Cape Palliser Lighthouse

The Wairarapa

Get a few puffs into your lungs on the 250-step climb to the base of this candy-striped lighthouse (1897). It's a beaut view from up here, if the wind isn't blowing your eyeballs into the back of your head. The surrounding shoreline is home to a malodorous seal colony, the North Island’s largest breeding area for these oceanic dudes.

Whatever you do in your quest for a photo, don’t get between the seals and the sea: if you block their escape route they’re likely to charge you – and they can move surprisingly fast.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Wairarapa attractions

1. Putangirua Pinnacles

11.49 MILES

Standing like giant organ pipes, these 'hoodoos' were formed by rain washing silt and sand away, exposing the underlying bedrock. It's an eerie landscape,…

2. Coney Wines

24.93 MILES

Fingers crossed that your tasting host will be the inimitable Tim Coney, an affable character who makes a mighty shiraz and may randomly burst into song…

3. Martinborough Vineyard

28.66 MILES

The first vineyard to plant pinot noir in the region also has the best name: it's a local legend with a sterling international reputation. The cellar door…

4. Tirohana Estate

28.86 MILES

Head past the popular restaurant to the tasting room hung with swords and guns.

5. Poppies Martinborough

28.88 MILES

Delectable handcrafted wines served by the label's passionate winemaking and viticulturalist duo. Savour the wines alongside a well-matched platter in the…

6. Ata Rangi

28.91 MILES

One of the region’s pioneering winemakers. Great drops across the board and a cute cellar door also selling honey and olive oil. Book a tasting in advance.

7. Palliser Wines

28.93 MILES

Wines so good, even the Queen has some stashed away in her cellar. A slick outfit, as befitting one of Martinborough's best-known producers.

8. Schubert Wines

28.98 MILES

Run by German imports who searched for and found the best spot in the world to produce their favourite wine, pinot noir. This compact cellar door is big…