Premium Tours in Gisborne
If you’ve made the decision to head out east to New Zealand’s gloriously laidback yet less-visited region, make it count. Rich in culture, a place of significant history where the first Maori and British encountered, and basking in a warm dry climate to make exploring the beaches, bush and hills all the more glorious, Gisborne offers an intriguing yet effortless destination for those seeking a little luxury. Intimate and personal tours are a great way to learn about the local legends, while exploring nature on horseback, via a Jeep tour or even a traditional Maori waka are just some ways to enjoy Gisborne. Learn about the top premium experience in this list of the best luxury activities in Gisborne.
For more advice on planning your Gisborne getaway, see The Luxury Guide to Gisborne and find a place to stay in the 6 Best Luxury Accommodation in Gisborne.
1. Experience Eastwoodhill Arboretum on a Curator’s Tour
One of the top attractions in the Gisborne region, Eastwoodhill Arboretum is 131 hectares (324 acres) of appreciation for the diversity of nature. You’ll find intriguing trees, shrubs and climber plants from all over the world and New Zealand across various spaces, from the Herbarium to the Pinetum. One way to see more faster, while getting a unique insight into the arboretum, is through a curator’s tour. You’ll be transported by Jeep across the arboretum’s highlights and hidden gems.
Location: 2392 Wharekopae Road, Ngatapa, approximately 34km (21 miles) from Gisborne city centre.
2. Get a Premium Cellar Door Experience at the Local Wineries
Gisborne basks in a warm dry climate with fertile clay loam soils making it one of the productive wine regions of New Zealand. Taste for yourself by visiting the region’s cellar doors. Bushmere Estate offers wine tastings, coffee and lunch from Wednesday to Sunday, while Millton Vineyards & Winery is open Monday to Friday for wine tastings and platters. Enjoy the rustic charm of the Matawhero Wines cellar door with a cool underground cellar and irresistible platters. If you want to taste it all and not travel too far, however, the Gisborne Wine Centre does just the trick. Just ask for a guided wine tasting to get the full story on the Gisborne wine region or pop in between Tuesday and Saturday to wine and dine. For more activities that you can enjoy in any weather, take a look at the 10 Things to Do in Gisborne on a Rainy Day.
Locations: Bushmere Estate – 166 Main Road SH2. Millton – 119 Papatu Road, Manutuke. Matawhero – 189 Riverpoint Road, RD1. Gisborne Wine Centre – 3/50 Esplanade, Gisborne city.
3. Experience Gisborne from a Maori Waka Cruise
Gisborne has a rich Maori heritage and culture that is well worth discovering. One of the most unique ways to immerse in the culture is via a waka (Maori canoe) cruise. Set sail on a double-hulled canoe with Waka Voyager Tairawhiti and learn about celestial navigation that the early Maori used to sail to New Zealand. All the while, you’ll see the city highlights and landmarks from shore.
Location: Berth 40, Wharf 3, Inner Harbour Marina, Gisborne city.
4. Fly or 4WD to the First Place to See the Sun, Mt Hikurangi
Mt Hikurangi is not only a sacred place for the local Maori tribe, but’s the first land of New Zealand to see the sun each day. Fly by helicopter or do a 4WD tour to Mt Hikurangi to discover more about its legends and witness its beauty. Maunga Hikurangi offers a number of ways to experience the mountain, incorporating the legends and history of the local Maori. While not an activity in Gisborne, it’s well worth organising if you plan to explore the Pacific Coast Highway.
Location: Ruatoria, approximately 129km (80 miles) from Gisborne city centre.
5. Ride Through Bush and River with Waikereru Horse Riding Adventures
Discover what beauty hides behind the hills surrounding Gisborne on a horse riding excursion with Waikeruru Horse Riding Adventures. Treat yourself to an overnight package including transport, morning tea under a farmhouse verandah before having a short “get to know you” session with your horse in the arena. You’ll then hit the trails for a day out among lush farmland, native bush and riding alongside the Waimata River with a picnic, dinner, accommodation and breakfast all included.
Location: 1235 Riverside Road, approximately 14km (9 miles) from Gisborne city centre.
6. Immerse in the Maori Culture with Tipuna Tours
Tipuna Tours brings to visitors a personal and authentic way to share the history and culture of Gisborne from the perspective of the local Maori people. There are two scheduled tours, the Maori Culture Tour where customs and history are shared on a journey between Gisborne and Tolaga Bay, and the Local History Tour taking you on a journey to Cook’s Cove and Opoutama to learn about pivotal moments in New Zealand history. Bespoke tours are also available for the team to curate a journey to suit your travel plans.
Location: Pick-ups available from Gisborne accommodations.
7. Indulge in Gisborne’s Fine Dining Restaurants
Local fare transformed into creative dishes indulged in with a picturesque riverside view: that’s what Gisborne’s fine dining is all about. For instance, enjoy impeccably-presented plates and French-inspired cuisine at The Marina Restaurant. Or, for more casual fine dining yet still elegant with quality fare, book a table at The Works. Finally, enjoy the delectable bistro menu of the USSCo in the historic Union Steam Ship Company building. For more recommendations, browse The Foodie Guide to Gisborne.
Location: The Marina Restaurant – 1 Vogel Street. The Works – 41 The Esplanade. USSCo – 16 Childers Road.
More About Luxury in Gisborne
That’s it for the best luxury activities in Gisborne. Find even more tips to make your luxury getaway exceptional in The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand.