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Tairāwhiti Gisborne

Tairāwhiti encompasses an idyllic swath of heartland New Zealand. The East Cape alone is one of the world's most laid-back places where rural farmland and pockets of native bush give way to sweeping vistas across the South Pacific Ocean. If anywhere in New Zealand runs on "island time" then this is it. At the heart of Tairāwhiti lies the charming town of Gisborne. Popular for its incredible surf beaches and artisan culture, Gisborne has an abundance of restaurants and cafés to explore. The local trails are constantly evolving, but it is the Motu Trail – a Great Ride of the New Zealand Cycle Trail – Nga Haerenga, that is the jewel in the Tairāwhiti cycling crown.

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The Motu Trail is a jewel in Eastland's cycling crown. Photo: Camilla Rutherford

Watch: The Motu Trail

Motu Trails provides a trilogy of contrasting trails that can be ridden in a loop totalling 91km or as three sections offering a diverse range of riding from stunning beaches to spectacular forest and historic farmlands.

Motu Trails are a jewel in Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail crown. Ride the trails all year as a full loop, or split them into three shorter sections, each with its own distinct character. As a popular 1-3 day ride, Motu Trails offer options for all ages, abilities, fitness levels and preferences.

Whataupoko Park (formerly known as Langford Fallon Reserve), has been newly renovated and has seven kilometres of tracks. The reserve is hilly with small gullies and is an ideal spot for mountain bikes, recreational walkers and runners.

Got a few days up your sleeve? Then make sure you take State Highway 35 around the Pacific Coast Highway to truly absorb the pace of life of Tairāwhiti. There are lots of small towns, rugged beaches and interesting characters as the highway snakes its way to Gisborne.

No trip to Gisborne is complete without a surf at the world-famous Wainui Beach or a stroll along one of the beautiful sweeping bays. The new Oneroa walk and cycle way provides a family friendly option in the city.

Turn the adventure dial up to full and you'll find the Rere Falls Trail – a backcountry adventure that links into the Motu Trail at Matawai. The Rere Falls Trail was described as a real "heartland ride" by New Zealand guide book authors the Kennett brothers.

From its sparkling beaches to its sleepy charm, Tairāwhiti is certainly a destination not to be missed.

Casey Brown, Garett Buehler and Traharn Chidley check out a Marae on the East Cape, Tairāwhiti, New Zealand. Photo: Camilla Rutherford

Soak in the culture and the laidback charm of Eastland. Photo: Camilla Rutherford

Trails in this Region