I'm lucky to say I've travelled to some of the more beautiful parts of the country. I've shivered down in Queenstown, been lashed by wild waves on the west coast, and sunned myself on some of the best beaches the country has to offer.
But I'm ashamed to say until last month I had never been to Gisborne.
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It's one of those places I just always had the "it will always be there" mentality. I had heard vague rumours of good wine, good food and good beaches but it was never at the forefront of my mind as a Place To Go ™.
But having spent two days soaking up the sunshine, seafood and smiles - I'm already planning my next trip back to Tairawhiti.
Here are my picks for your next trip to Gizzy:
Get on board the waka
For a full immersion into Gisborne's cultural history, go on board Waka Voyagers Tairawhiti. If you're lucky enough to have Seda Procter welcome you and take you through the most engaging history lesson you've ever had, you're in for a treat.
Hit the helicopter
If the budget allows, get up into the skies. We were lucky enough to be collected from the front lawn of our beautiful accommodation by chopper - now my preferred way to travel (just joking).
If you can afford it by getting a group together, it's the best way to take in the diversity of the coastline - mountains, golden sand beaches and rolling vineyards. As we were there for a wine event it was amazing to see the respective vineyards from above, putting into perspective the time and labour that it takes for upkeep!
Gisborne from above is truly spectacular, and there are a couple of chopper companies that you can contact.
Eat and Drink:
Once you step off your waka, you're bound to be in the mood for a bite. Crawford Road Kitchen has beautiful fresh food, and of course, an extensive wine list. Their food is designed to be shared, so grab some friends and grab a table overlooking the harbour. If you're a fan of kaimoana, I would highly recommend the smoked salmon and roasted vegetables.
Gisborne also has some of the best wine you can get your hands on - we were there for the Chardonnay Affair and there was no better place for a crash course in Chardy education. You can find my top pics here.
If Chardonnay isn't your thing the region also has some amazing aromatics like Gewürztraminers and nicely perfumed Rieslings.
If you're with a group, or it's a very special occasion, look no further than The Blackhouse. We were lucky enough to stay here during our time and it truly feels like where Jay Z and Beyoncé might stay if they were to visit: luxurious, comfortable, but still understated.
From the house you get 360 degree views of the surrounding mountainside and ocean - the first place in the world to see the sunlight. Enjoy a wine or two around the fire, and get farm owner and host Digby to take you up the back of the farm - both an exhilarating and beautiful way to see the property.
Sarah travelled to Gisborne courtesy of the Chardonnay Affair.