Heading south from Martinborough, the road to Cape Palliser is ridiculously scenic. On a clear day you can see all the way to the snow capped mountains behind Kaikoura on the South Island.
The Cape Palliser lighthouse, NZ fur seal colony, Putangirua Pinnacles, Ngawi fishing village with its curious fleet of colouful bulldozers and the rugged, pounding surf are features not to be missed; the Cape Palliser lighthouse was named by Lonely Planet in the Top 10 'flashiest lighthouses' in the world.
On your way to Cape Palliser, it's worth popping in to Lake Ferry for fishing and the views across Palliser Bay.
The road out here does turn to gravel - if you're not comfortable driving then hop on the small group guided Hammonds Palliser Bay Tour from Martinborough or Wellington.
In the north, the sealed Te Ore Ore Road runs east from Masterton to two spectacular, family-friendly beach settlements at Castlepoint and Riversdale. Castlepoint was voted in the Top 10 Most Loved Beaches by New Zealanders.
Castlepoint is beautiful and home to the most photogenic lighthouse in New Zealand. Castlepoint is the perfect getaway with four surf breaks, a sheltered lagoon and several interesting walking trails.
The gently sloping sheltered beach at Riversdale is four kilometre long and a fantastic place for surfing and swimming.
For a remote beach experience, the quietest of coastal areas can be found at Flatpoint and Tora.
Check out these shots of Cape Palliser and Castlepoint.