Come and explore the rugged beauty of the Wairarapa's wide-open spaces on a nature getaway. We've got rugged coastlines, beautiful bush and all the glorious nature in between - and only an hour away from Wellington!
Wairarapa's coast is ridiculously scenic from the north at Castlepoint right down to Cape Palliser:
- At Castlepoint, famous for its lighthouse, you can explore rock pools, try your luck at fishing, swim or surf in the waves, or walk the 162-metre-high Deliverance Cove track up to Castle Rock. Check out the Castlepoint Golf course and Castlepoint Races.
- Riversdale beach is a perfect coastal retreat with its 4km of gently sloping sheltered beach for swimming, surfing and fishing.
- The scenic drive along the coast to Cape Palliser is unforgettable, with the largest seal colony in the North Island - climb the 253 steps to the lighthouse for stunning views.
- Lord of the Rings fan? Walk along the Paths of the Dead through the Putangirua Pinnacles where you'll find incredible limestone formations.
- You'll love Ngawi with its colourful bulldozers that haul fishing boats in and out of the wild waves of Cook Strait.
- Lake Ferry is a beach village where you can fish with views of the South Island or try the famous fish and chips at the Lake Ferry Hotel.
Walks in the Wairarapa can be anything from a short lakeside stroll to a multi-day tramp along the coast or in the Ranges:
- Walk among hill-country farms, native bush and coastline on the 3-day Tora Coastal Walk. Top each day off with delicious homemade food in stylish accommodation.
- Experience some of the best mixed native forest in the Tararua Forest Park on one of many walks with a distance to suit everyone.
- The Waiohine Gorge is an idyllic spot, across the spectacular suspension bridge where you can pick a walk - long or short through ancient native forest.
- Choose from numerous short loop walks through native bush and pine forest at Rewanui Forest Park on a 334-hectare farm close to Masterton
- The Remutaka Rail Trail is a popular walk for families with children who can be coaxed along by the next railway ruin, old rail bridge or eerie tunnel - take a torch!
- Explore the impressive 15km network of urban limestone trails popular with walkers around Masterton including Henley Lake and the Lansdowne Recreational Trail.
The Wairarapa has quiet country roads, town parks and bike trails for cyclists of all ages:
- Hire a bike or take a tour and discover Martinborough's vineyards by cycling the vines or explore Masterton vineyards.
- The 10km return trip on the Greytown-Woodside Trail following the original branch line to historic Woodside Station is perfect for families, with its flat limestone track.
- Check out 15km of impressive urban trails perfect for cycling that starts just outside Masterton, winding along a River, past Queen Elizabeth Park, onto Henley Lake and the Lansdowne Recreational Trail.
- Rivenrock Mountain Bike Park has kilometres of exhilarating trails for all levels.
- Explore the Remutaka Cycle Trail with its eerie tunnels and old railway ruins - there are ride lengths to suit everyone from easy day trips to overnight trips.
Remutaka Cycle Trail
The spectacular Remutaka Cycle Trail is a 'Great Ride' on the New Zealand Cycle Trail which means it's one of the country's best!
- Day rides - take your pick from Petone to Maymorn in 3-5 hours, Featherston to Ocean beach and Orongorongo in 6-8 hours, Cross Creek to Ocean Beach in 2-3 hours and Ocean Beach to Orongorongo in 3-5 hours.
- The Whole Trail - cycle the full 115km from Petone's Foreshore in Wellington, through the historic Remutaka Rail Trail, to Featherston, past Lake Wairarapa to Ocean beach, then weave around the South Coast to finish in Orongorongo. Break up the journey overnight in characterful accommodation. Check-out guided tours.
With remarkably low light pollution and just an hour over from Wellington, Wairarapa is possibly the most accessible Dark Sky destination in the world:
- Try the Star Safari at Stonehenge-Aotearoa - NZ's only open-air astronomical observatory magnificently located on top of a hill. Stonehenge-Aotearoa has joined forces with Milky-Way.Kiwi to deliver Star Safari - a guided tour of the henge at night followed by stargazing with telescopes, weather permitting, every Friday and Saturday nights.
- Led by astronomer Becky Bateman, Under The Stars offers nomadic astronomy tours in the Wairarapa, providing stargazing experiences, consultations and education for special events and festivals.
When it's hot in the Wairarapa you have to take the plunge at these top swimming spots:
- Jump off the rocks in Masterton at Double Bridges or try the popular local spot in Kaituna - with the highest cliff jump in the Wairarapa. Learn more.
- Walk to the spectacular swing bridge at Waiohine Gorge in Carterton, stand under the waterfall or swim in clean and clear water from the mountains. Learn more.
- Cool off in a natural swimming hole in the Tauherenikau River near Featherston with a sandy beach and deep hole you can jump into. Learn more.
Make your rural experience complete with a horse ride: