Wairarapa, the name meaning "Glistening Waters", is a 75 minute drive from Wellington and offers many natural wonders. Choose from an array of accommodation from luxury holiday cottages, boutique homestays and beachside camping at Castlepoint, home of the Castlepoint Lighthouse. Castlepoint beach is a great day trip. Walk the boardwalk to the lighthouse or enjoy a longer walk through the scenic reserve to Castle Rock, named by Captain Cook in 1770.
Activities in this region feature vineyards at Martinborough, Cape Palliser Seal Colony, the peaks of the Rimutaka Ranges and the Paua Shell Factory at Carterton. Masterton is the main centre of the region and is famous for its annual Golden Shears shearing competition.
The Wairarapa railway line connects the region via the Rimutaka Tunnel to Wellington, and connects with the Palmerston North-Gisborne Line at Woodville. A commuter rail passenger service, the Wairarapa Connection from Masterton to NZ's capital city Wellington, is operated by Tranz Scenic.
The agricultural industries, including forestry, cropping, sheep, beef and dairy farming, are major land users. The area around Martinborough in the south, is renowned for its vineyards and wine, as is the outskirts of Masterton and Carterton. Beer has been brewed at Mangatainoka, near Pahiatua since 1889. Deer farming is growing in importance.
The Martinborough wine village features approximately 30 wineries which surround Martinborough’s charming village square, creating a unique 'walk the wineries' experience. You can sample premium wines without the need to drive.
Many of New Zealand's endangered native birds can be seen at the Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre which is just south of Eketahuna.
The Wairarapa area is ideal for national and international conferences and weddings with the region offering a number of unique venues, many with a vineyard backdrop.
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