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In the southeast of the North Island at the heart of New Zealand's wine trail the Wairarapa offers some of the best wine and cuisine in the country. Within an hour's drive of Wellington set in wide valleys nestle the small towns of the Wairarapa.
Drive across the attractive hill country to Castlepoint Scenic Reserve; a popular beach resort for swimming, fishing and surfing. Miles of sand line a sheltered lagoon while Castle Rock towers some 162 metres high. The area is very popular for bird watching, spotting fur seals, dolphin and occasionally small whales visit the reserve. Riversdale Beach is reached by a beautiful country scenic drive. It is also a very popular surfing beach.
The Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve form a spectacular landscape in the Aorangi Forest Park. They are an incredible rock formation of pinnacles or 'hoodoos' used as a location in one of the Lord of the Rings films.
Martinborough is a quaint boutique wine village with over thirty family-owned vineyards within walking distance. So, collect a Wine Trail map and cycle or walk from cellar door to cellar door tasting the different wines that the region is famous for, especially the internationally recognised pinot noir. There are many excellent restaurants and cafés to complete the foodie experience.
The gardens of the Wairarapa are internationally and nationally recognised as gardens of significance. Take a tour round Richmond (Boxwood) Gardens for a formal Italian garden experience. Enjoy the calming therapeutic atmosphere of the labyrinth and restful gardens at Gardenstone, Dannevirke.