Gisborne in winter
Travel June 27, 2020

6 reasons to travel to Gissy in winter

Perched on the balmy East Coast, Gisborne is the first place in the world to see the sun. It hosts one of the country’s most epic New Years parties, and is famous for pumping waves, a good drop of wine and a seriously laid-back culture. So what’s it like in the cooler months? Here’s 10 reasons to make Gissy your next winter getaway destination.

The wine, beer and cider tastes just as good

Enjoy at one of the many local restaurants, or visit the makers themselves. The charming Matawhero vineyard offers a cellar door in the winter months, check their website for hours. Get cosy in the underground cellar or enjoy good wine alfresco. For wine with a difference visit Milton, New Zealand’s first organic and bio-dynamic vineyard (cellar door is open Monday to Friday). 

Cider lovers can visit Harvest Cidery – the home of Scrumpy, Harvest, Thomas & Rose, Bulmers and Strongbow. If you’re all about the frothy stuff, check out Sunshine Brewery to watch the brewing process while sampling beers and munching pizza.

You’re still the first to see the sun

The East Coast is proudly the first in the world to see the sun each day. Watch the sunrise from Wainui Beach or the top of Kaiti Hill, and revel in the fact you’re the first to see in the new day. 

Experience New Zealand’s only railbike adventure 

A totally unique way to experience the East Coast. Pedal along a scenic coast on a tandem side-by-side bike connected to the old railway.  There are a few different options depending on how long you’ve got (and fitness level), and select between a pedal bike and e-bike. 

Surf‘s up

Gisborne delivers world class surf all year round, with plenty of options to choose from. Despite the typically sunny weather, the water can get surprisingly cold so don’t forget your wetsuit. If you’re just starting out, check out Waikanae Beach for mellow waves or get in touch with a local surf school. 

Get up close and personal with stingrays

Voted as one of the World’s Best Marine Life Experiences in 2017 by, the Reef Ecology Tour is one not to miss. It’s also running through winter, weather dependent. Take a short walk through the shallows (gumboots and waders provided) to hand-feed wild stingray and their fellow reef-dwellers. 

Eastwood Hill Arboretum

Whether you’re a garden guru, nature lover or just have kids who are keen on a run around, Eastwood Hill Arboretum is something special. Founded in 1910, and boasts the largest collection of Northern Hemisphere trees in the Southern Hemisphere. Take a leisurely stroll, a guided tour, or a more challenging walk. You can even stay the night and host your wedding amongst the eucalyptus trees.