Why go to Gisborne?
Wineries, beaches and lovely river walks
Tendering can be a slow process when the wind is up and the bay is choppy
Book ahead to make the most of your visit to this rarely visited gem
Gisborne Cruise Port Facilities?
Gisborne is a tender port. Ships anchor in Poverty Bay with passengers tendered to the Inner Harbour, which is part of Eastland Port. This sheltered waterway is flanked by a marina dotted with yachts, new apartment buildings and a handful of restaurants. The harbour has several piers and sheds; most passengers will arrive on the wharf near Shed 3, which houses the excellent Gisborne Wine Centre. Apart from offering tastings and sales of wines of the region, its restaurant serves lunch and dinner. The Esplanade (a road) runs behind Shed 3 and from where passengers can pick up shuttle buses into the town, and also board the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus known as the Hopper Bus. Passengers are greeted with a Maori performance and once out of the port area, volunteer city ambassadors are often on hand to help with directions.
The cruise companies set up a marquee at the wharf manned by staff. It's an easy 10 to 15-minute walk to the city centre -- turn left when exiting the wharf at the Esplanade, then turn left again at Wainui Road, walk across the pedestrian bridge and you're there. Cafes near the port and marina offer Wi-Fi. The city's HB Williams Memorial Library, in Peel Street, has computers with free internet connection.
Good to Know?
Jumping off the old railway bridge (also called the train tracks bridge) is a ritual in Gisborne. Kids and young-at-heart adults line up to jump into the river below for fun and the amusement of visitors. The bridge is a short walk from Eastland Port.
On Foot: It's an easy 500m walk into Gisborne from the port, and most attractions such as the Tairawhiti Museum and the Riverside Walk are close to the I-Site visitors centre. The town centre is small enough to easily stroll around. A car is needed if intending to visit the east coast beaches some 10km to 20km away.
By shuttle bus: A free shuttle takes passengers the short distance into town from the port to the town's I-Site visitor centre.
By Taxi: Pick up taxis in the town centre. Some may also be waiting at the port. As drivers may not take credit cards, always check first. (Gisborne Taxi Society 06 867 2222)
By Bus: A Hopper Bus (hop-on-hop-off) makes a one-hour loop from the wharf, leaving every 20 minutes or so. The bus stops at various tourist attractions including the Botanic Gardens, the museum and the craft market at Treble Court. Cost is A$10.
By Bicycle: Mountain bikes, commuter bikes, electric bikes and tandems are available for rent for two hours or half a day on weekdays and Saturday mornings at reasonable rates. (422 Gladstone Road, Gisborne, 06 867 4444 or 027 4713929; www.bikeys.co.nz) Other operators may also have rental bikes at the wharf.
Private tours: Independent travellers may find local tour operators at the port although it's best to book them in advance. Gisborne Tours runs trips to wineries and includes many of the city sights. Tailor-made tours can also be arranged. (Gisborne Tours; 021 204 1080; www.gisbornetours.nz).
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). Visit www.xe.com for current rates. Credit cards are widely accepted, although some taxis may not take them. ATMs are the best way to get local currency and there are several of these in town, at the banks (such as the ANZ Bank, Westpac and Bank of New Zealand) and other retail outlets such as petrol stations.
English is the official language. Many of the names of attractions are Maori and signs and instructions may be printed in both languages. The Gisborne and Eastland region of New Zealand has a strong Maori population.