1.3 km
30 minutes
No dogs on this trail
Information for this trail was last updated May 2024

Sisterson Lagoon is a small remnant of the once-larger coastal Awapuni Lagoon. In the early 2000s, the small lagoon was made a QEII National Trust Covenant and voluntary groups began planting native trees and flax around the wetland. These trees are now mature and regeneration of karaka, karo, karamu, and kowhai occurs in patches under the canopy. The many predator traps in place are monitored to ensure populations of bush and wetland birds can thrive. 

Sisterson Lagoon is a great spot to take children, being close to Gisborne. The 1.3 km loop track meanders under mature planted bush beside the lagoon, between McDonald Road and the Palmerston North to Gisborne Railway Line. A shelter has been built along the track beside the lagoon. A great place to hear and see a variety of birds, the lagoon is well-used as an education resource for local schools.

The covenant is now managed by Sisterson Lagoon Restoration Trust. On the Sisterson Lagoon facebook page there are photos, and invitations to working bees and other events focused on the wetland. 

Sisterson Lagoon

History of the trail

In pre-European times, Rongowhakāta, Ngai Tāmanuhiri, and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki would have found kererū, kākā, pukeko and kākāriki plentiful on the inland flats, and thousands of ducks living by the rivers and the Awapuni Lagoon. Creeks leading into the main rivers on either side of the central plain were crossed by eel weirs built and maintained by particular families. Mullet (kanae), eels (tuna) and whitebait (inanga) swarmed in season in the tidal waterways. Te Runanga o Tūranganui a Kiwa

In the 1950s, the grass, shrublands, wetlands and swamps of Awapuni Lagoon were burned. Drains were dug to divert ground water into the Waipaoa River and enable this flat land to be converted into farmland. Sisterson Lagoon is a small remnant of the original wetland.  Gisborne Photo News

Tips & Logistics

Access is from McDonald Road. Park on the grass road verge adjacent to Ravensdown.