31 best things to do in the central North Island
Dominated by the enormous Lake Taupō and a trio of volcanoes including Mount Ruapehu, the Central Plateau is sporting a plethora of natural ...
Attractions and activities around Gisborne and Eastland make the most of the region’s natural charms, deep cultural history and seaside lifestyle.
The Pacific Coast Highway winds its way around the coast of Eastland. From Opotoki in the eastern Bay of Plenty, the road winds northeast to Te Kaha. This former whaling settlement is surrounded by lovely beaches. Further on is remote Hicks Bay; at the eastern end is Onepoto Bay with a beach safe for swimming. Nearby is Te Araroa, where you can join a tour to East Cape – the easternmost point of mainland New Zealand. Mount Hikurangi, near Ruatoria, is 1,754 metres tall and its summit is the first place in New Zealand to see the sunrise. Tolaga Bay is famous for its historic wharf. Tatapouri offers fishing, diving and surfing, and Wainui Beach, just north of Gisborne, offers swimming and surfing.
With a long history of Māori settlement, and significance as Captain Cook’s first landing place in New Zealand, this area contains a number of interesting historic sites. Follow the Tairawhiti Heritage Trail and pay a visit to the Tairawhiti Museum for a good introduction to local heritage. You can relax and unwind at Morere Hot Springs or in the peaceful surroundings of Eastwoodhill Aboretum, or explore offshore with Dive Tatapouri.
Check in at these local Gisborne dining favourites for a great bite to eat, or blend in with the relaxed local pace by sitting back over a cup of coffee. Café Ruba is an award-winning local favourite that reliably serves up good food and coffee. USSCo Bar & Bistro provides great bistro dining, with a menu based around simple, seasonal and tasty food.
In Gisborne and Eastland you’ll find plenty of excellent, comfortable accommodation options available for visitors at varying budget levels. At the budget end there's the likes of Flying Nun Backpackers in Gisborne, while families might head for an apartment at Marina View Apartments or Hicks Bay Motel Lodge, while those looking for more luxurious digs might end up at the likes of Waihirere's Knapdale Eco Lodge or the Emerald Hotel in Gisborne.
Gisborne Airport offers services from Auckland and Wellington with Air New Zealand. Flights to smaller North Island destinations are available with Sunair. The Pacific Coast Highway winds around the edge of Eastland on its way from Auckland to Hawke’s Bay, while SH 2 offers a more direct route from the Bay of Plenty through to Gisborne. A couple of coach lines operate between Gisborne and Auckland, and there are regional shuttle and bus services. Many parts of the region are remote, so renting a vehicle may be a good option. To find out more call into the Gisborne i–SITE at 209 Grey Street.
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