Gisborne, renowned as the first city in the world to see the sun, is in Poverty Bay in the North Island. It’s a beautiful location, at the confluence of three rivers and near the sharp white cliffs of Young Nick’s Head. It’s also the first place in New Zealand where Europeans set foot, and there’s a monument at the historic Cook Landing Site.
Nearby Mount Hikurangi, which belongs to the local Ngati Porou tribe, is the first place touched by sunlight every day, and many tourists consider the sight worth the climb.
For tourists of a historical bent, Gisborne provides Tairawhiti Museum at Wyllie Cottage, and the Maritime Museum which features the remains of the Star of Canada which sank nearby in 1912.
The restored WA165 steam train runs from Gisborne to Muriwai and back.
Tours will also take you to Whangara, where the movie Whale Rider was shot.
Gisborne is also one of New Zealand’s chief wine growing regions, and vineyards offer tours and tastings.