Art, culture and heritage in Wairarapa

If you're after a bit of an arty-fix then there's plenty to fill your time in the Wairarapa. Otherwise, the Wairarapa is filled with rich museums showcasing everything from vintage planes or classic cars, to the only remaining Fell locomotive in the world.

Check out Aratoi - Wairarapa Museum of Art & History

If you like art, culture and heritage, you can't miss Aratoi, the Wairarapa's largest museum. Here you’ll discover national and Wairarapa displays, exquisite Māori taonga/treasures, ceramics, paintings, photography, children's art, textiles, and much more. Aratoi also serves as a performance art space, an educational centre, and has an eclectic gift shop.

Aratoi website

Explore the Masterton Arts Quarter

While you are in the area, visit the rest of the Masterton Arts Quarter, including ConArt Gallery & Studio. Wairarapa based artists come together to create, exhibit and sell original artwork such as paintings, ceramics, jewellery and sculpture. Go and meet the artists, see them at work and talk to them about their creations.

Masterton Arts Quarter Guide

Experience the wonders of Stonehenge Aotearoa

Stonehenge Aotearoa, near Carterton, is an adaptation of the mysterious 4,000 year-old monument on England’s Salisbury Plains which has been especially designed for the Southern Hemisphere. People young and old can explore the mysteries of our past and learn how early cultures, including New Zealand Maori, used the Sun, Moon and stars for life and survival.

Stonehenge Aotearoa website

Explore Greytown Village

Greytown is the Wairarapa's oldest town, and the site of New Zealand's first Arbor Day. Explore the village with the most complete main street of original Victorian wooden architecture in the country. It is renowned as a boutique destination with stylish specialty shops and great cafes and restaurants.

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Visit the Cobblestones Museum in Greytown

Step back in time at Cobblestones, a charming historic village and museum set back from the main street of Greytown. At Cobblestones you can sit at a desk in a country schoolhouse, explore Wairarapa's first public hospital, and climb the stairs to the tiny bedroom in the colonial cottage. There's a church, printing press and wool shed, too.

Cobblestones Museum website

Visit Oggi Domani

Oggi Domani is a ceramic art and design studio where artist Josephine Durkin creates unique ceramic pieces. She combines traditional Italian design with a contemporary feel and stunning colours! A collaboration of handmade terracotta pieces from Italy with a steady artist's hand and a flair for design.

Oggi Domani website

Discover Cape Palliser

The Māori legend of Maui tells of the South Island being Maui’s waka (canoe) from which he hooked ‘Te Ika a Maui’, the North Island. Drive to scenic Cape Palliser, the mouth of ‘Maui’s fish’ with a picnic and discover the historic Palliser Lighthouse.

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Walk to the Putangirua Pinnacles

While you are exploring Cape Palliser, put on your sturdy walking shoes and explore some of the most amazing rock formations you will ever see. From the carpark you can walk up through a defined bush walk to the viewing platform down onto the Pinnacles. Then make your way down into the valley. Make sure you walk up the riverbed to the very best formations.

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Continue to Wellington

After exploring the Wairarapa Region, continue driving south along the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail to reach Wellington, New Zealand’s compact capital city known for its vibrant arts and cultural scene and rich heritage. This section of the drive is about 75 minutes where you will drive across the Remutaka Ranges.

Travel south

Continue to Hawke's Bay

Alternatively, follow the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail north through the Tararua district to the Hawkes Bay. An easy circuit through pastoral landscapes to outlying vineyard clusters and charming small villages. Allow half a day for the drive and on the way, stop at the historic Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka. Join a guided tour and taste your way through the selection of ales, checking out the museum, shop and café.

Travel north