If the kids say "are we nearly there yet?" your answer will be "yep". A Wairarapa escape is quick to get to and jam-packed with fun. Just over an hour from Wellington and the Manawatu it's an easy choice. Come and play, get outdoors and make some cool new memories together here.
Some top outdoor activities to do with kids
- First up explore Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre on a family tour and wander through the bush to meet eels, kaka, tuatara, takahē and the giant weta sculpture.
- Next stop is Queen Elizabeth Park, an awesome spot for kids in Masterton with a new skatepark, miniature train, huge playground, flying fox, mini-golf, and BMX.
- Get out on the water at Queen Elizabeth Park in a pedal boat, or cross the swing bridge to visit the deer park.
- Take a walk and check out all Queen Elizabeth Park's beautiful trees - some were planted more than 140 years ago!
- Pop over the road to The Wool Shed, a great place to learn about the shearing industry.
- Learn about farm animals hands on during a guided visit around the working farm at Martinborough Manor.
- Just along the road is Trust House Recreation Centre, full of indoor pools, a hydro-slide, river ride for lots of fun in the (warm) water!
- Head to Cobblestones Museum in Greytown and peek into the past at the historic village complete with schoolhouse, fire station, church, hospital, family home, interactive displays and much more.
- In the evening try Star Safari - a guided tour of the night sky followed by stargazing with telescopes, weather permitting.
- Kids will love picking their own basket of fresh apples at Molewood Orchard from March to May.
Try our family friendly walking trails
- Walk around Henley Lake in Masterton and surrounding 43 hectares of flat tracks through wetlands, and native plants with plenty of picnic spots in between. Listen for up to 72 different species of birdsong.
- Explore the Lansdowne Recreational Trail in Masterton, popular with walkers, cyclists, and runners.
- Take a short 1-2 hour loop walk through native bush and pine forest on a farm at Rewanui Forest Park just 20 minutes from Masterton.
- Experience some of the best mixed native forest in the Tararua Range on a 1-hour loop walk to Donnelly Flat picnic spot at Mt Holdsworth. Or see more tramps in the Tararua Ranges - there's a distance to suit everyone.
- Talk a walk in Waiohine Gorge, just out of Carterton. Kids will love walking across the long suspension bridge.
- See all our family friendly walking trails as well as catered and guided walks, town walks, mountain walks and costal walks.
Spend a day at the beach
- Let the kids run free on the beach at Riversdale or Castlepoint – both just 50 mins out of Masterton. Explore the rock pools, try your luck with a fishing rod, or run up to the lighthouse at Castepoint.
- Energy to spare? Walk the 162-metre-high Deliverance Cove track up to Castle Rock at Castlepoint - named by explorer Captain Cook in 1770.
- The scenic drive along the coast to Cape Palliser is unforgettable and their seal colony is the largest in the North Island. A must-do is to climb the 253 steps to the lighthouse for stunning views.
- Lord of the Rings fan? Put on your sturdy walking shoes and walk along the Paths of the Dead through the Putangirua Pinnacles. You will find incredible rock formations.
- Check out our many coastal areas where you can soak up nature with lots of things to do and see.
Feel like a bike ride?
- Get off road on the Greytown-Woodside Trail - a scenic 5km walking and cycling track connecting Greytown's quieter streets to Woodside station.
- Explore the Remutaka Rail Trail with its eerie tunnels and old railway ruins - there are ride lengths to suit everyone from easy day trips to overnight trips (you can also walk the trail!).
- Located on a section of hillside at the northern edge of Masterton the Lansdowne Mountain Bike Park is free to use with professionally designed and built tracks ideal for beginners through to experienced riders.
- Rivenrock is a purpose built and professionaly designed Mountain Bike Park for all levels of mountain bikers, located in the stunning Mt Holdsworth area of the Wairarapa.
- See more ideas for bike rides.
Inside activities or if the weather isn’t playing ball
- Take in the latest exhibition at Aratoi - Wairarapa Museum of Art & History and watch local artists create inside colourful shipping containers at nearby ConArt Gallery & Studio.
- Take in the latest movies at The Screening Room or Regent 3 Cinema.
- Choose something from Hedleys Booksellers awesome kids' collection, or speciality children's bookstore Chicken and Frog in Featherston.
- Let the kids run wild on the bright new kids' playground at Copthorne Solway Park while you enjoy brunch, lunch or even just a coffee.
- Head north to Middleton Model Railway in Eketahuna and see one of the largest model railways in New Zealand in action.
- On your way back home through Featherston visit The Fell Museum which houses H199 - the only locomotive of its type in the world and Kahutara Taxidermy for an unusual collection of mounted birds and animals, including lions!
Try these scrummy family restaurants and cafés
- Fill the family up with amazing food at The Farriers Bar & Eatery.
- While you're in Masterton treat yourselves to a double scoop gelato from Ten O'clock Cookie Bakery Café.
- See more amazing food options in the Wairarapa here – there are too many to list them all!
Bring the family and stay the night