NZ Gisborne District Information
On the northeast side of the North Island, in the region of Eastland, the
Gisborne district has a population of 45,000. Cradled behind high southern hills
and protected from cool southern fronts, the Gisborne district has warm mild
weather year round. Like so many regions in New Zealand, Gisborne is well known
for its wine, specializing particularly in Chardonnays, it is called the
chardonnay capital of the world. As dining goes there are bars and cafes a
plenty and dozens of spots for a glass of chardonnay and a meal of fresh
The Maori name for the area, Tairawhiti, means ďthe coast upon which the sun
shines across the water,Ē which is a fitting name for one of the sunniest places
in the world. In 1831 the developing European settlement was named for Hon.
William Gisborne. The name had trouble sticking, however, and for at time the
area was known as Turanga, but this was considered to be easily confused with
Tauranga, so the name was changed back.
The regionís population has a higher percentage of Maori people than average; in
some parts of Gisborne the population is almost 50 percent Maori. Beautiful hand
carved meeting halls and extensively painted churches show the traditions of
Maori life in every pocket of land settled in Gisborne. Visit art galleries,
museums and places of historic Mauri cultural significance.
As celebrations go, the start of the summer in Gisborne is well begun. Every
October Gisborne celebrates the start of New Zealandís summer with a festival
that offers the wines of local wineries and the cuisine of New Zealandsís top
chefs who gather for the event that is one of the regions major tourist draws.
A trip to the Eastoodhall Arboretum displays the larges collection of trees from
the Northern Hemisphere in the Southern Hemisphere. Six walking trails lead into
the hills and trees at a range of difficulties, making it possible to explore
the arboretum for everyone. The arboretum is also open for a scenic drive
leading around Gisborneís vineyards.
For a truly unique vacation, hire a boat and take a Shark Cage Dive and watch
live sharks from just an armís reach away. These trips are completely safe even
for the novice and are sure to provide long lasting memories, and possibly,
heart pounding fear.
As always, waterfalls are a most see point of travel. The Rere Falls crash down
on both sides of the Wharekopae River, with a trail that leads visitors behind
the falls. Further down the Wharekopae is a natural rockslide that can provide
an exhilarating ride for anyone interested. The beaches of Gisborne, especially
that of Wainui Beach are great for surfers of all levels. Stunning swells for
the most experienced and hours and hours of sunlight have made the area a
popular surfing coast since the 60ís.
Boating, fishing, golfing, and hiking and numerous other outdoor activities are
available in Gisborne. Maori guides and tours offer the chance to explore the
historic Maori culture from a local perspective that can illuminate the
landscape and settlements on the island.