Galloping fun at Castlepoint Wairarapa

Each summer at Castlepoint the sea wall becomes the guard rail and the horses’ rail is the waters edge.

Spectacular. Jaw-dropping. Magnificent.

Superlatives flow when you first set eyes on Castlepoint, one of the most widely photographed pieces of coastline in the Wairarapa.

Castlepoint Beach is a 50-60 minute drive from Masterton on a sealed country road that weaves through rolling farmland and each summer – favourable beach conditions permitting – it hosts its annual beach horse races.

The races date back to 1872 when local station hands racing on farm hacks would compete for bottles of rum and any stray coins. However in recent years, they’ve become a unique  and very popular family day out with the emphasis on entertainment and picnicking. Thoroughbreds have replaced farm hacks and the sea side settlement bustles with people carrying umbrellas, picnic hampers and deck chairs.

Betting is allowed but conducted as an equalisator - punters are allocated horses at random and tickets are purchased for $2.

The horse races are held in February at low tide on the beach in front of the magnificent limestone reef and Castlepoint Lighthouse.

For more information about the Wairarapa head to or contact one of our i-SITE Visitor Information Centres:

Masterton i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
Corner of Bruce and Dixon Streets
+64 6 370 0900

Martinborough i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
18 Kitchener Street 
+64 6 306 5010

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