Now is the best time to plan your trip to Tairāwhiti. We’ve put together a list of some of the most classic experiences that should be top of your list, and thinking about them now will no doubt brighten your day.
It wouldn’t be a New Zealand summer without the great Kiwi road trip. Whether you’re coming from the north or the south, driving to and through Tairāwhiti is a treat! Loading the car up, making an epic playlist and embarking on an adventure to take in the stunning landscapes of our beautiful country is one of the best summer experiences – especially when you stumble across new places and things to see.
This road trip is an ode to the unique charm and beauty that Tairāwhiti has to offer. Immerse yourself in the rich Maori culture, indulge in the region's exquisite cuisine, and experience the warmth and hospitality of the locals. Whether you're exploring the golden beaches, venturing into lush rainforests, or tasting the world-renowned wines of the area, you won’t regret adding Tairāwhiti to your road trip route!
Fish & Chips at Wainui Beach
Take the long way round! The Pacific Coast Highway is the ultimate Kiwi Road Trip, it starts in Ōpōtiki or Gisborne and winds it's around the stunning East Coast There is plenty to see and do on your 2-3 day journey down the Coast – check out the interactive map below which will help show you all the stunning spots along SH35.
Stop off at Café 35 in Tokomaru Bay and try one of their famous pāua pies, or check out the legendary Kaiaua Beach Horse Races which takes place between Christmas and New Years and is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the region and meet some of the passionate locals.
The fishing at Tolaga Bay is also pretty good, so make sure to pack your fishing rod, and if you’re not a fisherman – go for a walk down the 660m wharf!
Need some inspiration? Check out our itinerary: Discover Highway 35 in 3 days.
Your East Coast roadie wouldn’t be complete without stopping and soaking up the unique charm of Gisborne, the vibrant heart of the East Coast. It’s the perfect place to base yourself (and take a break from the car!) to explore the wider area. With its flourishing wineries, delectable eateries, charming boutique shops, and captivating heritage trails, this place has it all. Immerse yourself in authentic Māori culture and discover the rich traditions that make Gisborne truly special.
From unique railbike experiences to sting ray encounters, cycle tours though to an afternoon sipping wine at one of our many wineries - there really is plenty to see and do in Gisborne.
View from Kaiti Hill overlooking Waikanae Beach
Heading south from Gisborne towards the Hawke's Bay you’ll discover the stunning Māhia Peninsula. This idyllic coastal destination offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and tranquillity. With its pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rugged cliffs, Māhia Peninsula is a paradise for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, check out the Mokotahi Lookout for stunning views of the East Coast, or try out the new Mahia Scenic Reserve Track which you can enjoy on foot or bike, there is even a Railbike experience you can enjoy!
For a taste of local culture, visit the Mahia Store and Café, The Rocket Café for great coffee, enjoy the food trucks in the weekends, and make the most the Māhia seaside market – every Sunday morning during summer.
Renowned for its award-winning wineries and vineyards, our neighbouring region of Hawke's Bay is another great destination to add to your summer holiday plans! Beyond the vineyards, explore the vibrant city of Napier, famous for its Art Deco architecture and charming waterfront. Immerse yourself in the region's history by visiting the fascinating museums and heritage sites or embark on scenic drives through picturesque countryside and coastal routes.