Congratulations, you've already made the most important decision about your Gisborne holiday: travelling by plane. Geographical isolation is definitely part of Eastland's charm but boy, many's the fanbelt / mixtape / relationship that's been destroyed while trying to get there by car.
The Gisborne area holds a very special place in our history. Did you know this was where Captain Cook first set foot in New Zealand, in 1769? Even more amazingly, the place he landed is called Cook's Cove. How much of a coincidence is that? Even if you find history boring (and if you're learning all this stuff for the first time from us, we're going to assume you do), the cove is really beautiful - you can walk to it from nearby Tolaga Bay via a natural rock cavern.
Gisborne is the first city in the world to see the sun, unless it's overcast like it was on the morning of 1 January, 2000. Bummer - oh well, at least all our computers didn't rise up and destroy us like people said they would. Where were we? Oh yes, the first city to see the sun: it sticks around quite a lot too, which is good for sunbathing and making wine. Not at the same time, obviously. Wow, this guide is really going off the rails.
Speaking of rails, check out the vintage steam train, which takes you on a spectacular three hour beach loop along the East Coast. The website describes the timetable as 'occasional', so you'd best check with the tourism office when you get there.
Other highlights in the area include bathing amongst nikau palms at the Morere Hot Springs, zooming down the natural rockslide near Rere falls, or heading up Kaiti hill for an incredible view of Gisborne and the surrounding region. The township looks good up close, too - there are plenty of heritage buildings, lots of pretty gardens and a spot where three rivers converge, which is lit up by coloured lights at night. Romantic, right? Look, if you can't get any action after taking your date to look at that, then we can't help you.