Love to discover the bohemian side of a city? Check out my guide with some slightly unusual, lesser-known spots to visit in Gisborne. Better still, grab a bike and do it eco-style with my savvy traffic tips and local knowledge.
I usually take my granny-style bike for smooth cycle-lane riding, and it's complete with a basket to stash fossicked loot.
This less-travelled trail will take about a day, or two if you really want to savour your time and do some treasure hunting while you're at it.
You can hire bikes from Cycle Gisborne at www.cyclegisborne.com for $35 for a half-day or $50 (adult price) all-day including helmets, panniers and lock. They also have tandems, mountain bikes and bikes for kids.
This trail takes in:
If you are hiring bikes, you'll be starting from Cycle Gisborne in the Ballance Street Village, Whataupoko. Alternatively, jump in at any of the destinations in bold and complete the loop numerically.
1. Park up your bike or before you hire one, have a mosey around the Ballance Street Village.
2. Beside Pharmacy 53, at 8 Ballance Street is Retro, Ro Darrall's treasure-trove of funky fashion, kitchenalia and furnishings from the 1950s, 60's and '70s. Winter hours are 9 am to 4 pm Tuesday to Friday, from 10 am to 1pm Saturdays. She's open every day from 9am to 5 pm during December and January. @retro.ro.gisborne
3. Time it right and Ro will be hosting the Saturday morning Upmarket in the parking area behind the pharmacy. From 11 am til 2 pm, three to four times a year, in the warmer months, a diverse array of local artisans, creators and peddlers offer their wares.
4. Check out the newest addition to the village - Toi Ake - a fabulous contemporary Maori art gallery. View Ta Moko in action. Peruse a selection of pounamu taonga, printing and painting from well known local artists, including Phil Berry, Maia Gibbs, Henare Brooking, Mark Kopua and more.
The gallery is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm. @toi.ake
5. Another newcomer, the Village Greengrocer, has an impeccably displayed assortment of fruit and vegetables. From the humble carrot to sublime finger limes, owner Wendy also offers free-range eggs, local olive oil and honey. Check out her fermentation kits, and enjoy baked treats from the @flagshipeatery. @village_greengrocer
6. Next, head up Ballance Street towards the river and turn left into Stout Street.
One block up on your right, there's a footbridge to ride over the Taraheru River to the Botanical Gardens.
There's a well-kept glasshouse here open to the public 8 am to 3:30 pm Monday to Friday. I love to visit this hot-house of cacti and dream they are mine.
7. From the parking area, head straight up Carnarvon Street until you see The Workshop on your right. Amy has a bijoux selection of vibrantly colourful, hand-made delights and homewares sourced from exotic locations. @gizzyamy_theworkshop
8. Need a caffeine hit? Turn right and cruise up Gladstone Road to the Roebuck roundabout, hanging right and another right again into Leith Street.
Ride right up to the counter at The Bean Genie, where you'll find my favourite barista Lincoln at work alongside his feline friend, Boo.
Local coffee roasters, Far East supply the Bean Genie and he's proud to say his product's all organic. Open from 7am to 3pm Monday to Friday, and 8 am to 2 pm Saturday.
Lincoln also runs Sweet Leith Studio with sessions for vinyl enthusiasts. Find out more on Facebook @SweetLeithStudio
9. Head back to that roundabout and go straight through. Turn left at the YMCA and ride along to number 398 Childers Road where you will find Pukuora. With a menu featuring Vegan, Keto, Vegetarian, fermented and gluten-free foods, you're sure to find perfect sustenance. www.pukuora.com
Just check you don't have to return hire bicycles before venturing further.
10. Continue along Childers Road until you reach the Poverty Bay Club on the corner of Childers and Lowe where there's a whole world of magic. Lock your bike up inside the gate.
Nine times out of ten, you'll catch a great movie at the wildly OTT boutique Dome Cinema. Bookings are almost always essential, also through Sally. You can relax with a beverage on a comfy beanbag, and the service is second to none.
You can order bar snacks and pizza from the Dome bar. Make a booking while you're there to come back and dine at Troff from 5 pm Wednesday to Saturday,or text Sally on 027 590 2117 and catch a movie too.
11. Depending on the hour, stop in at Siduri Wine Bar at 16 Peel Street and enjoy a glass of biodynamic wine or a cocktail. Or a bottle if you can keep your wheels in a straight line. I love their Millton Viognier, homegrown in Gisborne. Open from 3:30 pm till late Thursday, Friday and Monday and 5 pm at the weekends. @siduribar
Head south on Gladstone Road over the heritage-listed, William Petty Bridge onto Wainui Road. Turn right into Hirini Street towards Kaiti Hill.
12. Climb this thigh-toning rise for a sweet view at the brow, over the harbour and city. Continue around the base of Kaiti Hill, past the Cook National Historic Reserve monument, directly towards the beach.
13. A safe cycle-way starts opposite the Cook monument. Take this upsey downsy track to avoid tangling with logging trucks. This pops you out at the start of Kaiti Beach.
This spot is quiet and mostly only visited by locals. Stop and take a dip or you can venture up Kaiti Hill on foot via a myriad of pathways in Titirangi Reserve for spectacular views at the summit.
14. From Kaiti Beach, head back the way you came, down-hill to the T intersection with Wainui Road. Going right, ride the footpath around the corner - not exactly legal but entirely sensible, and you'll avoid a painful wait.
There's a funky little set of shops here based around the Four Square dairy.
15. In Harris Street, directly opposite the Youth Hostel, you'll find Jazzy Manerva - THE best little boutique of vintage and second-hand labels, jewellery and treasures, well-curated by Sarah. Lock your bike up against a post here. Sarah's hours are from 10 am to 4 pm, Thursday to Saturday.
Follow Wainui Road until you see the cycle-lane on the right-hand side of the road and take that all the way to Tamarau, on the outskirts of town.
17. Turn left into Wilson Street to find the Bird of Prey Jewellery studio, at number 12 (blue letterbox and hedge). The studio is open 2 pm to 5 pm Friday afternoons and other times by arrangement - text ahead 027 973 1642. Leave some time for a garden wander before setting off again.
When you reach Oneroa Road, turn off to your right towards the sea, then take the first right into Murphy Road. The second on your right is Lloyd George Road, where at number 32D is where you'll find Ange. She uses low-toxicity hair products and stocks luxury OWAY hair products.
Lanie paints the most beautiful beach scenes in various media on unconventional surfaces including canvas, reclaimed wood and surfboards. Phone her on 021 265 4809 to arrange a viewing or tap on her door and try your luck.
Head back towards town - you can ride the narrow beach paths for fun and enjoy the sea views, or stick to the road for simplicity. From Wainui, take the cycle-way and veer off to your right at Rutene Road and follow that until you reach the Rutene Road Bridge. Turn right into the Esplanade and follow the river as far as you can.
Score Road sweeps around, through the park following the Waimata River. Take a breather here, or stay on it, cruising past the Gisborne Rowing Club to get back to Harris Street, then travel back up to the T junction and turn right into Rutene Road towards town.
22. If you've made a prior arrangement to visit by texting 027 252 4084, take a slight detour left off Rutene Road into Hirini Street to find Catherine and Axel at Hello Petal plants. She personally selects beautiful specimens, dried flowers, pots and plant decor for boho plant lovers. Closed Saturdays.
23. Next head back, left into Rutene Road and cross the bridge, hanging a right at the roundabout. (If it's a Saturday morning you'll find the Gisborne Farmers Market in full swing so take a load off and enjoy what's on offer).
24. Follow Fitzherbert Street around into Clifford Street to number 17. For a potty diversion enter Mayfire Pottery via the green gate on the left and stash your bike behind the studio.
Seymour's studio is open providing he's not off giving a hand-building or wheel-throwing class at Lysnar House. Knock on a door to find him or Helen to find out. He'll be only too happy to show you around his kiln set-up and pottery studio. He has pots for air-plants, beautifully crafted, ceramic birds, traditionally raku-fired pieces and massive garden planters.
25. Don't leave number 17 yet! There's a wide range of dress-making fabrics available from Helen May's Individual Dressmaker. You can borrow from her pattern lending library too.
Whataupoko is a lovely area to cruise around on your bike with lots of old timber villas and cottage style gardens to enjoy along the way. Dawdle down Clifford Street back to the Ballance Street Village and return your bike to Cycle Gisborne.
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