Getting There & Getting Around
By Plane -- Air New Zealand Link (tel. 06/867-1608; www.airnewzealand.co.nz) operates daily flights from major New Zealand cities. For airport transport, call Link Shuttles (tel. 06/867-4765).
By Coach (Bus) -- InterCity (tel. 09/623-1503) offers daily bus service to Gisborne from Auckland, Wellington, and Rotorua. Coachrite (tel. 06/868-9969) travels to Hastings Monday through Friday. City buses operate Monday through Friday only, but Gisborne is better explored by car or taxi.
By Shuttle -- Shuttle buses provide transportation around East Cape between Opotiki and Gisborne. They leave daily from the visitor centers in both towns, which can provide information on schedules and fares.
By Taxi -- Call the Gisborne Taxi Society (tel. 06/867-2222).
By Car -- No matter which route you take to Gisborne - via East Cape, via Waioweka Gorge, or via Napier - you're in for a long and winding drive. The most interesting way, via East Cape, is also by far the longest. To make the most of the rich culture and stunning scenery in this area, you really need to stop overnight halfway (at Te Kaha or Hicks Bay, perhaps). Otherwise, be prepared to be on the road for 8 to 10 hours once you leave Opotiki. Also be very alert to stray animals and horsemen on these roads; and make sure you pick up the very informative Pacific Coast Highway guide from visitor centers. It's free, and it gives a good introduction to all the settlements you pass through.
Gisborne is on the northern shore of Poverty Bay, where the Waimata and Taruheru come together to form the Turanganui River, the country?s shortest river at just 1,200m (3,900 ft.). The city center is compact. Gladstone Road is the main thoroughfare. Centennial Marine Drive runs from the bustling port area around the bay to the mouth of the Waipaoa River. Most of the best restaurants are around the port area at the north end of Gladstone Road.
Opotiki lies at the eastern end of Bay of Plenty. It is the gateway to the East Cape Road, which is the final leg of the Pacific Coast Highway (St. Hwy. 35).
Wairoa, 99km (61 miles) south of Gisborne at the mouth of the Wairoa River, is the gateway to the wilderness areas of Urewera National Park and Lake Waikaremoana. The 3-day tramp around the lake is one of the Department of Conservation?s Great Walks of New Zealand.
The Gisborne i-SITE Visitor Centre, 209 Grey St., across from Pizza Hut (tel. 06/868-6139; fax 06/868-6138; www.gisbornenz.com), is open daily from 8:30am to 5pm (closed Dec 25). You can also find information on the area at www.eastlandnz.com, www.destinationgisborne.co.nz, and www.pacificcoast.co.nz.
The Wairoa i-SITE Visitor Centre is at the corner of State Highway 2 and Queen Street, Wairoa (tel. 06/838-7440; fax 06/838-3901; www.wairoadc.govt.nz); it?s open weekdays 8am to 5pm, and weekends 9:45am to 10:45am and 3:15pm to 4pm. The Opotiki i-SITE Visitor Centre, at the corner of Elliot and St. John streets, Opotiki (tel. 07/315-3031; fax 07/315-3032; www.opotikinz.com), is open in summer 9am to 4:30pm daily, and in winter, Monday to Friday 9am to 4:30pm, weekends 9am to 1:30pm.
The Gisborne post office is at 166 Gladstone Rd. (tel. 06/867-8220). It's open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. For Internet access, inquire at visitor centers , though keep in mind that the Gisborne Library (www.gpl.govt.nz) in Peel Street has free wireless Internet.