Welcome to Wairarapa
Wairarapa, New Zealand, actually comprises several smaller towns each with its own unique character and beauty: Masterton, Carterton, Martinborough and Featherston. Wairarapa is about an hour’s train ride or drive from Wellington, the capital city.
Maori settlers first came to Wairarapa in the 1300s. The Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane were the Maori tribes in the area when European explorers arrived in the 1770s. Wairarapa, whose name means “glistening waters,” became a renowned farming region heralded for its delectable meats and butter. These humble beginnings as a farm community are still apparent in the modern world of Wairarapa as it is home to a multitude of sprawling beef, sheep and dairy farms alongside succulent vineyards. Fishing, horticulture and forestry also play a prominent role in modern Wairarapa life.
Whether you enjoy nature, the arts or a sampling of fine wine from local wineries, there is always something new and wonderful to discover in Wairarapa. In addition to its rural and rustic charm, Wairarapa delights in its thriving art community as well beautiful galleries and museums. No matter what kind of winter activity you enjoy, you are sure to find something to suit your taste. Here are some of the best winter tourism destinations to sample and savor in Wairarapa.
It’s even more fun when you discover these areas in a motorhome! Hire a campervan with Mighway, and let the journey unfold!
Getting to Wairarapa
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More than 20 artisanal vineyards are available to enjoy in and around Martinborough, many of which are in walking or cycling distance of the village square. The sky’s the limit when it comes to appreciating the sophistication and complexity of small production high-quality wine. Even if the vineyards are out of season, you can always sample the wine here.
Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre
Conservation in action is the key to each and every day at the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre in Northern Wairarapa. The native kiwi, kokako, tuatara and takahe birds enjoy permanent homes at the centre. There are also educational programs as well as interactive displays for the entire family.
Much more than a mere art and history museum, the Aratoi Museum of Art and History shares the stories of the people of Wairarapa through some of the region’s most valuable cultural works and artifacts. The museum features collections by some of New Zealand’s most well-loved artists. Colin McCahon, Rita Angus and John Drawbridge are a few of the artists on tap. In addition to pieces which carefully preserve Wairarapa cultural past, new exhibits from touring national shows as well as local painters, sculptors and photographers also present artwork here.