Outdoor and adventure in Wairarapa

The Wairarapa is an outdoor paradise. With many scenic beaches, walking tracks and coastline, you will find plenty of outdoor attractions and activities to explore in this region. A day trip out to one of the many coastal beaches such as Castlepoint or Palliser Bay is a must-do.

Bulldozers and fishing boats at Ngawi Wairarapa CREDIT Rebecca Kempton Photography

See native wildlife at Pukaha Wildlife Centre

You can gain a great understanding of conservation at Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. Pūkaha is home to some of New Zealand’s most endangered wildlife including tuatara, eels, kaka, kōkako, kākāriki and the white kiwi, Manukura - the only white kiwi in captivity in the world.

Pukaha Wildlife Centre website

Manukura
Castle Point lighthouse

Visit Caslepoint or Riversdale Beach

From Masterton, you can drive to the popular beach destinations of Riversdale and Castlepoint for superb scenery, fishing, surfing and summer-patrolled beaches. These spots are popular with visitors and locals alike, with many people day-tripping or spending the weekend here. You could visit for a few hours or extend your trip and spend the night.

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Enjoy one of the many walks at Waiohine Gorge

Waiohine Gorge is a popular camping and recreation area; it’s also the south eastern entrance to the Tararua Forest Park. A large swing bridge spans the gorge, inviting you to venture into the forest. Several excellent walking adventures begin here, including the track to Cone Hut.

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8K5A8766 Waiohine Gorge Carterton CREDIT Jack Austin small
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Cycle the vineyards in Martinborough

Pick up a winery map from the local i-SITE, hire a bike and cycle the vineyards and olive groves of Martinborough. Martinborough is famous for its 20-odd vineyards, most within walking or cycling distance of the village square. It's packed with colonial charm, and criss-crossed with walking and cycle tracks to explore.

Green Jersey website

Discover Cape Palliser

Drive the coast road to Cape Palliser, where you can climb a lighthouse, watch a seal colony and enjoy the non-stop views. You can also check out the quirky fishing village of Ngawi and the beach village of Lake Ferry.

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Cape Palliser lighthouse
Putangirua Pinnacles

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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People walking trail on Mt Victoria overlooking Wellington

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
Te Mata Peak