The local Masterton pools are called the Genesis Energy Recreation Centre, but don't expect some boring old pools. If you have little ones they'll be delighted with the array of hydo-slides and indoor fun. There's a rapid river, and one of the hydro-slides even leaves the building! If its raining outside then its a great place to entertain grumbling little ones.
The Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre is a must do while you are in Wairarapa. New Zealand's native flora an fauna is on show in the world class nature attraction. There are numerous displays inside, and you can take a stroll out side along the purpose built paths through the surrounding bush. Open every day except Christmas day, the centre is located north of Masterton. See the listing above for a full map.
As we alluded to above, the Wool Shed is located opposite the QE park on Dixon Street. Not your boring old museum the displays have been designed to capture interest and many are interactive. They describe The Wool Shed as a touch and feel Museum. You'll even see a restored wool shed out the back to see how farm workers did their job last century The Wool Shed was previously called the Shear Discovery Centre.
Hopefully you will get a chance to visit the wine producing region of Martinborough. Well in fact it's really a 'town' and a small one at that. But don't let the size fool you., there are 20 vineyards in walking distance from the main street. The Martinborough Wine Trail is a wine lovers paradise. The Martinborough Wine Centre is located on the main street and has almost all of the Martinborough wines available. The building is in an old automotive garage (yes more garages) but it has been beautifully restored. The main street in Martinborough closely resembles Greytown.
Greytown is roughly a half hours drive south from Masterton. Its definitely worth a look, as the main street still looks like it was back in Victorian times. The shops have kept the theme going and most are beautifully restored. The town has become quite a destination in the past few years with designer clothing stores, boutique gift shops and antique stores. There are some great cafes to grab a coffee, so make sure you stop in on your way through. Historic Greytown is also home to the Cobblestones museum which is set in the same period. A few dollars admission and you are transported back to how life used to be in rural New Zealand.
Featherston is further south than Greytown towards Wellington. The town is home to the Fell Locomotive Museum. Open 10 - 4pm every day, the museum houses actual locomotives including one that is the last of its kind in the world. See the unique "centre rail" technique that were once used for extra grip on the steep Rimutaka Ranges close by.
Things to do in Wairarapa
Wairarapa consists of mostly valleys, with mountain ranges on each side. On the Tararua Ranges side you'll discover the Tararua Forest Park. A bit of a drive but many spectacular walks are on hand, including swimming camping and picnic area which is great for families and kids. In fact you'll find numerous bush walks down the length of the Wairarapa. Head to a visitor centre in any town to pick up a free hiking map for the Wairarapa district.
There are golf courses aplenty in this region and they go well with the stunning scenery. Each city has its own course with some amazing courses in Martinborough. Spend a day on the golf course, then have a local wine. A great combination! The Masterton Golf Club is also a must do. The backdrop of the mountain range makes for some stunning scenery. There are many accommodation options in each area, with many guesthouses providing a local welcome.
The Castlepoint lighthouse is a popular attraction in the area and should definitely be added to your sightseeing list. The lighthouse was first light in 1913 and its still in use today. Although it doesn't run on oil - mains power, and its completely automated. It is worth the walk up the steps to the amazing view. The lighthouse is about an hours drive east from Masterton, on the Wairarapa Coast. To get there simply go to Te Ore Ore Road in Masterton and head down that til it changes to Masterton Castlepoint Road. Keep on this road til the coast!
Heading out of the Wairarapa slightly you'll come across the famous Tui Brewery in Mangatinoka. Still making beer today, the original building has been standing since 1889. There is a great factory tour where you see the beer making process. And no trip to a beer brewery would be complete without a taste. There are tasting rooms, and a great restaurant on site. Don't miss it!
More Masterton Things To Do
There are so many other interesting things to do in Masterton itself. Henley Lake on Te Ore Ore Road is nearby to the hospital and provides a great afternoon stroll. There is lots of wildlife and you'll often see rowing crews in the lake. For petrol-heads there is the Pointon Collection on McKinstry Road (Past the Henley Lake) which is basically a local automotive museum. The collection featuring tools, cars, signs and all manner of car memorabilia from the last century. It is housed in a unique 1930s style automtoive repair shop.
Masterton Cinema (aka the Regent 3) is still housed in the original building on Queen Street, Masterton. You'll find 3 screens showing all manner of movies including the odd 'classic'. Almost all movies are the new releases so you'll see blockbusters, comedy and kids movies. If its raining, head to the cinemas!
This is just a small sample of the things to do in Masterton. Exploring this town, you'll discover interesting nooks and crannies everywhere. With over 150 years of history, there are still many historical buildings around. There are sightseeing opportunities aplenty in the surrounding Wairarapa district with mountain ranges on both sides. Make sure you allow a couple of days to experience rural New Zealand life, with an urban feel.
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