Being one of the less-visited parts of New Zealand probably makes Gisborne all the more worth a visit. Gisborne is 203 mi/328 km east of Taupo.

The Gisborne region was one of the first places in New Zealand settled by Maori and was also the site of Capt. Cook's first landing in 1769. Famed for being the first place in the world to greet the rising sun each day, Gisborne is also known for its vineyards and wineries; its climate is said to be one of the best in the country.

Unofficially known as the chardonnay capital of New Zealand, Gisborne also is host for the annual Rhythm and Vines Music Festival held at the end of the year. The three-day festival features a variety of music including rap, house, R&B and electronic dance. It attracts about 30,000 people.

Lake Waikaremoana in the Te Urewera National Park is one of New Zealand's great walks. It is also the homeland of the fiercely independent Tuhoe tribe. In fact, the entire East Cape region has a strong Maori focus. Driving along the coastal road, you will pass rural marae, or meeting places (do not enter without invitation), and predominantly Maori villages above the many beaches and bays. Gisborne offers great surfing on the strong Pacific swells.

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