Featherston NZ is the gateway from Wellington into the Wairarapa region: in a stunning natural environment, packed with fascinating history, full of interesting creative and community-minded people: it’s great place to visit, and to live.
Wairarapa Moana (Lake Wairarapa) is the ‘glistening waters’ referred to in the translation of Wairarapa, and is the natural jewel in our crown. It is an internationally important wetland, the largest lake and remaining wetland complex in the lower North Island. Here you can enjoy walking, birdwatching, duck hunting in season, cycling and kayaking, and more, plus there’s places to camp.
Featherston is also home to the world’s only Fell Engine, surviving from the days of the Rimutaka Incline Railway. The town’s fascinating history is strongly linked to the railway and World War One. The Museum Complex on Fitzherbert Street is well worth a visit.
These days the town is the best spot to rest and refuel after biking the nearby Rimutaka Cycle Trail. This is a ‘Great Ride’ on Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail. From the head of Wellington Harbour, the Rimutaka Cycle Trail cuts through the bush-clad Rimutaka Mountain Range, passing through tunnels on an old rail trail, and coming out via historic Cross Creek (on a hot day, stop here for a quick dip under the bridge). You can choose to continue on the trail skirting around the wild southern coast to Wellington, or head left at Western Lake Rd, up to Featherston.
It’s a popular choice to come up to town and make a day of it. Rehydrate at one of our cafes, or pick up picnic supplies from C’est Cheese and our wonderful Baker. You can catch the weekend return train to Wellington in the early evening, so you’ll have time to peruse the shops or visit a museum or gallery, then perhaps enjoy a well earned drink at the newly renovated Royal Hotel (opening soon). Pick up a book to read on the train, from one of our secondhand book stores. We’re also New Zealand’s Booktown, with many secondhand sellers and an annual literary festival: and home to many artists, jewellers, crafters, writers, and makers.
Featherston First Fridays further share and showcase some of these talented folk with our monthly events over summer celebrating creativity and community.
Coming to the Wairarapa for a weekend? Stop in Featherston First.
(photo credit: Bevan Wilson)