Wairarapa to Wellington 1

Drive from Napier down towards Masterton mostly unremarkable and uneventful. Countryside got much more interesting the closer we got to the Wairarapa (where I’ve wanted to visit ever since watching Outrageous Fortune The Movie – Christmas Special). Long drive so didn’t quite make it to Castlepoint for Wednesday night as per original plan.

Mawley campsite in Masterton nice, convenient if not particularly scenic. Nice folk what run it and a pleasant enough stop for the night. Thursday woke to a lovely sunny morning and blue, blue skies.

The drive out to Castlepoint the next morning was really gorgeous…


Burnside Church

…. and the destination stunning…

Castle Rock

… Walked up to the lighthouse for amazing views. Wide sandy beach, dunes, rocks, the whole works. Castle Rock itself looking out to sea. Climbed a short way up for more amazing views. All in all, whiled away a goodly morning mooching around the rocks and beaches.

Just as we were about to leave, ran into Tama and Janine, a lovely, friendly couple who gave us the full gen on the spriritual importance of greenstone to the Maori and some hot tips on where to find baby seals at our next stop Ngawi and Cape Palliser via an overnight stay at Lake Ferry.

Yet another stunning drive to Lake Ferry…

Lake Ferry

… and the camping ground there was really beautiful – probably our favourite yet. With some really cool resident campervans.

Cool Camper

Cool Camper

We parked up right on the shores of the lake – a perfect spot to watch the sun go down. In between preparing and cooking dinner…


… mooched along the shoreline watching the bird life go by – the usual seagulls but also heron, cormorant (and that’s just the ones I can identify), and snapping the odd fish skeleton…

Funky fish

Sunset when it came was ab fab and the post sunset red sky seemed to last forever…

Sunset over Lake Ferry

…and was followed by an equally amazing starry, starry, sky.

Woke this morning to a wonderful view of the lake and low cloud over the mountains. Windy, windy, windy though. Suddenly the (closed) roof vent was heard bouncing across the campervan roof. Just about managed to rescue it from blowing away altogether and put it to one side to deal with after brekky…


Energy replenished and fully awake it was time to get up on the roof. After something of a struggle (combination of high winds and incompetence) managed to reposition the vent – a joint effort with Roz on the inside, some tea spoons, matchsticks, me on the roof, and yet another friendly, helpful Kiwi lady (with some strong tape), the vent was secured and we were good to go.

Onward to Cape Palliser  Ngwai, to check out the lighthouse and the seals – slight traffic jam New Zealand stylee…

Bringing in the sheep

Climbed the 250 steps up to the lighthouse which did a good job of working off most of our breakfast…

Cape Palliser Lighthouse

…and we got a bit of a decent view for our efforts…

Beach, Cape Palliser

Came back down and were lucky enough to run into a group of locals and a couple of visiting elders about to dive or forage the rocks for their dinner. What a treat… The younger guys bought up at least 1 huge crayfish while we were watching, Roscoe, one of them, said they’d been diving the previous Wednesday when 3 Orca  (killer whales) were in the water (they – the guys not the whales – got out pretty quick) – must have been an amazing site.

While the young ones were getting scuzzy diving in the water, the elder chatted to us about Paua and other shellfish clinging to the rocks, and gathered some beautiful discarded Paua shells.

Paua shells

Paua shell

He explained how the smaller ones had been illegally eaten, that although there were strict rules about only harvesting live ones above a certain size, a black market for them existed, rules were flouted, and consequently there’s been a decline in numbers.

These folk though seemed to have a deep respect for the sea, and it was a real pleasure chatting to them – so Roscoe and Co. big thanks for letting us into a bit of your world!

Time to move on and check out the seal action, though would have loved to stay  longer to check out the catch.

We’d been told more than once by different folk that we’d smell the seals even before we saw them… well we didn’t have much luck there. Not sure whether it was the high wind, time of day or what, but there was not a seal in sight. Never mind, the experience with the divers more than made up for lack of seal action and there will be more opportunities on South Island for sure…

Last push on to our final destination on North Island – Wellington. Stopped off at Featherstone so Roz could make another one of her ace sarnies for lunch. Yum!

We’d seen an awful lot of railway track on our travels but not yet a train. Roz’s wish was granted – in Featherstone there was not just one, but TWO trains in the short time we were there, and one of them was a really, really, really, long logging train. Sweet as…

Logging train

After lunch stop it was over the hill on more twisty turny roads and eventually into Wellington where a very warm welcome awaited us. Hazel and Dougie who I met when I first visited NZ in 2004 have been so lovely and hospitable (again now and also when I visited in 2007/8). So  we get to have fantastic company, a lovely room for the weekend, a great catch up, and be spoilt rotten. Big Big Thanks!! AND we get to go along to a family crimbo party tomorrow too.

After our weekend in Wellington Roz and I go our separate ways. Me onto South Island where I pick up my next travel companion, and Roz to Oz  (see what I did there).

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One thought on “Wairarapa to Wellington

  • Acyee

    Oh I say about the vent,talk about patching up !!!
    Saw what you did about Roz,
    Hey and bye to Roz, sounds like you had a great time and it will soon be hey to your next travelling companion.
    Loved that camp site.:-)