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Family fun

Four great ideas for a family day trip exploring the Wairarapa

  • 3 minutes

North Island, New Zealand

What to do with kids during the holidays is the perennial question parents face. Entertainment should not cost the earth. The Wairarapa delivers budget-friendly great outdoors creating holiday magic.  Explore Wellington’s backyard, the Wairarapa either as a day trip or a short break.  Here are four ideas that make the journey over the winding Rimutaka hills from Wellington worthwhile.

Greytown Imperial Productions head office, New Zealand
Greytown Imperial Productions head office
  1. Greytown – Imperial Productions

Discover the intricacies of hand crafted traditional lead toy soldiers. A toy shop harking back to the 19th century is a side road gem nestled among mature trees in Greytown. Collectors all over the world make a beeline for the unassuming shop.

Tin replica soldiers fitted out in perfect miniature regalia are on guard in the window display. Imperial Productions is a must visit destination for collectors and people who have not viewed the process involved. The window display and interiors are a living example of Victorian toy production and skill that is now limited to craftspeople such as Imperial Productions. The shop exudes character and the personality of the replica soldiers. The Edwardian era building originally housed the bootmaker. Imperial Productions is part of the Greytown shopping precinct…


Greytown is a perfect place for lunch or exploring the shops. Greytown is entrepreneurial with its Victorian charm and drawcard. For local Wellingtonians it is a break from Lambton Quay with the rural countryside peeping around the shop corners. For Australians and New Zealanders the town is an excellent example of a nineteenth century shopping street that has withstood the ravages of time.

  1. Wool is the backbone of the economy

Masterton Wood Shead is where the backbone of the New Zealand economic development is not boring. The Wool Shed Interactive Centre answers all questions you might have about wool and shearing. A reminder of the importance of wool is the enormous next big statue of a shearer with his shorn sheep as you enter Masterton. The National Museum of Sheep and Shearing is hands-on, touch, feel and walk through a genuine woolshed. A must see attraction for New Zealand and Australian visitors interested in what is an important part of our economic culture.  And it’s fascinating for kids as well. There is a great woolly based gift shop. The Wool Shed Museum, open seven days a week from 10.00am to 4.00pm.  Admission fee applies, entrance to the gift shop is free.


Selfie moment next to the massive statue of the shearer (Masterton)  is a must. Take care as the statue is located on a busy state highway.

Castle Point Lighthouse, sunrise, Wairarapa, New Zealand
Castle Point Lighthouse, sunrise, Wairarapa

Castlepoint Scenic Reserve highlights:

  • Watching tractors launch recreational boats into the sea
  • The lagoon is a great place for paddling, kayaks and boogie boards
  • Climb to the lighthouse and take in the panoramic views

Castlepoint with its surging ocean, magnificent views of the coast & windblown fish n chips on the shoreline. Kids will enjoy the scale of the ocean with the lighthouse perched at the top of the stairs. While it’s a steep climb the exhilaration of getting there is a reward in itself. The walk is approximately 30 minutes over the reef and past high cliffs. Supervise younger children as cliff faces are unfenced. Dogs on a leash. For details Lighthouse Walk – Castlepoint Scenic Reserve.


Nature offers several options closeby Castlepoint Scenic Reserve, Wairarapa:

  • Deliverance Cove walking track to Castle Rock and sunbathing fur seals
  • Mataikona rocks, (low tide) extraordinary ridged mudflows
  • Tinui ANZAC walkway (moderately challenging)
  • Tinui pub to find out why the locals love the creative pub meals

With its reef, lagoon, lighthouse and Castle Rock, Castlepoint is a spectacular stretch of Wairarapa coastline. An hour from Masterton, the reserve attracts many birds and marine mammals. There are several walks suitable for most age and fitness levels in and around the scenic reserve. All walks begin at the roadend carpark.

Castle Point lagoon and lighthouse, Wairarapa, New Zealand
Castle Point lagoon and lighthouse, Wairarapa

Check Wairarapa road closures to avoid disappointment beforehand.


Read more about swimming at Castlepoint, best time to visit and the history of the Castlepoint Lighthouse … Castlepoint Scenic Reserve.

@Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre
@Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre

Pukaha National Wildlife Centre (formerly) Mt Bruce Sanctuary where kiwis and other native species live is part of the top five wildlife experiences in the Wellington / Wairarapa region.

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre

Pukahu is just under 2 hours drive from Wellington and definitely should be part of your Wairarapa exploration. This veteran of wildlife conservation just gets better and better at the visitor experience. The Pukaha National Centre champions endangered birds and other Aotearoa wildlife creating a must-do destination for lovers of the outdoors… read more Wellington wildlife, 5 must-visit places, what to do & see.


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