Just a hour’s drive from Wellington is Wairarapa where you can visit the Southern-most point of New Zealand’s North Island known as Cape Palliser. Alternatively you could head to the vineyards of Martinborough and sample some of the region’s wonderful wines. If you come from Wellington you will have the chance to drive over the Rimutaka Hill road. About halfway down there is a place where all of Wairarapa opens up and you can see the rugged coast on the East all the way along to bush clad ranges to the West.

Off the beaten track

Wairarapa is a rural part of New Zealand with a charm that is off the beaten track. There are a wide range of experiences to be had in this part of the country. For example you could head up to the Waiohine Gorge. If you want to wander around the ranges go to the swing bridge at the foot of the Tararuas. If you decide you want to visit Cape Palliser which of course lies on the coast, you will pass through Ngawi which is a tiny fishing village that is extremely picturesque.

Extremely charming

Each town in this part of the country has its own charm and character. For example Martinborough is the heart of the region’s wine industry. You could choose to take a tour through the town’s vineyards or instead you could visit Greytown which has some wonderful architecture and for many people is a favourite weekend destination. There are plenty of accommodation options, you could choose to stay at a home stay cottage or a boutique hotel. If you are visiting it is best to have a car because it is a big area.

Castlepoint, Wairarapa, New Zealand by Phillip Capper, on Flickr