The Wairarapa Region is located to the east of New Zealand in North Island spreading from the Pacific Ocean to Tararua Ranges. To the south, from Wellington is bordered by the Rimutaka Mountain Range. The Wairarapa region is surrounded by mountains and has crisp winters and warm summers. The region is one of flourishing wine industry and pastoral farmland. Its east coast is great for surfing and has several sandy beaches. In the east visitors can enjoy the extensive network of tracks and huts of the mountainous Tararua Forest Park. Tourists can take an adventurous hike for several days or a gentle hour’s walk.
In 1844 the first sheep stations of New Zealand were established in Wairarapa and today the region has more than 3 million sheep.
The largest town of Wairarapa is Masterton. It’s a busy town and every year is host of the biggest sheep shearing competition in the world. The Golden Shears event stands testament to the Wairarapa’s sheep rearing heritage. The town has an attractive park with a lake, good selection of shops and an excellent children’s playground. A collection of many of New Zealand’s endangered native birds can be admired in the nearby Mt Bruce National Park. The region’s most northerly town is Eketahuna, located 10km to the north.
To the south tourists can go to Carterton and visit a chocolate shop, a paua shell factory and is also an access point to the Tararua Forest Park. Further south tourists can visit the pretty town of Greytown and admire several historic buildings and enjoy its excellent cafes. The Early Settler’s museum has many horse drawn carriages and building from the era that were recently restored. Featherston is located at the foot of the Rimutaka Range and it is the last town that tourists can find before starting climbing the winding mountain road to Wellington. It’s home to the Fell Engine museum (documenting the history of Rimutaka incline railway) and has a selection of antique shops.
The Cape Palliser and the spectacular Putangirua Pinnacles can be visited in the region’s southerly coastline. These are the most southerly point of North Island and are home to the New Zealand’s largest breeding colony of fur seals. There is also fishing in Lake Wairarapa and surf fishing in the south coast beaches.
Martinborough is a small and pretty town, home to the New Zealand’s grape growing and wine making industry. Twice a year there is an excellent art and crafts fair and the town also host the annual Wine and Food Festival.
There is an excellent choice of accommodation in Wairarapa region, ranging in quality and price, from guest houses, motels and farm stays to more expensive luxury lodges and boutique hotels. Wharekauhau Lodge located on the South coast is a great example of the region’s types of luxury accommodation.
Popular weekend retreats of Riversdale and Castlepoint can be found on the region’s east coast. Castlepoint has a safe swimming lagoon and an unusual castle shaped rock formation. Riversdale has a golf course and a long sandy beach.