Self Drive Gisborne | Avis Car Rental

Gisborne Self Drive Holiday

Gisborne is a city of notable firsts - it's the first city in the world to see the sun, and the first place that Captain Cook set foot in New Zealand. Head to the Eastland region to enjoy the surf culture, wine, coastal-pursuits and fishing - or simply enjoy the sun in the spot that locals boast has the longest summers in the country.






Gisborne attracts surfers from all around the world wanting to hit the breaks at iconic hangouts like Wainui and Makarori. Head out for a dawn surf and be one of the first in the world to see the day's sun. As with all New Zealand beaches caution is advised in the water, so if you are a beginner there are lessons and board hire available from excellent local Surf Schools.

Gisborne Surf School Website


Fishing Charters

The East Coast is a region famous for its fishing. The best way to make sure you come home with a full chilly-bin is to engage a local expert. Charters are available for a few hours or a few days. The Captain can help you bait your hooks, set your lines, reel in the catch and fillet the prize. Often they will also cook you the freshest fish in the world right on board. The other little bonus of a fishing charter is that you'll get the best view of the coast - from the sea. You can see Young Nick's Head and other landmarks on your charter.

Gisborne Fishing Website


Soho/Gisborne Wharf

In recent years the waterfront in Gisborne has been revitalized with fine dining and bars. At the end of a day of adventuring, head along to sample the local seafood and world beating wines. Parking is plentiful and cheap in Gisborne, and the wide streets and palm trees make this a lovely city to enjoy an evening stroll after your dinner.



Adventure on State Highway 35

North of Gisborne is one of New Zealand's great roads: State Highway 35. Within a relaxed day-trip you can venture up and visit two breathtaking bays with history, sights and even recent ruins. Tolaga Bay is 50 minutes' drive away, and home to New Zealand's longest wharf -at all of 600m. It is a great spot to fish from and you can find a good coffee at the café just five minutes' drive back to the main drag. Then, jump back in the car and head half an hour north to Tokomaru Bay. It has a shorter but equally lovely wharf - and a series of old buildings that have fallen into picturesque disrepair. The Brick freezing works provide a tourist excursion without the usual tourist trappings, or indeed safety signs; so do be careful wandering around. Stop in at the local pub for a toasted sandwich before heading back to town.


Mahia Peninsula

Mahia Peninsula is a surfing Mecca one hour south of Gisborne. It is known for all-weather reliability - and for offering surf breaks on both white and black sand. The breaks have names such as The Spit, Annihilation, Last Chance and Rolling Stone - but don't let that put you off, a range of abilities are catered for! Fishing off the rocks at Mahia is a must. If you are interested in a more leisurely trip the beaches are lovely to walk, and the café has a hot or cool drink awaiting you.

Voyage Mahia Website


Gisborne Vineyards

The Gisborne region's long sunshine hours and rich clay soils are responsible for some of the world's best Chardonnay. Visit a vineyard and sample the range of wine produced here - local sparkling, Viognier and Gewürztraminer offerings are also renowned. From heavyweight Montana through to boutique Matawhero and biodynamic pioneer Millton, you're spoilt for choice.

Gisborne Wine Website


Eastwoodhill Arboretum

Forty minutes out of Gisborne and off the road to Napier you'll find this garden of international significance. Eastwoodhill is home to the largest collection of Northern Hemisphere trees in the Southern Hemisphere, set amongst ponds, tracks and homestead gardens. The reasonable entry fee is well rewarded, with walks throughout the 135ha grounds, guided tours and arrangements available for those needing mobility-assistance.

Eastwoodhill Website




Morere Hot Pools

50 minutes south down SH2 from Gisborne you'll find the Morere hot pools - a series of natural springs set amongst 364hectares of bush that is a truly special place. The water here was originally sea water - a rarity for a hot-spring. There are tearooms and charming accommodation available - but this relaxing round trip can be completed in a day. Make sure you take the ten-minute bush walk to the Nikau Pools, nestled deeper in this Department of Conservation rainforest reserve.

Morere Hot Springs Website


Rere Falls

Along Wharekopae Road, not far from the Eastwoodhill Arboretum you'll find a unique attraction - the Rere Rockslide. Locals love this spot- a natural waterslide that forms part of the Wharekopae River. It is recommended that you bring an inner tube or boogie-board and try this one in your togs. It is just around the corner from the Rere falls and is well signposted - and although you couldn't mistake the two, please don't! At the falls you'll find picnic facilities, a swimming hole and a lovely view.


New Year's Rhythm and Vines Celebrations

Gisborne comes alive over summer as tens of thousands of visitors double the population over the New Year holiday. There is a range of events on offer over this period, but the biggest is Rhythm and Vines. This music festival is held on a local vineyard and every year attracts a larger list of international headliners. The festival goes over a number of days and visitors can attend on a chosen day, for the whole festival - or they can even stay on site.

Rhythm and Vines Website



Eastland is a region of New Zealand with a special history and fondness for camping. Although the days of unfettered access are largely over, 'freedom' camping is still allowed in many designated areas. Visit the local council in Gisborne to apply for a permit to allow you access. The camping season runs from September through summer.

Gisborne DC Website



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