Wairarapa

Lake Ferry (Lake Onoke)

This popular Wairarapa holiday destination has a long history of settlement, both Maori and European.

Lake Ferry is a small settlement between the shores of Lake Onoke and Palliser Bay. Settlement in this area dates back hundreds of years. Archaeological research suggests that there were people living here from the 12th century until about 1600. Later, Maori settlers came to live mainly around Lake Onoke and the adjoining lakes.

European settlers brought sheep and cattle into this area in 1844, driving their stock along the coastal route from Wellington. These run holders were the first to establish pastoral farming in New Zealand.

Following a drowning in 1850, a ferry service was established across Lake Onoke. The ferryman needed accommodation and a way to supplement his income, so he opened the Lake Ferry Hotel in 1851.

Today Lake Ferry is a mixture of holiday homes and permanent residents. Nearby attractions include the Putangirua Pinnacles, Cape Palliser lighthouse and a seal colony. If you're in the area late afternoon, stay to watch the sun go down - Lake Ferry sunsets can be spectacular.