Today we’re looking at Gisborne in New Zealand to discover everything it offers and the types of property you can get for your money.

Located on New Zealand’s easternmost tip, Gisborne is a region known for its spectacular coastline, excellent surf breaks and fishing spots, thick woodland national parks and as a centre for agriculture and wine. Sounds pretty perfect to us! Plus, Gisborne itself, the region’s only city, is one of the first in the world to see the sunshine – a lovely touch for you early risers. Today we’re looking at the region and discussing what it offers those looking for a new life in New Zealand.

Gisborne is known for having some of the country’s best beaches and coastal scenery.

What is life in Gisborne like?

Gisbourne offers an affordable, outdoor lifestyle.

Gisbourne offers an affordable, outdoor lifestyle.

Gisborne is located in the very north of the North Island, around seven hours drive from Auckland, and three hours from Rotorua. Gisborne City has a population of 37,000. Kaiti Beach is where Captain Cook first made landfall back in 1769, although settlement of the area by Europeans didn’t begin until much later in the mid 1850’s. Around half the population of the region are Māori, so it’s certainly an interesting place to see both sides of New Zealand’s culture.

A big part of planning your move to Gisborne will be working out your budget and how to safely transfer your money over. Find out more in The Currency Guide to Emigration, free to download.

The area is known for having some of the country’s best beaches and coastal scenery. There are excellent surf breaks, the beaches are generally safe and sandy and there is a distinct lack of crowds, which can be a problem in more frequently visited corners of the country. Inland from the coast, the region is covered in thick mountainous bush – much of it impenetrable, apart from the stunning area surrounding Lake Waikaremoana, which is in the south west. Camping is popular, around the Lake and along the coast. Visitors and residents can also enjoy exploring the area’s vineyards – Gisborne is particularly well known for being the ‘Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand’. As is often the case with regions close to the ocean that know a good glass of wine, you can expect to enjoy some truly excellent seafood in this corner of the country.

Some of the biggest areas for grape-growing and wine production include Ormond, home to the famous ‘golden slope’, where some of the best chardonnay is produced. Patutahi and Manutuke produce excellent Gewürztraminer.

View of Gisborne Main Street

Who should live in Gisborne?

Gisborne is an excellent option for people who want the best of both worlds in that they want to live rurally, and by the beach. Much of the region is untouched countryside, meaning you can find affordable plots with plenty of land and wonderful views. While it is a very rural spot, the main city of Gisborne itself has all the amenities you need – supermarkets, speciality stores, cafes and a growing number of high-end restaurants.

Gisborne is largely relatively flat, so that combined with its unspoilt countryside makes it perfect for cycling enthusiasts, and you’ve got fantastic surfing on Wainui Beach.

Gisborne is particularly well known for being the ‘Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand’.

What are property prices like?

It’s certainly good news for any investors. Gisborne property prices were the highest nationwide in summer 2019, with median prices jumping up to $400,000. Interestingly, auction is a popular method of buying here, with as many as 40% of homes being sold by this method.

If you want to buy a home in the Gisborne region for an affordable price, you’re going to need all your negotiating skills. Download our guide: How to Negotiate Abroad for advice and insider tips from an estate agent.

Employment opportunities

The biggest industry in these parts is agriculture – and in particular, viticulture. Gisborne’s combination of fertile clay soil and lots of sunny days makes it perfect for growing grapes that are eventually transformed into delicious Malbec’s, Merlot’s, Pinot Gris and Viognier’s. Horticulture, farming, fishing and forestry are also big employers.


Gisborne has a delightful climate – lots of dry long sunny (beach perfect) days. You can expect warm summers and mild winters. In summer, the average temperature dances around 23-25°C, and around 14-15°C in winter.

Download the New Zealand Buying Guide today

The New Zealand Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to:

  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

Download your free guide to buying in New Zealand

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