Eastland is the place where the first Polynesian canoes landed, Captain Cook made his first landfall and Maori and European first encountered each other. Gisborne, the largest settlement in Eastland, is the first city in the world to see the sun each day.
Gisborne is lucky enough to occupy a beautiful and remote part of New Zealand. Its isolation perched out on the most easterly edge of the country has shaped the town and its charming coastal character. Gisborne enjoys some of the best weather in New Zealand. It’s thanks to the high, hot sunshine hours, fertile clay loam soils and some of the most acclaimed winemakers in the country, that Gisborne is famous for producing exceptional Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Malbec.
Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and Maori culture is evident in every settlement you see. There are carved meeting houses, beautifully painted Maori churches, and conversations in Te Reo (Maori language). Venture up Mount Hikurangi, the sacred mountain of the Ngati Porou people, and you'll see giant carvings of figures from Maori folklore. Other highlights are the impossibly long wharf at Tolaga Bay, stingray feeding at Tatapouri, the magnificent Tikitiki church, and sunrise at the East Cape Lighthouse.
Popular pastimes include fishing, diving, cycling, mountain biking and golf. But really, Gizzy – as it’s fondly known – is all about beaches and surfing. There are many stunning beaches to choose from, a fact that is well known within the surfing fraternity, with surfers from around the world visiting Gisborne to make the most of the legendary waves.