Archives For Wairarapa


 —  22/12/2011

Martinborough may only be a small town, but if you’re going to La De Da and you’ve got some time to spare, there are plenty of great activities to do… if you can pull yourself away from the vineyards.

250 steps to the top

Palliser Bay

If you haven’t planned for all of your days to involve wine and tasting it, perhaps a trip out to Palliser Bay might take your fancy. This place is one of the earliest Maori occupation sites in New Zealand, and is also the only fur seal colony in the North Island where breeding is well established. If you want to earn some cheese for that wine, or would like a little shapeshifting on your buns, there’s an old lighthouse 250 steps up a hill, with some great views of the coast.

Waiohine Gorge

Take a dip in the Gorge's swimming spots

If you’re thinking ‘I know that we’ve got only a little time, so like it or not, we’re gonna be drinking wine’, then the Waiohine Gorge has a number of short tracks suitable for quick, light exercise. There are also several good swimming pools in the river (which are popular for rafting, tubing and kayaking in) so after a splash, you can head back to Lullabye Lane feeling cool and refreshed. 

Pukaha Mount Bruce

Manukura - the world's first white kiwi

Visiting this place on State Highway 2 between Masterton and Eketahuna is a must. It’s the home of Manukura and Mauriora (the little white kiwi), tuatara, kaka, kokako and some very impressive eels! There’s also a pretty native bush track, with a picnic area at the top so you’ll be able to drink and laugh till you feel right.

Castlepoint Scenic Reserve

Don’t forget to pack a fishing rod—taking a trip out to Castlepoint is a popular place to dangle the line or pull the catch as one. If you’re into one-offs, then you’ll want to take note of the Castlepoint daisy shrub—named this because Castlepoint is the only place in the world it grows. Frequent visitors to the area include dolphins, fur seals and the odd small whale. The lighthouse here is also a drawcard. There are a few walks around the Scenic Reserve and a nice sheltered lagoon for swimming in.

Lay in the lagoon

Wairarapa – famous for vineyards, good food and great weather!  It also is home to three forest parks, hundreds of kms of coast including Castlepoint and some amazing places to visit!
Aerial view of corner creek

Wairarapa - Lower North Island's conservation secret

One of my major tasks for 2008/09 was to develop a brochure for Wairarapa day visitors and families.

Over the years Wellington Conservancy has shifted the majority of its publications away from printed material.  Some feedback I received early in 2008 was that there was demand from visitors for printed guides to look around the large amount of recreation and visitor opportunities that DOC Wairarapa manages.  The boss agreed and my work began.

It was a great exercise as a new migrant to Wairarapa and to DOC.  I gathered destination information from various sources including long-time ranger Joe Hansen’s head and started to pull it together into a booklet.  Originally thinking it would be around 30 pages the final product has 72 pages and is full of useful stuff and beautiful photos (some shown here).

Hunting up Waiohine River

Hunting up Waiohine River

The normal stuff in a brochure are included like track and hut information but I decided to engage with our local iwi and got them to write a section on sites of importance on DOC land (and slightly beyond).  I love to read about stories about the local area as it gives me a different perspective so figured others would too.  I’m glad they’ve allowed us to capture this because conservation doesn’t stop with species and places and we must conserve our cultural history as well.

Other cool sections in the brochure includes a section on bird watching and other interesting fauna, botany and tonnes of awesome photos including our front cover shot of the Waiohine Valley with the suspension bridge taken by the designer Mikis van Geffen.

Cross Creek Rimutaka

Rimutaka Rail Trail ends in historic Cross Creek

You can have a look at our brochure on our website or contact a few different places to buy a printed copy for the bargin price of $3 (it’s the perfect size to fit in the glovebox of your car).  These include:

  • DOC Wellington Visitor’s Centre
  • Carterton Information Centre
  • Masterton Information Centre
  • DOC Wairarapa Area Office

Let me know what you think as I’m always looking to improve!

Getting prepared for Conservation Week is keeping the Wairarapa team busy!

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