Wairarapa, New Zealand

Named after its lake and translating from Maori as Glistening Waters, it’s in the grape department that the Wairarapa really shines. Pinot noir and a postcard-inspiring village green draw you to Martinborough’s eateries and pubs, while beautifully restored Victorian buildings make boutiquey Greytown beguiling. Featherston and Carterton exude country charm and hardware shops and farm supplies in Masterton exemplify the region’s heritage. Surrender to the laid-back pace of this south-eastern stretch of the North Island and explore world-class wineries and history-steeped towns as unhurriedly as you like.

Areas in Wairarapa

When to go

Summer in the Wairarapa (December to February) is a beautiful time, with hot, clear days and long, still evenings – but this is also when New Zealanders are on holidays, so things can get a bit hectic. A better bet is to visit during autumn (March to April) when the grapes are being harvested, the kids are back at school and days resonate with post-summer nostalgia.

  • Best-price guarantee

    Found your stay cheaper? We’ll match the price and give you a $75 voucher

  • Smith Extra on arrival

    Enjoy extras such as a picnic lunch, champagne or spa treatments, on the house

Getting there

  • Planes

    The closest international airport to the Wairarapa is Wellington Airport (www.wellingtonairport.co.nz), about two hours drive away. Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.com) flies daily between Auckland and Masterton in Wairarapa (return from NZ$210).
  • Trains

    Tranz Metro (www.tranzmetro.co.nz) trains run daily between Wellington and Masterton (NZ$14), stopping at Featherston, Greytown and Carterton.
  • Automobiles

    The best way to explore the Wairarapa is with your own wheels. Pick up a hire car in Wellington: all the international big-name companies have offices at Wellington Airport, or at the ferry terminal if you’re arriving by sea from the South Island.
  • Taxis

    Masterton Taxis (06 378 2555) services the region’s main towns.