May 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Monday, with heavyweight mining stocks leading gains as metal prices surged on the back of China's property stimulus efforts, while local investors awaited the central bank's meeting minutes for more clues on its policy stance.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6% to 7,858.3 points by 0058 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.8% on Friday but gained 0.8% last week.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is due to release the minutes of its May meeting on Tuesday. The central bank had kept rates at a 12-year high of 4.35% earlier this month and stopped short of reinstating a tightening bias.

Meanwhile, data last week showed that the Australian unemployment rate rose more than expected in April, erasing the risk of a rate hike.

Miners rose 1.7% to touch a more than four-month high as iron ore futures and copper prices jumped.

Giants BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue climbed between 1.1% and 1.8%.

Financial stocks rose 0.6%, with the "Big Four" banks advancing between 0.2% and 0.5%.

Energy stocks gained 1.8% and were on track to snap a five-day losing streak as crude prices surged on renewed rate cut bets in the United States

Sector majors Woodside Energy rose 0.9%, while Santos climbed 1.5%.

Tracking gains in bullion prices, gold stocks rose 3% to their highest level in a month.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.1% or 15 points to 11,714.79.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is set to keep its key interest rate steady at 5.50% on Wednesday, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

The RBNZ is likely to reiterate that the interest rate needs to remain at 5.5% for "a sustained period" to bring inflation back within the 1-3% target range, Westpac analysts said in a note.

(Reporting by Sneha Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sohini Goswami)