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.

Matt Foubister

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