The Gisborne Food Guide
Welcome to sunny Gisborne! Not only is it the first city in New Zealand (and the world) to greet the sun each day, but its sunny dry climate combined with sheltered fertile plains makes it a productive fruit and grape-growing region. With that, it produces some of the most premium wines, cider and even craft beer in the country. It’s also a place where you won’t mind eating out every day, with foodie hidden gems scattered throughout the city, from fine dining restaurants on the riverside to cafes specialising in creative donuts!
So, discover the food tours, experiences and even places to stay with this ultimate foodie guide to Gisborne.
Things to Do in Gisborne for Foodies
- Check out the wineries around Gisborne
- Try craft beer at the Sunshine Brewery
- Taste cider and watch it being made at the Harvest Cidery
- Mingle with the locals at the Gisborne Farmers’ Market
- Take a wine tour by road or by bike
- Try it all at the Gisborne Wine Centre
- Dine out at Gisborne’s delectable eateries
- Hit one of Gisborne’s wine or beer festivals.
For elaboration on each experience, check out the 8 Things to Do in Gisborne for Foodies.
Foodie Activities in Gisborne
In Gisborne, it’s all about the drink. Wine, beer and cider are at the forefront of the Gisborne food experience thanks to the region’s idyllic fruit and grape-growing conditions combined with local talent.
Visitors can enjoy checking out the region’s wineries, cidery and brewery independently or hop on one of the driving tours that are typically available for cruise ship passengers through operators like Wright Wines and Archer Tours. Cycle Gisborne offers bike hire and either a guided or self-guided tour to Gisborne’s vineyards on their Vineyard Tour including three wine tastings and a vineyard lunch.
If you want to check out the wineries independently, then there are a few amazing ones to visit with cellar door tastings and more. First, head to Millton Vineyards & Winery (119 Papatu Road, Manutuke), which is New Zealand’s first organic and biodynamic wine estate. They are open Monday to Saturday for tastings and delectable platters. Nearby is Wrights Vineyard and Winery (1093 Wharerata Road), a family-owned winery whose cellar doors are open between October and April or by appointment.
Another wine area to explore is that around Matawhero, starting with Matawhero Wines (RD1/189 Riverpoint Road, Matawhero), which boasts a rustic outdoor dining setting to try their wines and platters. Nearby, check out the Bridge Estate Vineyard (16 Riverpoint Road, Matawhero), open Wednesday to Sunday. Bushmere Estate (166 Main Road, Makaraka) offers a more fine wining and dining experience at their Vines restaurant. For more information on some of our favourite wineries, check out the 7 Best Breweries & Wineries in Gisborne.
For beer and cider tasting, both your options are within the city, such as the Sunshine Brewery (49 Awapuni Road, Awapuni). Taste their craft beer in some of the most generous tasting tray portions in New Zealand (make sure you have a designated driver). They also offer casual brewery tours on request. If you prefer cider, the Harvest Cidery (91 Customhouse Street) offers free cider tastings in their shop, while upstairs is a mini-museum and a viewing area into the cidery.
For more on the Gisborne Wine Centre, the farmers’ market and food festivals, check out the 8 Things to Do in Gisborne for Foodies.
The Best Restaurants in Gisborne
From breakfast to dinner, Gisborne has many fantastic eateries to excite the senses. The Flagship Eatery (14 Childers Road) is a cool little venue with exposed brick walls, bridge red doors and a delectable menu of eggs benedict, cajun lemon tofu scramble and house-made crumpets.
For something special for dinner, head to the world-inspired Globe (1 Vogel Street). The riverside restaurant is the city’s premium fine dining venue with a menu consisting of sharing plates influenced by five continents. The Works (41 The Esplanade) offers more casual fine dining yet still elegant serving up the latest seasonal offerings with something to suit carnivores to vegetarians. A stunning place to watch the sunset and try Gisborne wines is at the Crawford Road Kitchen (Esplanade Inner Harbour) with plates designed to be shared.
Finally, for sweet treats, check out Curbside Kitchen (9 Ballance Street, Whataupoko) for its creative range of in-house-made donuts or Village Berries (126 Ormond Road, Whataupoko) for to try some of New Zealand’s favourite dessert – real-fruit ice cream!
For more fine dining recommendations, check out The Luxury Guide to Gisborne. More romantic restaurant suggestions can be found in The Honeymoon Guide to Gisborne. And cheap eats in The Guide to Gisborne on a Budget.
Alternative Things to Do in Gisborne
It may sound crazy, but there’s more to Gisborne than wining and dining. There’s actually a lot of culture, history and stunning scenery to unpack, so make sure you fill up your itinerary with some of these activities too:
- Meet and feed the stingrays at Dive Tatapouri
- Check out the trees at the Eastwoodhill Arboretum
- Learn to surf on Waikanae Beach
- Ride a vintage steam train
- Learn about the local history and culture at the Tairawhiti Museum
- Hit the walking trails, like the Town Beach Walkway, Gray’s Bush Scenic Reserve and more
- Play Gisborne-themed mini golf!
For more information on these experiences, check out the 10 Awesome Things to Do in Gisborne.