Tramping, hunting, white water rafting, canoeing, fishing and all types of wilderness experiences are catered for by our tour operators. For photographers and plant lovers, the region is idyllic. Its 8300 square kilometres includes the North Island's largest stand of native forest. It also embraces one of New Zealand's most beautiful lakes,
Waikaremoana (a haven for trout fishing).
Only half an hour's drive from the city there is Eastwoodhill arboretum which botanists have confirmed as the largest collection of Northern Hemisphere tree and plant species existing in the Southern Hemisphere. Further into the hills, but on a main road, is Hackfalls arboretum which includes a collection of 35 different varieties of rare Mexican oaks. Both arboreta host plant-lovers and botanists from throughout the world.
Our high proportion of Maori people adds a further dimension – an opportunity to study their culture and tradition. Trails have been opened up to provide access to historic sites. Within the region are some of the finest examples of Maori meeting-houses with their elaborate Waihirere Maori concert group was chosen to travel to London to perform in the concert at the Royal Albert Hall celebrating the 50th birthday of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who began her singing development in Gisborne.
Painters, poets and potters abound, attracted to the region both by the relaxed lifestyle and by the mystique of its Maori culture which influences much of the art.
Coming from Wellington, you drive over the winding Rimutaka Hill road. Halfway down there’s a corner where the whole vista of the Wairarapa opens up before you, bush-clad ranges to the west across flat plains to a rugged coast on the east.
A rural area with an off-the-beaten-track charm, Wairarapa, New Zealand, offers travellers a wide range of experiences. Head up to the Waiohine Gorge at the foot of the Tararuas and a swing bridge is your gateway to tramping tracks into the ranges. Head out to Cape Palliser on the coast and you’ll pass through the tiny fishing village of Ngawi where you’ll see a colourful array of old bulldozers and tractors parked on the beach.