The Gisborne Region is where Europeans first landed in New Zealand, yet it remains one of the most isolated areas in the North Island today. The Cape, as it is affectionately known, contains rugged landscapes combined with expansive beaches. The region also experiences the warmest summer temperatures in in the North Island due to being in a rain shadow and protected by the prevailing westerly winds. The warn-dry climate lends itself to wine production and today there many vineyards in the region producing world class wines.
The main city in the region is Gisborne which is known as the the first city in the world to see each new day due to being the closest city in the world to the international dateline. Besides being the first to see the sunrise each day, the city is renown for its beaches and sun and surf lifestyle. The result is a city with a laid back feel to it and a favourite holiday destination for New Zealanders looking for sand, surf, and warmer weather.
Maori life is evident in the East Cape. There are carved meeting houses, Maori churches, and Maori communities speaking their native language, Maoritanga. This region is where the famous movie, Whale Rider was filmed.
The Te Urewera Ranges are the main mountain ranges. Within these mountains lie the biggest area of native forest in the North Island, protected under the name of Urewera National Park.
Visiting the East Cape not only gives you access to many great pacific beaches and tracts of native forest, but there is a real sense of history with a predominate Maori culture and memorials dotted around the coast dedicated to European explorers such as Abel Tasman and James Cook who first landed in this region when they discovered New Zealand.