There are a number of interesting towns and attractions in the Gisborne surrounding area.
The arboretum, 50km west of Gisborne, is best reached via the Ruakaka Road. Its delightful landscaped gardens contain about 2500 species of tree indigenous to the northern hemisphere.
Church, Matawhero, New Zealand
The church at Matawhero, 7km west of Gisborne, is the oldest church in the region. Constructed of kauri wood, it was built in 1862 as a storehouse for Captain Read, one of the early settlers, and 10 years later was converted into an Anglican church, bought by the Presbyterians in 1872. It was the only building spared by Te Kooti when he ravaged the area in 1868.
Manutuke, New Zealand
14km southwest of Gisborne is Manutuke, with two beautifully carved 19th C meeting houses. The bargeboards on the roof of the Te Mana-ki-Turanga house (1883) show the god Tane separating the sky from the earth and Maui drawing his great fish out of the sea. The Te Hau-ki-Turanga house (1842) that formerly stood nearby is now in the National Museum in Wellington. The other one still in Manutuke, Te Poho Rukupo, was built in 1887 in honor of the Maori chief Rupuko, who was famed as a woodcarver.
Rongopai, New Zealand
At Rongopai, 20km northwest of Gisborne, is a meeting house built in great haste (1888) when a visit from the Maori leader Te Kooti, who had been pardoned by the government, was expected - though he did not in fact turn up. The paintings in the interior, with their range of colors, show a radical break with Maori tradition and strong European influences. When the house was built older Maoris are said to have been appalled by the work of their younger artists.
The wild Rere Falls are located along a picturesque lake area.
North of Gisborne, along the road to the East Cape, are a series of beautiful beaches: Wainui Beach (5km), Makorori (14km), Whangara (28km), Waihau (45km) and Tolaga Bay (55km).
Morere, New Zealand
At Morere, 60km south of Gisborne on Highway 2, are hot springs. The area lies within a nature reserve.
The Mahia Peninsula, a hilly promontory projecting south into the sea, separates Hawke's Bay, to the south, from Poverty Bay. Here, some 80km south of Gisborne, are a number of beautiful beaches and peaceful holiday places.