We moved to the Wairarapa in 2017 and wanted to explore the region. We made a list of all the things we wanted to do - mix of free and affordable activities, we had plenty of fun ticking them off the list.
Here's what we recommend if you're in town with the family:
1) Day trip to Cape Palliser - see the seals and take a walk up to the lighthouse (free), followed by fish and chips at the pub in Lake Ferry (cheap!).
2) See the spectacular Putangirua Pinnacles - amazing rock formations and it has star quality too. Peter Jackson filmed here for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (free).
3) Walk the Landsdowne Recreational Trail - secluded spot close to town if you fancy a walk in under an hour (free).
4) Pukaha Mt Bruce - a wonderland of native wildlife located in the Tararua’s 70 Mile Bush.
5) Pizza at Watermill Bakery - open on Friday nights only, you can BYO alcohol and eat under the stars.
6) Lunch at a vineyard in Martinborough - the region is famous for its wine making! Plenty of choice here for lunch and wine tastings.
7) Picnic at Morrison's Bush - a family farm that opens its doors to the public, a tranquil spot by the river (free or a donation to stay overnight).
8) Swimming at the South Wairarapa outdoor pools - there's one in Carterton, Greytown, Featherston and Martinborough (free).
9) Pedal boats, mini putt and baby deer at Queen Elizabeth Park - they also have a train and a huge playground. Ideal place for the kids and there are shops, cafes and supermarkets nearby so perfect for a picnic lunch too.
10) Pick lavender at Lavender Abbey - for something totally different but it only happens in summer (donation).
Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Observe the diverse wildlife and marine species such as penguins, seals, various sea birds and possibly the world’s smallest dolphin!