It’s an area of sheep-raising, vineyards, farms and outdoor activities like horseback riding and hiking through forest parks.
A major feature of this lovely fertile region is Lake Wairarapa, the North Island’s third largest lake. It’s a popular spot for fishing and birdwatching.
The main town, Martinborough, is a firm fixture on the foodie gourmet trail. Wellington locals flock here at weekends to drop into the cellar doors of surrounding vineyards, known for their good-quality pinot noir and sauvignon blanc wines.
Nearby there are farms to visit, horses and quad bikes to ride, outdoor rope courses, kayaking and bushwalks to get appetites firing.
The Wairarapa region lies over the Rimutaka Ranges, 75 km (46 miles) east of Wellington.
Trains run to Featherstone from Wellington, from where buses connect to Martinborough and Greytown. Organized tours taking in the region’s farms, glow-worm caves and vineyards are popular from Wellington.