8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© Matt Crawford - Tourism New Zealand
8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne

10 Best Luxury Experiences in Gisborne

© Matt Crawford – Tourism New Zealand

Luxury Activities and 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 experiences in Gisborne.

For more advice on planning your Gisborne getaway, see The Luxury Guide to Gisborne and find a place to stay in the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Gisborne. Plus, see a whole range of Gisborne listings and specials at GisborneCity.co.nz.

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 guided tour. You’ll be transported by Jeep across the arboretum’s highlights and hidden gems.

Location: 2392 Wharekopae Road, Ngatapa, approximately 34 km (21 mi) from Gisborne city centre.

8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© NZPocketGuide.com

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 many productive wine regions of New Zealand. Taste for yourself by visiting the region’s cellar doors. Bushmere Estate offers wine tastings, coffee and lunch. Enjoy the rustic charm of the Matawhero Wines cellar door with a cool underground cellar and irresistible platters. Be sure to check the seasonal opening hours of these cellar doors’ before you set off. We have a lot more cellar doors listed in the 7 Best Breweries & Wineries in Gisborne.

If you want to taste it all and not travel too far, however, the Gisborne Wine Centre (Crawford Road Kitchen) 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. Matawhero – 189 Riverpoint Road, RD1. Gisborne Wine Centre – 3/50 Esplanade, Gisborne city.

8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© NZPocketGuide.com

3. 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 129 km (80 mi) from Gisborne city centre.

8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© Matt Crawford - Tourism New Zealand

4. See Gisborne’s Top Sights Accompanied by Fine Food with Experience Gisborne

Don’t miss a thing in Gisborne, whether it’s the culinary highlights or the surrounding waterfalls, arboretum or Tolaga Bay, by enjoying a guided tour with Experience Gisborne. Wine tours, food tours, sightseeing tours and even cycle tours; they do it all! You can even have tours specially curated, so don’t be shy to let the team know what’s on your Gisborne wishlist.

Location: Pick-ups are available from Gisborne accommodations.

8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Pamper Yourself at a Gisborne Day Spa

Wait out a rainy day or ease the usual travel pains with a rejuvenating spa treatment in Gisborne. The city has plenty to choose from between the kawakawa soak and massage menu of Ora Day Spa and the innovative float pods, compression boots and infrared sauna of Rest Float Spa & Wellness Centre.

Location: Ora Day Spa – 155 Grey Street. Rest Float Spa & Wellness Centre – 1/32 Grey Street.

8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Indulge in a Premium Movie Experience at the Dome Cinema

With a beautifully lit historic building, staff tucking you into ultra-cosy beanbags and pizza and wine delivered to your seat, the Dome Cinema easily makes the most indulgent cinema in New Zealand. Watch classic and new releases in arthouse cinema at this premium take on a classic evening experience. For more ideas ideal for date night, check out the 10 Romantic Things to Do in Gisborne.

Location: Corner of Childers Road and Customhouse Street, Gisborne city centre.

8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© NZPocketGuide.com

7. Ride Through Bush and River with Riverview Treks

Discover what beauty hides behind the hills surrounding Gisborne on a horse riding excursion with Riverview Treks & Pinehollow Riding School. Just 20 minutes from town, Riverview offers trails and horses to suit a range of riding abilities, along with qualified guides. Enjoy exciting river crossings and an amazing observation point with magnificent views of Gisborne and the surrounding countryside.

Location: 2424 Matawai Road, approximately 29 km (18 mi) from Gisborne city centre.

8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© NZPocketGuide.com

8. 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 casual fine dining yet still elegant with quality fare, book a table at The Works. Alternatively, enjoy the delectable bistro menu of the USSCo in the historic Union Steam Ship Company building. Finally, for an upscale brunch, delight in all things seasonal, sustainable and homemade at Flagship Eatery with creative brunch bowls, Vietnamese rice pancakes and more. For more recommendations, browse The Food Guide to Gisborne.

Location: The Works – 41 The Esplanade. USSCo – 16 Childers Road. Flagship Eatery – 14 Childers Road, Gisborne city centre.

8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© Pixabay

9. Immerse in the Maori Culture with Tipuna Tours

[Update: Availability of this tour has been significantly reduced].

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 are available from Gisborne accommodations.

8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© Pxhere

10. Experience Gisborne from a Maori Waka Cruise

[Update: Availability of this tour has been significantly reduced].

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 Tairawhiti Waka 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 centre.

8 Luxury Activities in Gisborne© NZPocketGuide.com

More About Luxury in Gisborne

That’s it for the best luxury experiences in Gisborne. For more advice on planning the ultimate escape, take a look at these guides:

Find even more tips to make your luxury getaway exceptional in The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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