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Relax & Unwind in Wairarapa – Drive from Wellington with Pegasus

Martinborough, Featherston, Greytown, Cape Palliser – if you haven’t visited yet, then it’s well and truly time you did!

If you’re looking for a destination for a fun weekend away with your friends or family, then don’t go past the Wairarapa – it’s an easy drive from Wellington and a great place to indulge the senses, relax and unwind.  With their great restaurants, vineyards, cafes, and boutique shops, together with quaint B&B style accommodation in character buildings, it’s easy to fall in love with the Wairarapa!

It’s becoming popular, so plan ahead and don’t leave it too late to book.  There are excellent accommodation options in Martinborough, Featherston and Greytown, but most do not have a large number of rooms, so Wairarapa accommodation can book out quite quickly.  Fly into Wellington Airport, we will pick you up in our Pegasus shuttle van and take you just around the corner to our Wellington Airport rental car office in Mirimar.  We’ll have the paperwork signed and you’ll be on your way in no time!  At Pegasus we have lots of great rental vehicle options at great prices, but as with the accommodation – we do book up over popular weekends. So, be organized and book ahead – you’ll get better prices and your preferred choice of rental car make and model!

A Toyota Corolla Hatchback from Pegasus Rental Cars Wellington.

A very popular choice – a Toyota Corolla Hatchback from the Pegasus Rental Cars Wellington fleet!

 

Wairarapa Events – what’s on in the Wairarapa post-Covid?

The Wairarapa Region is well served for annual events, exact dates vary year by year of course, so you’ll need to check the calendar to be certain.  There were Covid disruptions in 2020 of course, but for 2021 and onwards the region is returning to a full scheduled of wonderful Wairarapa events.

Here are a few Wairarapa events you may wish to take in – so do your research and plan ahead for these:

Toast Martinborough – November

Usually on the third Sunday of November each year, Toast is a one-day multi-site event, spread across 8 – 10 vineyard sites, each doing its best to out-do the rest with their fabulous food, wine, food and entertainment.  Walk or shuttle between the venues and let your senses be indulged!

 

Friends chatting while at a Toast Martinborough event.

Toast Martinborough has been running for nearly 30 years, have you been there yet?

 

Wings Over Wairarapa Air Festival – Bi-Annually in February – Next Show 2023

The stunning Wairarapa scenery is a perfect backdrop for WINGS, a spectacular display of aerial action held over 3 days in sunny February at the Vintage Aviator Hood

WINGS is unlike any other aviation event – the Wairarapa scenery provides a stunning backdrop to an extravaganza of aerial action over three days.  Set at The Vintage Aviator Hood Aerodrome in Masterton, this is one to plan on, featuring the largest flying collection of flying WWI aircraft in the world.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force will feature with a significant section of each days flying including the T-6C Texan II, C130, A109, NH90, P3 Orion and Boeing 757.

A spectacular flight display of six planes at the Wings Air Festival in Wairarapa.

Wings Over Wairarapa is a must-do event for 2023 – add it to your calendar, you won’t want to miss it!

 

Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival – February, in Carterton

This festival is held at the beautiful, sheltered riverside setting locally known as ‘The Cliffs’ and showcases Wairarapa’s finest wineries, restaurants and food producers.  It also offers great entertainment!

A large crowd having fun while at the Wairarapa Wine Festival.

Photo Credit: https://www.wairarapaharvestfestival.co.nz/

Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival – Just one of many great events that happen in the Wairarapa, so check out what’s happening when you’re planning to visit!

Take a drive to the Wairarapa, just an hour from Wellington

Driving from Wellington to Featherston will take you the best part of an hour, so long as you avoid getting stuck in traffic heading out of Wellington.  Head out through the Hutt Valley, up and over the Remutakas, and before you know it, you’ll be in the relaxing Wairarapa region!

Things to do in the Wairarapa

Follow the Remutaka Rail Trail

This is a cycleway that follows the route of the old Wairarapa Railway line.  Pre-book a cycle tour or hire a bike or an e-bike to explore on your own.  There are some great cycle tours that include stops at vineyards along the way and introduce you to the best things to see and do in the Wairarapa wine growing region.  Half day, single day or multi-day options are available to suit your itinerary.  Or, ‘Wing It’ as we like to say at Pegasus, avoid the constraints of a tour, and free-wheel it at your own pace!

Spend a day in Featherston

Featherston has some great dining options, including its own Featherston cheese.  The main starting point for the Remutaka Rail Trail, it also has the Featherston Heritage Museum Complex and the Fell Locomotive Museum – great for the train spotters in the group!  There are also an abundance of bookstores in Featherson – so browse at your leisure.  The fantastic artisan food producers and dining options are the main drawcard here, so be sure to arrive with an empty stomach!

Enjoy Boutique Shopping in Greytown

From hand-built bicycles to Scandinavian inspired clothing, antiques and home décor, even a chocolatier!  Greytown is known for its great shopping in a tranquil country village setting.  Of course, you can also find great coffee and places to dine out and enjoy the surroundings, a must for your girl’s weekend in the Wairarapa!

Three women outdoors on a sunny day, enjoying shopping at Greytown.

Shop till you drop in Greytown – Photo Credit: https://www.wellingtonnz.com/

Martinborough – Jazz Festivals, Fairs, Classic Car Cruises and more!

Martinborough is a great place to visit any weekend, but tie it in with one of the many events they have happening in the town and it really comes alive.  Martinborough is very popular for weddings and special occasions, with a great selection of accommodation options, vineyards, a gin distillery, olive groves and more.  From stargazing to lavender picking, bird watching to horse trekking, there is always plenty to do – or take it easy and select from fantastic dining options for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  Once you’ve arrived in Martinborough, park your car for the night at your accommodation, take an easy stroll into town, then you can move from the Martinborough Hotel for the gin of the day, to one of many dining options, without having to worry about driving.  In Martinborough, it’s all about indulgence!

Take a drive to Cape Palliser Lighthouse & Ngawi

The drive from Martinborough to Cape Palliser is around 60 minutes, passing through the small and interesting town of Ngawi.  The final section is a bit tricky – largely gravel and with a ford to cross, so take care in our Pegasus Rental Car and look out for the seals on the rocks!

There are 253 steps to climb from the carpark to the actual lighthouse, so take a deep breath before you set out – it is worth it, we promise!

The iconically painted red and white lighthouse stands out from the cliffs behind, and is an essential navigation beacon for ships.  Prior to its construction in the 19th century, there were about 20 ships wrecked in or near Palliser Bay.

Be sure to take the time to spot the seals on the rocks around this rugged coastline, once you tune your eyes in to spot them on the black rocks, you’ll realise there are loads!

Cape Palliser Lighthouse overlooking the sea.

Cape Palliser Lighthouse Photo Credit: newzealand.com

 

Castlepoint Lighthouse

Driving from Martinborough, it is approx. 1 hr 30 mins to Castlepoint, heading northeast through Greytown, Carterton and Masterton.

Described as the most ‘instagrammable’ location near Wellington, it is certainly a stunning spot.  Follow the 30-minute walk via the boardwalk to the lighthouse and out over the reef.  There are other easy walks in the Castlepoint Scenic Reserve you may enjoy, such as the Deliverance Cove Track – which is a 1 hr 30-minute easy walk which the kids will also enjoy.  Head through the pines above the lagoon at Castlepoint Scenic Reserve and follow the reserve boundary to the base of Castle Rock. Spectacular views await!

Castlepoint Lighthouse with beautiful evening sunlight.

Castlepoint Lighthouse, Photo Credit: Chris Gin, via https://www.doc.govt.nz/

Fly into Wellington Airport and pick up a car from Pegasus Rental Car’s Wellington Airport location.  We’ll have you winging your way to the Wairarapa in no time!   Or, if you happen to be in Whanganui, our Whanganui Rental Car branch is just 2 hrs 45 minutes from Martinborough.