Hidden Gems

You'll find some of the Wairarapa's most incredible experiences slightly off the beaten track. Try these hidden gems for starters - then you're bound to discover some of your own!

The Putangirua Pinnacles

Putangirua Pinnacles, South Wairarapa

These 'hoodoos' are some of the most striking rock formations you'll ever see. Explore them in this eerie valley that winds through the Aorangi Ranges, just before Cape Palliser.

Walking tracks into the Putangirua Pinnacles generally follow the river bed into the valley and do change with river flows. 

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Cape Palliser Lighthouse

Cape Palliser Lighthouse, South Wairarapa

Installed in 1897, the stunningly stripey Cape Palliser lighthouse beckons you up 250 steps to a well-earned view of the whole coast.

The Wairarapa is a bit spoiled for lighthouses - Castlepoint and Cape Palliser are the last remaining beam lighthouses in New Zealand. Cape Palliser Lighthouse was named by Lonely Planet in the Top 10 'flashiest lighthouses' in the world.

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The Vintage Aviator

The Vintage Aviator, Masterton
The Vintage Aviator at Masterton airport houses the largest collection of airworthy WWI fighter aircraft in the world.

The Fighter Collection is a highlight of the showcase hangar, home to an ever changing collection of WWI planes, WWII fighters and military vehicles.

Take a guided tour and hear some of the stories that bring the planes - and the daring young pilots who flew them - to life. 

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Henley Lake

Henley Lake near Masterton has a wonderful network of flat walking and cycling tracks winding through 43 hectares of wetlands and native trees.  

There’s heaps of birdlife - one keen twitcher recorded more than 72 different species! A few crusts of bread will make your kids popular with the ducks, geese and swans. Viewing towers over the lake and wetlands give you a different perspective on the reserve.

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Fensham Reserve

Fensham Reserve is a great place for a classic kiwi bush walk.

A large loop track takes you through a variety of terrain from low lying wetlands to wind swept hill tops and through some towering native trees.  Labels on the trees and bushes make the walk all the more interesting.

Shorter linking loop tracks can make for a shorter walk which is just as interesting.

The walk can be extended at the furthest extremity of the track with another wetlands walk.

Fensham Reserve is one of the best Wairarapa family activities.

To get there, turn down Belvedere Road off State Highway 2 at Carterton and drive a few kilometres until you get to Cobden Road.  Turn right and the reserve is located on the junction of Cobden Road and Haringa Road.

Tararua Forest Park

Waiohine Gorge, Carterton
if you love walking, tramping or camping, the Tararua Range is the place to go. It's Wairarapa wilderness at its best - and you could spend years discovering it all!

At 116,535 hectares the Tararua Forest Park is the largest conservation park managed by the Department of Conservation in the North Island.

The main entrance ois Mount Holdsworth, near Masterton. Waiohine Gorge near Carterton is another popular gateway. 

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Fly fishing on the Ruamahanga

Trout fishing on the Ruamahanga River

Trout fishing is world class in Wairarapa - and the Ruamahanga River is one of the region's top spots. 

You'll find a superb range of freshwater angling here - from free-rising fish in braided lowland rivers to trophy-sized sea run specimens. All in a pristine back-country setting, and without the crowds that plague some other region's waterways.

More about fishing in Wairarapa's rivers and coasts