Sun, sand & surf
Gisborne, or Gizzy (pop 48,000), NZ’s easternmost city, claims to be the first city on earth to see the sun each day and it certainly sees plenty of it.
This sunny laid-back city has gorgeous beaches, great surfing and produces some of the best chardonnay in the country. It also plays host to Rhythm & Vines Music Festival, one of the most popular music festivals in late December.
Captain Cook’s 1769 expedition first spotted NZ here at Young Nick’s Head, at the southern extreme of what Cook petulantly labeled Poverty Bay as “it did not afford a single item we wanted”. Cook’s men killed six Māori here, hardly setting a good precedent for what was to come.
Head to Gisborne’s i-SITE for maps of walking trails both in and around the city, plus info on surf and weather conditions. Waikanae Beach is only about 300m away. Just east of town, Wainui Beach is also a beauty.
Tairawhiti Museum is excellent, focussing on East Coast Maori and local colonial history, while Sunshine Brewery is the place to go to try local brews. The microbrewery’s name kind of says it all about Gisborne – a great spot to hang out for a few days.