From coastal walkways to historic railways, boutique cinemas and famous vineyards, we've picked five things that locals love to do in Gisborne.
1. Dome Cinema and Bar Restaurant
Squishy bean bags and old leather sofas provide a delightfully-eclectic mix of modern, chic, casual and old elegance at the Dome Cinema and Bar Restaurant. Recently rated one of the 10 coolest dine-in cinemas in the world by Jetsetter magazine, it was the only one selected in Australasia. The Dome, described as 'a funky 1920s speakeasy', joins Cinema Studio 28 in Paris and The Montpelier’s Backroom Cinema in London on the exclusive list.
2. Millton Vineyards and Winery
James and Annie Millton established Millton Vineyards and Winery in 1984. A small family artisan winegrower, Millton’s was the first producer in New Zealand to achieve Bio-Gro certification for organic wine production in 1989 and gained the biodynamic certification Demeter in 2009. This involves growing grapes without the use of herbicide, insecticide, systemic fungicides or soluble fertilisers. It also incorporates the use of herbal, mineral and animal preparations, as well as a deep understanding of the ‘complex cosmic rhythms’ which affect these daily activities.
Millton Vineyards and Winery are members of international biodynamic group La Renaissance des Appellations and the New Zealand collaboration The Family of Twelve.
Millton’s wines are enjoyed all around the world but much of their international acclaim is for their chenin blanc, arguably one of the finest produced outside of the Loire Valley.
3. USSCo Bar & Bistro
We eat so well at home and at each other’s houses, it takes a lot to drag us out to a restaurant but for USSCo Bar & Bistro, we make an exception.
Located in a historic former shipping company building near the inner harbour, USSCo offers simple, seasonal and exceptionally-tasty food in a cosy, relaxed environment.
Award-winning owner and head chef Thomas Boyce updates the menu daily according to seasonal availability, using locally-sourced produce, meat and seafood wherever possible. USSCo Bar & Bistro is a regular winner in Cuisine magazine’s Good Food Guide and the establishment was also included in The Great New Zealand Cookbook. Everything on the menu is superb but the roasted duck with fondant kumara and rocket with yoghurt dressing is divine.
4. WA 165
Several times a year, the Gisborne City Vintage Railway take their pride and joy, Wa 165, out of the shed for a run. Built in Dunedin’s Hillside Workshops in 1897, the steam train is the only remaining Wa class engine in New Zealand. International cruise ship passengers go ga-ga over the fact the train pulls up at the wharf and puffs its way across a harbour bridge and the airport runway to a powhiri at a local primary school. There’s also an option to visit an organic winery en route.
5. Oneroa walkway
Accessible to all, the Oneroa Cycle and Walkway linking Waikanae Beach to Midway Beach is incredibly popular with visitors and locals alike. Since opening in August 2015, there’s been a steady stream of walkers, pushchairs, wheelchairs, trikes, cycles, scooters and walking frames trundling up and down the beachfront board and concrete path.
It’s just as well the path is flat and wide because there are many distractions – surfers and paddle boarders catching the perfect wave, children building sandcastles, ships coming into port, competitions at the tennis courts, the sheers cliffs of Young Nick’s Head stark white against the blue-green sea and sunrises and sunsets to take your breath away.