, the beach is patrolled. Midway Beach, also in the city centre, is another popular spot for families.
Gorgeous Green Spaces
In and around the city, you’ll find plenty of green spaces to enjoy. Many guests like to spend time at the Harry Barker Reserve and Alfred Cox Park although a more popular option is often to spend the day at the Gisborne Botanical Gardens. Set along the Taruheru River, this five-plus hectare park features an aviary, a children’s playground and rose and cactus collections. A 30-minute drive from Gisborne, the Eastwood Hill Arboretum is one of the region’s best-loved visitor attractions. Open daily (except Christmas Day), this 100-hectare park features the country’s largest collection of exotic shrubs and trees. And if you fancy really getting away from it all, the Te Urewera National Park (2.5 hours from the city) is as remote as it is rugged.
Culture and Heritage
Gisborne is a great place to immerse yourself in Maori heritage. Around 45 percent of the population is of Maori descent so it is still possible to find authentic Maori communities here, complete with performances of kapa haka to enjoy. Nonetheless, many visitors like to kick off their cultural experience by heading to Titirangi Hill, which is reported to be the landing point for the first Maori people to travel to the area from Tahiti, in a canoe-type vessel known as Horouta. From there, a trip to the Tairawhiti Museum (Stout Street) offers the chance to explore the region’s ancient and modern history as well as check out Maori artefacts dating back to the 1300s.
Pour Yourself a Glass
This city is one of New Zealand’s largest wine regions and has built itself quite the reputation as the country’s unofficial Chardonnay capital. Popular cellar doors on the Gisborne Wine Trail include the Millton Vineyards, Wright Wines, and Spade Oak. Many of the area’s wineries also have a restaurant so you can enjoy lunch while you down a few glasses of your favourite tipple. Good spots to combine lunch with wine include the Bushmere Estate and Poverty Bay’s 120-year-old stables. Before heading back to your hotel, be sure to finish off your wine tasting adventure with a trip to the Kirkpatrick Estate Winery where the north facing deck is the perfect spot to enjoy the late afternoon sun.
Celebrate Good Times
Gisborne plays host to a great many festivals and events so if you love to party, you’ve come to the right place. Music lovers can head to the likes of the Gisborne Cosmopolitan Club, Smash Palace Bar, and the Poverty Bay Club to catch local and touring bands. And if you prefer the performing arts, you can watch everything from ballet to comedy at the Gisborne War Memorial Theatre. In May, the city hosts the Gisborne Regional Wine Awards while, over the Labour weekend, the Gisborne Wine & Food Festival serves up gourmet treats, celebrity chefs and live entertainment. Visitors who are staying over the New Year period can attend the enormously popular Rhythm and Wines celebration on the Waiohika Estate.
Price rangefrom €30to €217
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