Book Now
Surfer in Gisborne New Zealand

Top 5 Must-Do Activities in Gisborne

Located on the far east of New Zealand, Gisborne is well-known for its delicate wines, Maori heritage, and excellent surf. These 5 ‘must-dos’ will have you adding it to your next road trip itinerary!

North Island
Hire a Board and Hit the Surf

With some of the greatest surf conditions in New Zealand, Gisborne is home to many popular beaches perfect for riding the barrel! With surfboard hire onsite at YHA Gisborne there is no reason not to get in the water and give the swells a good crack. Waikanae is an easy-going part of the coastline, great for beginner surfers wanting to dip their toes in the water. Midway Beach aka the ‘Gizzy Pipe’ offers stauncher, consistent waves for the more experienced surfer. Never be afraid to ask a local if you're unsure about the conditions, they may well be a surf legend!

girl surfing in popular surf spot in gisborne


A Glass of White

Bushmere Estate is a local, family-owned vineyard that has been operating for over 40 years. Located on the west of Gisborne, a 10-minute drive from YHA. The estate’s restaurant is called ‘The Vines’ with a lunch menu that has been crafted with seasonal, fresh and local produce to create a taste of the East Coast that you won’t forget. We recommend the Cured King Salmon inside the Karengo Éclair, paired with a crisp Pinot Gris.

people drinking wine and eating lunch at bushmere estate winery the vines restaurant


Explore Local History

For those who enjoy diving deep into local heritage, the Tairawhiti Museum is Gisborne’s home to history and a highly recommended stop on your visit. First established in 1883, Tairawhiti has grown into a museum and an art gallery, showcasing various exhibitions with a big focus on Maori heritage. Admission is only $5 for adults and free for under 12s. The perfect place to educate yourself and indulge your wondering mind.

local art and culture at tairawhiti museum and art gallery in gisborne


Ride Nature’s Waterslide

Rere Rockslide is a gift from Mother Earth herself. 60 meters of smooth rock face with a splash pool for your landing – what more could you ask for?! Perfect for siding down on anything from a body board to a piece of cardboard, the challenge is to see how far you can skim across the pool at the bottom. YHA Gisborne has body boards available for hire! At just under an hour west of Gisborne, this attraction is well worth the picturesque drive out of town.

the bare kiwi riding rere rockslide in gisborne new zealand

Photo Credit: The Bare Kiwi

Experience the Reef

Dive Tatapouri offers an educational and exciting Reef Ecology Tour in Tatapouri Bay, home to a diversified population of marine life. Jumping into a pair of waders, you'll head out on a tour of the reef at low tide, learning about the local ecosystem and how each little part plays a big role. Highlights include feeding wild stingrays, and discovering the historic methods Maori used to manage their natural resources. This organisation aims to educate people about the challenges faced in the area, both environmental and cultural.

people learning on an educational reef ecology tour with dive tatapouri in tatapouri bay in gisborne new zealand


With this wide range of activities, Gisborne is a fantastic stop on your road trip around the North Island and YHA has your accommodation covered!

Matt Foubister

More Recommended YHA Hostels

YHA Gisborne hostel exterior front entrance view more

YHA Gisborne

This hostel offers a warm and friendly atmosphere and is a great place to chill out and unwind or take a walk to the surfing beaches at Wainui and Waikanae.

Find out more

YHA Rotorua Hostel Entrance next to Kuirau Park view more

YHA Rotorua

YHA Rotorua offers accommodation with shared facilities for families, groups and backpackers opposite geothermal park Kuirau Park. Free parking, full kitchen, large shared lounge.

Find out more

related stories

YHA rotorua lake rotorua side wall at dusk
Central North Road Trip

We've put together the ultimate Central Plateau road trip to show just how much cool stuff is packed into the area!

Read more

nostalgia fest crowd shot bigger
Summer Festivals (that are still kicking on for) 2020 and 2021

Get set to sizzle this summer with a showcase of the best of New Zealand’s culture, music and food. From buskers to bandstands, foodie feasts and films, see NZ through these great events.

Read more

yha Kaikoura surfer looking for waves to catch
7 Epic Surf Spots in New Zealand

With so much coastline to explore, it'd be rude not to hit the surf on your next NZ break.

Read more

YHA Rotorua gerothermal steam offset
Rotorua's Best Geothermal Spots

Rotorua is known as a haven for weird and wonderful geothermal activity, and we've got the inside word on the best places to see geysers, mud pools, and soak in natural hot springs!

Read more