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Things To Do

Activities that can be undertaken from Tuhitarata Estate include:

  • Walks into the scenic reserve made up of two stands of 300 year old bush that surrounds the Estate and walks down to the Ruamahanga river with its colony of black wild swans
  • Cycling and motorbike riding – the area is a favourite for many Wellington bike riders
  • Fishing on the Ruamahanga (includes trout and whitebait when in season) and sea fishing at Lake Ferry
  • Windsurfing at Lake Ferry
  • Deer and pig hunting in the ranges
  • Tennis
  • Croquet  and Petanque
  • Cape Palliser lighthouse and seal colony

Tuhitarata is situated close to Wairarapa’s many attractions.  The Wairarapa is recognised as a boutique food producer and wine tourism destination. It is central to the Classic New Zealand Wine Trial, a signposted 380km (240 mile) route. (www.classicwinetrail.co.nz ) and for the last two years has been included in the VISA Wellington On A Plate culinary festival. www.wellingtononaplate.com

Wairarapa’s food highlights include:

Martinbough

is just 12 minutes from Tuhitarata.  Packed with colonial charm, Martinborough’s distinctively named streets (Cork, New York, Dublin, Kitchener are just some) are laid out in a Union Jack pattern – reflecting the loyalty of the town’s founder, Londonderry man, John Martin.

Some of New Zealand’s best pinot noir comes from the town’s friendly family-owned vineyards.

Martinborough is a popular weekend destination for Wellingtonians, who enjoy the premium wines, vineyard cafes, boutique stores, quality accommodation, olive groves and award-winning restaurants.  Guided wine tours or self guided cycling tours are available.

Martinborough is internationally renowned for its Pinot Noir and features over 25 vineyards – many within walking or cycling distance.  Further up the valley in the wine growing areas of Gladstone, Opaki and Masterton around 16 wineries offer the same relaxed appeal.  S

everal Wairarapa food producers offer short, interesting tours and tastings. Comprehensive full-day or half-day tours are available year round from: Zest Food Tours (www.zestfoodtours.co.nz) and Tranzit Martinborough Gourmet Wine tour (www.tranzittours.co.nz).

The world’s only remaining Fell Steam Engine, once used on the Rimutaka hills can be viewed in Featherston (25 minutes form Tuhitarata).  Food and coffee can be found at the old colonial Hotel and nearby cafe along with contemporary craft, vintage and antique shops.

Just  20 minutes from Tuhitarata  can be found  the wild stretch of cliffs, rocks and water that is Palliser Bay.

Ngawi is the coast’s classic fishing village with many colourful boats with equally colourful names and towing tractors along the beach.

Cape Palliser has the largest colony of native fur seals easily viewed from the roadside.

The nearby Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve with its unique geological rock formations provided an eerie backdrop in Sir Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King movie and provides opportunities for half-day to 1/2 hour walks.  The Cape Palliser historic lighthouse, with its red and white stripes, was recently voted one of 15 New Zealand sights that make the 100 top-10 lists of the world’s must-sees by global travel guide publisher Lonely Planet.

25 minutes in the other direction from Tuhitarata is Greytown, a colonial country village with metropolitan style.  Home to high end independent boutiques, art galleries, antique stores and cafes, it is one of New Zealand’s great shopping destinations.  A distinctive Greytown product is gourmet handmade chocolate from Schoc Chocolate.  Also Imperial Productions – handmade lead soldiers.

Carterton (30 minutes from Tuhitarata) provides attractions for art and craft lovers and is near Stonehenge Aotearoa, designed and built for its precise location.  Built on the same scale as Stonehenge in England, visitors can explore the mysteries of our past and learn how early cultures, including New Zealand Maori, used the Sun, Moon and stars for life and survival. Stonehenge Aotearoa is often used for seasonal celebrations and festivals. (www.astronomynz.org.nz/stonehenge).

Carterton has a thriving arts and crafts community.  Several Carterton artists feature on Main ARTery, the Wairarapa Art Trail where visitors can meet practicing artists working in their own creative environment.

Masterton is 45 minutes drive form Tuhitarata and is Wairarapa’s largest town.  Home to Queen Elizabeth Park, The Wool Shed – the National Museum of Sheep and Shearing and Aratoi: Wairarapa Museum of Art & History.  Aratoi is a modern museum and art gallery in Masterton.  Diverse collections of exhibitions showcase the region’s past, present and future.  It also houses four significant art collections including The Rutherford Collection – one of the most significant in New Zealand www.aratoi.org.nz

Masterton is also a great base to explore nearby Castlepoint, Wairarapa’s most spectacular beach.  The road north offers rich pickings with Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, home to Manukura the first all-white kiwi chick to be hatched in captivity and the Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka.

The Castlepoint Scenic Reserve, 45 minutes from Masterton, is home to unique native species.  Visitors can enjoy the lighthouse walk, Castle Rock track, soft white sand, lagoon and reef.

Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, located 20 minutes north of Masterton, is conserving some of New Zealand’s most rare and endangered wildlife and is of nationwide significance.  Pukaha is home to Manukura, New Zealand’s only white kiwi in captivity and features a new Kiwi House.  The facility also includes a 50 seat theatre continuously screening three short films. (www.pukaha.org.nz)

The Vintage Aviator Ltd Collection – one of the largest collections of original and flying WW1 aircraft in the world.  Located at Hood Aerodrome, Masterton, the Collection has WW1 Fighter Scouts, Bombers and Renaissance Aircraft as well as original BE 2 and Fe2b Bombers (the only flying examples in the world).  Aircrafts take centre stage during the biennial Wings Over Wairarapa airshow (www.vintageaviator.co.nz)

Drive north of Masterton to Mangatainoka, home of Tui HQ, a legendary Kiwi brewery. You can take a tour, enjoy a tasting and a browse through the museum and store (www.tui.co.nz)

Events
Wairarapa hosts a growing number of events celebrating the region’s food and wine plus outdoor concerts and festivals:

  • Wings Over Wairarapa airshow, held at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton, features rarely seen vintage aircraft from last century including original WWI and WWII aircraft as well as fantastic displays of contemporary aircraft.
  • Toast Martinborough is held on the third Sunday in November in Martinborough. Celebrating the release of the new vintage, Toast pairs each of the 12 participating vineyards with some of the finest restaurants from Wellington and Wairarapa and live music. Festival goers stroll easily between wineries or jump on free shuttle buses that circulate constantly. www.toastmartinborough.co.nz
  • The Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival, held each March at the spectacular ‘Cliffs’ riverside reserve in Gladstone, showcases award winning Wairarapa wineries and high profile restaurants and local food producers.  Its laid back atmosphere, stunning setting and memorable entertainment provides an opportunity for town and country to come together. www.wairarapawines.co.nz
  • The annual Trust House Balloons Over Wairarapa attracts hot air balloons from throughout New Zealand for four days of spectacular competitions and displays.  Uncontrolled airspace and the absence of a major airport in the Wairarapa gives balloon pilots more freedom than at many other events.
  • A unique country horse racing experience awaits visitors every year at the picturesque Tauherenikau Racecourse near Featherston. Visitors can picnic under Kahikatea and Totara trees and watch the racing each November, January and February.

Helpful Websites
www.wairarapanz.com
www.classicwinetrail.co.nz
www.pukaha.org.nz
www.wairarapawines.co.nz
www.winesfrommartinborough.com
www.toastmartinborough.co.nz
www.wings.org.nz
www.tui.co.nz
www.vintageaviator.co.nz
www.aratoi.org.nz
www.thewoolshednz.com

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