Known for its rich Maori culture, spectacular surf beaches and delicious food and wine, Gisborne is an ideal place for a seaside retreat. Gisborne is bathed in warmth and sunshine, giving you plenty of time to enjoy a day by the water. You’ll have numerous beaches to choose from for sunbathing, swimming, family time and surfing or other water sports, all within reach of the city. Many of Gisborne’s beaches are near nature reserves and coastal walking trails, so you’ll have an excellent experience in the heart of the natural New Zealand landscape. Find out all about the best Gisborne beaches to plan your trip.

Wainui Beach for watersports

Popular with surfers and water sports enthusiasts, Wainui Beach is a big beach with strong waves and large rips and holes. The beach offers a lot of challenges for experienced surfers and sportsmen looking to canoe, kayak and wind- or kitesurf. If you want to swim, you’ll find patrolled areas with services from the Wainui Beach Surf Life Saving Club during the summer. For families, the beach offers food and beverage kiosks, public toilets and a children’s playground.

Makorori Beach for activities by the water

If you want a lot of beach activities, Makorori Beach is one of the best places. The beach has excellent surf and sheltered swimming spots, quiet picnic areas and plenty of rock pools for kids to explore. You can also go for a horseback ride on the sand or snorkel in the water to see unique marine life. If you want to see more of the landscape, the Makorori Headland has a coastal cliff walk that travels along the Mahia Peninsula.

Pouawa for a relaxing retreat

Pouawa is a popular beach area with golden sands and quiet waters for swimming and wading. The beach has a campsite that’s open for the season to stay overnight. The Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve is located on the northern end of the beach and offers nature walks, diving excursions and fishing spots for the whole family.

Tatapouri Beach for family beach days

Located on Tatapouri Bay, Tatapouri Beach is a quiet beach near a family-friendly holiday park with scenic surroundings. The waters are calm and gentle, perfect for little ones to swim. You can camp at the beach for more time on the sand. Tatapouri Beach also has Dive Tatapouri, a tour operator that offers reef ecology tours, snorkelling and stingray encounters.

Turihaua for fishing with the kids

Turihaua Beach is a popular swimming beach for families and couples. You can relax on the sand while the kids enjoy the calm, shallow waters and play. Fishing is also popular at Turihaua, and you’ll find several prime fishing spots along the shore to make memories with the kids. If you want to stay overnight, Turihaua Point has freedom camping during the season.

Sponge Bay for beginner watersports

Sponge Bay is a quiet beach surrounded by stunning sandy cliffs. The cliffs provide a shelter from the wind, creating calm waters for swimming, especially with kids. The beach is known for its beginner-friendly surf breaks and the nearby Tuamotu Island. You can paddle to the island to experience the more powerful waves created by the reef breaks near the island shore.

Waikanae Beach for family amenities

Waikanae Beach is a popular swimming beach for families. The beach has many amenities, including a playground, tennis courts and a promenade that leads to the memorial statue of James Cook. There’s also a nature reserve alongside Waikanae Beach Holiday Park for outdoor recreation. Other popular activities at Waikanae Beach include kitesurfing, sea kayaking, surfing and waterskiing.

Kaiti Beach for historic wonders

Kaiti Beach is a historic beach that was the first landing site of the Horouta waka and James Cook. The pebbly beach offers stunning scenery and a nearby nature reserve where you can walk along the coast to see the views from lookout points. You’ll also come across World War II gun emplacement sites along the way. The beach has a boat ramp with ocean access, and the wind and waves are ideal for waterskiing, slaloming and wave sailing.

Midway Beach for swimming with children

Midway Beach is located near the city and is a popular beach for residents. The beach is well patrolled by the Midway Surf Life Saving Club during the summer months, and you can find safe swimming areas for casual swimmers and families. Water sports enthusiasts enjoy Midway Beach for its surfing, water- and jet-skiing, canoeing, kayaking and wind- or kitesurfing. The beach has numerous facilities, including refreshments, changing rooms, public toilets and a children’s playground.