Featherston is the gateway to the Wairarapa, a welcoming sight as you sweep down off the Remutaka Hill. Although the smallest of the five Wairarapa towns, little ‘Feathy’ has much to offer and is also great base from which to explore South Wairarapa.
As well as its cafés and antique shops Featherston is home to seven book shops ensuring that there is something interesting for every passing traveller. Officially, Featherston is a recognised ‘Booktown’, part of a global concept, with the most famous booktown being Hay-on-Wye in the UK. The annual Featherston Booktown festival is held in May celebrating everything to do with books, writers and reading. The festival includes writing workshops, poetry readings, talks by authors and illustrators, theatre performances and a book fair featuring stalls with rare and second-hand books.
Among the town’s key attractions are museums, which are unlike anything else you’ll see around New Zealand including the Fell Locomotive Museum the Heritage Museum.
C’est Cheese is an artisan deli specialising in New Zealand handcrafted cheeses, plus their own brand, Remutaka Pass Creamery. If savoury is not your thing, right next door in Sweet Kitchen & Delights.
The Fell Engine Museum houses the only Fell engine in the world, a survivor from the days of the Rimutaka Incline Railway. The museum also has an incline brake van and lots of railway memorabilia.
The Featherston Heritage Museum tells the story of the historic Featherston military base and its role as a prisoner of war camp in World War II.
Tauherenikau Racecourse: Just up the road from Featherston on SH2 is the beautiful Tauherenikau Racecourse which offers equestrian events and jet-boating amid sprawling grounds and tranquil native trees - a fantastic place for motorhomes and caravans to park-up.
Lake Wairarapa: South of Featherston are the shores of Lake Wairarapa, the largest wetland area in the lower North Island and a significant nesting ground for native and migratory birds. The 9,000 hectare Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Park provides a perfect viewing hide for watching wetland birds in a magnificent environment - Te Rakau Birding can help with this!
Stunning coast: If you're after some coastal excitement, Featherston is a departure point for Lake Ferry and Cape Palliser. An exciting drive takes in steep cliffs, signs of an 800-year old M?ori settlement, tiny Ngawi fishing village before bringing you to Cape Palliser Lighthouse, New Zealand fur seal colonies, surf beaches, swimming, fishing, diving and M?ori legends.
Cycle Trail: Featherston is an easy place to join up with the Rimutaka Cycle Trail, a 'Great Ride' on Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail. The Wairarapa side of this ride takes in urban and rural landscapes with exceptional experiences on the historic Rimutaka Rail Trail and the Wairarapa south coast.
Remutaka Rail Trail: You can follow the old railway line on the Remutaka Rail Trail through tunnels and over ridges as it winds between Cross Creek near Featherston to Kaitoke on the Upper Hutt side. Cycle from Featherston to Cross Creek on the off-road limestone trail.
South Wairarapa District Council, 19 Kitchener Street, Martinborough, Ph: