Wairarapa is an hour’s drive north of Wellington. Visit the vineyards of Martinborough or Cape Palliser, the southernmost point of the North Island.
Coming from Wellington, you drive over the winding Rimutaka Hill road. Halfway down there’s a corner where the whole vista of the Wairarapa opens up before you, bush-clad ranges to the west across flat plains to a rugged coast in the east.
The towns have their own individual character and charm. Martinborough is the centre of the local wine industry – take a tour of the vineyards – while Greytown has an architectural charm and is a favourite weekend getaway for Wellingtonians.
A rural area with an off-the-beaten-track charm, the Wairarapa offers the traveller a wide range of experiences. Head up to the Waiohine Gorge at the foot of the Tararuas and a swing bridge is your gateway to tramping tracks into the ranges. Head out to Cape Palliser on the coast and you’ll pass through the tiny fishing village of Ngawi where you’ll see a colourful array of old bulldozers and tractors parked on the beach.
Accommodation ranges from boutique hotels to homestay cottages. Having a car for transport works best; it’s a big area.
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