Photo credit: Pete Monk
The Wairarapa is a region of big skies, wide valleys and characterful small towns. As you arrive via the Remutaka Pass the Wairarapa valley opens up before you, fringed by mountains to the west and rugged coast to the east. The place Maori called “Land of Glistening Waters” is made up of five towns: Martinborough, Featherston, Greytown, Carterton and Masterton. Wairarapa is considered to be one of New Zealand’s top food and wine destinations and is at the heart of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. The region is at the very centre of one of NZ’s Great Rides – the Remutaka Cycle Trail.
We recommend your own transport to visit these destinations.
Featherston is home to the world’s only Fell Engine, and the gateway to the wild stretch of cliffs, rocks and water that is Palliser Bay. It’s one of the region’s highlights with an historic lighthouse, native fur seals and the Putangirua Pinnacles, which provided an eerie backdrop in Sir Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King movie. Featherston is a Booktown: home to an annual festival celebrating everything to do with books, writers and reading. Featherston Booktown is part of a global concept, with the most famous booktown being Hay-on-Wye in the UK. Check out the growing number of book stores open all year round Featherston.
Greytown is a Victorian country village with metropolitan style. It’s the kind of place where you don’t want to forget your credit card because its eclectic mix of independent boutiques, art galleries, antique stores and cafes make it one of New Zealand’s premiere shopping destinations. Gourmet chocolate studio, Schoc Chocolates, is based here. The Soldiers Memorial Park is another feature – 117 lime trees were planted here in 1922 to commemorate the 117 soldiers from the Greytown community that died in WW1. In 2017 Greytown won the award for New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Small Town.
Carterton is a hot spot for art and craft lovers and near Stonehenge Aotearoa, a modern, working version of England’s Stonehenge. It is also the gateway to the northern Wairarapa town’s of Gladstone, a wine producing area.
Masterton is the Wairarapa’s largest town. There you can find the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park, The Wool Shed – the National Museum of Sheep and Shearing and Aratoi: Wairarapa Museum of Art & History. Masterton is also a great base to explore nearby Castlepoint, Wairarapa’s most spectacular beach. The road north offers rich pickings with Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, home to Manukura the first all-white kiwi chick to be hatched in captivity and the Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka. In 2017 Masterton won the award for New Zealand Most Beautiful City.
Wellington Wine Country Sub-regions of Gladstone and Masterton Vineyards & Wineries can we found below
To visit Martinborough the 3rd Sub Region of Wairarapa Wine Country please click here.