Located between Masterton to the north and Greytown to the south, it is easy to see why Carterton considers itself the heart of Wairarapa.
The township is full of character and home to a large artistic community. Its unique attractions include: Paua World, an amazing gift shop selling high quality jewellery, giftware and homeware made from the paua shell; and Stonehenge Aotearoa, a modern, working interpretation of Stonehenge in England built specifically for its stunning hill-top location, are a big drawcard for visitors.
Carterton is the gateway to the northern Wairarapa town of Gladstone, a top wine producing area. Artists inparticular are drawn to Carterton for its inspiring landscapes, with the Tararua mountain range to the west, dramatic coastlines to the east, and farmland and grapevines in between.
Carterton is also well known for its annual Daffodil Carnival (September) when you can pick armloads of daffodils from a large flower-packed paddock. Every May, Carterton hosts the Oversew Fashion Awards, showcasing fashion design through 'upcycling'.
Major events are held in the Carterton District throughout the year. This was complemented in 2011 by the opening of a new state of the art Events Centre which caters for a wide range of community services and events.
With a large resident arts community there are a number of private galleries to visit as well as groups to join from a wide variety of crafts to serious art groups. Art displays and exhibitions can also be seen at the Events Centre, as well as an annual national art competition.
With increasing numbers of visitors coming to Carterton to enjoy weekends and extended holidays there’s a choice of accommodation available including a terrific camping ground, Howard Booth Caravan Park. The town has great dining and cafes for visitors to enjoy.
Kids love playing at Carrington Park in the heart of town while the library, located next door to the modern Carterton Events Centre, is also worth a visit. Paua World in Kent Street is a terrific paua factory, souvenir & gift store
Stonehenge Aotearoa, a 10 minute-drive from Carterton, and a place where visitors can learn about the stars and their ancestors. Built on the same scale as Stonehenge in England, Stonehenge Aotearoa is a complete and working structure designed and built for its precise location. Explore the mysteries of our past and learn how early cultures, including New Zealand Maori, used the Sun, Moon and stars for life and survival.
Fensham Reserve, just a few minutes' drive from the town's main street, is a 48-hectare remnant kahikatea swamp forest and import wetlands with a one-hour walking track. The tracks take you through a variety of terrain, along wetland boardwalks, through native bush and up to a hilltop with views of rolling farmland. You're likely to spot tuis, fantails and 500-year-old trees along the way.
Tararua Forest Park. A short drive from Carterton is the dramatic Waiohine Gorge with its swing bridge – a popular place to picnic in the summer and another access point into the vast Tararua Forest Park.
Daffodil Festival: Every spring since the 1920’s people have been coming to pick daffodils from a field on the Booth family farm, “Middlerun”. This has grown into the annual Daffodil Festival held every September.
Balloon Festival: Every autumn the Wairarapa Balloon Festival has a number of events held in the Carterton District. A stunning array of hot air balloons from around the world take part in this week-long festival.
Scarecrow Festival: The district is also home to the Scarecrow Festival held every November with Scarecrows lining the roads from Gladstone to Longbush, and activities including Scarecrow Fair and Scarecrow Scamper.
Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival: Town meets country at this quality annual celebration of the wine harvest on the banks of the Ruamahanga River in early-mid March
Carterton District Council, Holloway Street | Ph: