New Zealand Activities,
Attractions and Tours


This is a region of big skies, wide valleys and characterful small towns. As you arrive over the Rimutaka Hill 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” offers endless possibilities for getting away from it all.  Wairarapa is one of New Zealand’s top food and wine destinations and is at the heart of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. You can sample premium wines from the regions’ vineyards, and try everything from country cooking to haute cuisine in the many cafes and restaurants.  It’s a true escape – all within an hour’s drive or train ride from Wellington.


Some of New Zealand’s best wines come from friendly family-owned vineyards around Martinborough - its pinot noir has gained the town international recognition.  
Packed with charm, Martinborough features over thirty wineries, most within walking distance of the quaint village square, making for a unique walk-the-wineries experience. Hire a bicycle or walk to cellar doors.

The town is a popular weekend destination, especially for Wellingtonians, who enjoy the premium wines, vineyard cafes, boutique stores, quality accommodation, olive groves and award-winning restaurants.  Martinborough Wine Centre provides the big picture on Wairarapa wines, with tastings and wine from even the smallest vineyards.
Guided wine tours include Tranzit Coachlines’ daily ‘Wairarapa Gourmet Wine Escape’ tour – take the morning train from Wellington and be met at Featherston.  Peek behind the scenes to meet winemakers and chefs on a tour with Zest Food Tours.

Toast Martinborough, New Zealand’s leading wine and food festival is held on the third Sunday in November, and sees thousands of wine and food lovers celebrate new releases. The Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival showcases local wines, food and music each autumn.

Featherston and Cape Palliser

Home to the world’s only Fell Engine, on display at the Fell Locomotive Museum, Featherson is also the gateway to the wild stretch of cliffs, rocks and water that is Palliser Bay.  The road to Cape Palliser is one of the region’s highlights.
You can walk up to the weird and wonderful Putangirua Pinnacles and see native fur seals near Cape Palliser. The lighthouse there was built in 1897, and the view is worth the hike up 258 steps.


A Victorian country village with metropolitan style, Greytown’s a top coffee and shopping stop on State Highway 2.  New Zealand’s most complete main street of original wooden buildings now houses chic cafés, boutiques, galleries and antique shops.   Popular spots include the artisan French Baker and Schoc Chocolates, a gourmet chocolate studio producing over 50 flavours.


Carterton’s close to the Tararuas and the wine-producing area of Gladstone.  The own is home to many terrific contemporary crafts people and artists. Nearby is  
Stonehenge Aotearoa, a modern, working version of England’s Stonehenge. Regular tours provide insights into how our ancestors lived, planted and navigated by the stars.


Wairarapa’s largest town offers family-friendly activities including The Wool Shed which tells the story of sheep farming in New Zealand through video and three-dimensional displays.  It’s also home to Aratoi, Wairarapa’s distinctive museum of art and history.  With its giant limestone reef, lighthouse and landmark Castle Rock, nearby Castlepoint is Wairarapa’s most spectacular beach.

Twenty minutes north of Masterton, Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre provides an authentic forest and native New Zealand wildlife experience. The centre breeds the country’s rare and endangered birds. Guided walks are available. An interactive gallery recreates Mt Bruce as it would have been before European settlement. A viewing deck off the cafe overlooks the Takahe enclosure, and the Kiwi house, eel feeding and kaka feeding circus are highlights.
Keep driving north to Mangatainoka, home of Tui HQ, a legendary Kiwi brewery. You can take a tour, enjoy a tasting and a browse through the museum and store. 

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