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New Zealand in Focus
Wairarapa, New Zealand
The Wairarapa Region is bordered by the rugged Tararua Mountain Range to the west and the wild Pacific Ocean to the east. Known for its long, hot summer days, the Wairarapa provides a relaxing, refined country break away from the pressures of urban life. You’ll discover a host of welcoming vineyards and attractions to help you really unwind and experience all this great destination has to offer.
When you visit the Wairarapa region, you are indeed spoilt for choice and with so many things to see and do. You will be delightfully surprised at the array of activities available and sights to see; here are just a few of our favourites.
In Masterton’s recreation precinct you will find the picturesque Queen Elizabeth Park. There is something here for everyone and this is an ideal location for a picnic or family outing with an amazing children’s playground that will keep the kids entertained for hours. While you are here check out the miniature train rides, paddle boats, miniature golf course, flying fox, skate park and basketball court. For more adventure take a short stroll over the swing bridge where you will find the deer park or you may like to hire a bike and explore the nearby trails where you’ll find Henley Lake – a great spot for a BBQ or to take a walk or ride along the many trails you will encounter.
Stroll across the road from Queen Elizabeth Park and you will find the Wool Shed Museum, a great place to visit to experience a unique part of NZ’s heritage. Step back in time, see the displays, watch the film of NZ’s sheep shearing past, experience the shearer’s quarters and if you visit on the right day of the week and you’ll see traditional wool spinning or live sheep shearing.
Aratoi art and History Museum can be found a short distance away next to the supermarket, café and Genesis recreation centre. In this area you’ll find a wide selection cafes, restaurants and takeaway outlets to satisfy your hunger and tantalise your taste buds. If you are up for retail therapy you will not be disappointed at the great selection of specialty shops available. Nearby is Masterbowl, Masterton’s very own Ten Pin Bowling alley that offers lots of fun for all the family including ten pin bowling, arcade games, bumper cars and an onsite café.
Just a five minute drive from the park is Pointon Collection. Gaye and Francis are your hosts with a fantastic display of vintage cars, motoring memorabilia, an amazing collection of period clothing that is authentically presented on models and memorabilia from the early 1900s.
A visit to the Vintage Aviator Centre at the Hood aerodrome in Masterton is a must see, holding the world’s largest collection of flying WW1 aircraft this is a fascinating look back into history – whether you are an enthusiast or not. The centre offers guided tours of this amazing collection and flying weekends are held at the end of every month from November through to April. The stories of the aircrafts and battles they fought are brought to life as you stand under the wings of these wonderful aircraft. An evocative, breath-taking and sometimes emotional experience not to be missed!!
Our newest local adventure is a short five minute drive away at Opaki Winery where you begin the Opaki Cycle Trail. Beginning with wine tasting, hire your cycle or bring your own and begin the trail through picturesque farmland stopping for an olive oil tasting and tour before moving onto the Loopline Vineyard for a tour and wine tasting. Next stop is the Wee Red Barn, a local berry farm, for an ice-cream made with Wee Red Barn seasonal berries before calling into the Paper Road Winery and Bistro for a spot of lunch. This trip of tastings and discovery is simply awesome.
If you want to get acquainted with some of New Zealand’s rarest inhabitants head for Pukaha Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre. Set amidst a pocket of ancient rainforest, this centre is where the New Zealand Department of Conservation runs its captive breeding programme for threatened bird species. Visitors can take a walk with a professional conservation officer through natural bush aviaries. Carry on a little further to see the Middleton Miniature Railway and nearby rivers.
If you are looking to venture beyond Masterton, take a drive approximately an hour away and discover the wild, dramatic scenery of Castle Point Beach, where you can try your hand at fishing complete with a picturesque lighthouse in view.
Wherever your journey takes you, you will be sure to unlock the hidden treasures of this iconic New Zealand region.