2 Wairarapa Walks with Incredible Views [New Zealand]

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

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The Wairarapa is a New Zealand gem that most people I know take for granted.

Which is almost criminal because the Wairarapa is truly stunning and the Wairarapa walks are some of the best walks in New Zealand!

Located in the south-eastern corner of the North Island, the region is home to the beautiful Tararua Forest Park, as well as charming towns like Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Martinborough, and Featherston.

I have lived in The Wairarapa (in Carterton, NZ) for most of my life and absolutely love this whole area.

One of the best things to do in Wairarapa is going for a walk in one of the forest parks or along the Wairarapa coast. The views from the walks in Wairarapa are out of this world!

As a local, I wanted to share my two favourite Wairarapa walks you must visit for unbelievable views on a beautiful clear day.

 2 WAIRARAPA WALKS WITH INCREDIBLE VIEWS [NEW ZEALAND], gray suspension bridge over blue waters in autumn
Photo by CJ Lamb on Unsplash

There are so many things to do and see if you are doing a road trip around New Zealand’s North Island.

Of course, I am biased towards Wairarapa; you should definitely visit this picturesque place!

This region is predominately an agricultural community with a minimal amount of people around and endless greenery, animals, and lookouts.

If you are from a city you will be shocked by how quiet this place is. Oftentimes, you’ll the best walks Wairarapa has to offer all to yourself!

My two favourite places to head for Wairarapa walks are Mount Dick Lookout and Rocky Lookout.

I was fortunate to grow up with these walks as both of them are located near my hometown of Carterton, NZ in the stunning Tararua Forest Park.

So if you’re ever in Wairarapa and the weather is gorgeous and you’re wondering what to do in Masterton or Carterton, just check out one of these amazing Wairarapa hikes!

🗺 TOUR RECOMMENDATION: Looking to do a tour to discover the best of New Zealand? Join a Haka tour and see some of the most beautiful spots NZ has to offer!

PS: Check out my Ultimate New Zealand Travel Guide!

2 Great Wairarapa Walks

1. Rocky Lookout

Amazing Wairarapa walking tracks, wooden sign reading 'Rocky Lookout'

The first of my favourite Wairarapa hikes is the amazing Rocky Lookout.

This is one of the best walks Wairarapa has to offer and is part of Mt Holdsworth in the Tararua Forest Park located on Norfolk road.

The hiking trailhead is about 15-20 minutes out of Masterton, NZ, and it is one of the best Masterton walks.

There are loads of tracks you can walk throughout this forest so depending on your fitness ability and how long you want to walk, all of them are incredible and give you great views.

They can vary from a couple of hours for a return trip or you can do the longer treks which will take a couple of days and you can stay in the huts located at the top.

There is also a campsite located at the bottom of the Tararua Forest Park before all of the treks with great facilities and in a beautiful setting.

What to do in Masterton NZ, dog on wooden viewing platform view views of mountains in the Wairarapa

If you want to head to Rocky Lookout you just follow the general path and then you will come to a sign which leads two ways – pick Rocky Lookout!

It takes around 45-60 minutes each way. I suggest taking your lunch up there if it is a nice day and sitting in the sun, enjoying the views.

Make sure you bring your camera and a large water bottle!

📸 PRO TIP: My go-to camera for all my travels is the Sony A7iii – I highly recommend it!

If you have time, you can explore some of the other great walks around Masterton at Henley Lake Park or the Masterton Reserve. Both offer amazing Wairarapa walking tracks.

Incredible walks in the Wairarapa, sitting with arms wrapped around a dog on wooden viewing platform with mountains and blue sky in the background

🛌🏼 Click to check out the best accommodation in Wairarapa here

2. Mount Dick

Since I’m from Carterton, I’m partial to the Carterton walks, and one of the best walks near Carterton, NZ is Mount Dick lookout!

To get there, just follow Dalefield road towards Tararua Forest Park all the way until you reach a sign which says Kaipaitangata.

Here you will find access to Mount Dick Lookout!

must-do walks in Wairarapa, landscape view of mountains on a sunny day

This is one of the best Wairarapa Walks, but you can drive all the way up to the lookout if you really can’t be bothered and just want the view.

But if you have time, it is nice to walk up and take your time. You should also only drive up if you have a 4-wheel drive.

It took me just over an hour each way (walking) and in my opinion, it was mentally harder than Rocky Lookout because it feels like you are walking forever, whereas Rocky Lookout is a windy path with different scenery at each corner.

Once you reach the top you are spoilt with views of the Wairarapa and the rest of Tararua Forest Park. It is simply amazing on a nice day.

If you squint real hard, you may even glimpse the Wairarapa coast (just kidding, there are too many mountains in the way).

🛌🏼 Click to check out the best accommodation in Wairarapa here

This district is only an hour’s drive from Wellington so if you are having a week or so in Wellington make sure you come over the hill and visit the Wairarapa for a few days to check out one of these great Wairarapa walks!

I will be writing a few more posts on different parts of this region in the future because there is a load of things to do in Wairarapa, so keep an eye out!

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. I recommend either SafetyWing or World Nomads.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ Where is the Wairarapa?

The stunning Wairarapa is located on the southeastern part of New Zealand’s North Island.

✅ What is Wairarapa famous for?

The Wairarapa is known for its gorgeous beaches and coastlines, and the incredible views that you can see from most walks in the Wairarapa. The region is also known for its amazing wine.

✅ What to do in Masterton, NZ outdoors?

Masterton is full of amazing outdoor activities, including a wildlife center and Henley Lake Park. You also can’t miss out on the amazing masterton walks. One of my favourite things to do in Masterton is hiking up to Rocky Lookout nearby in the Wairarapa.

What are your favourite Wairarapa walks? Are there any other amazing walks near Masterton and Carterton you consider must-dos? Let me know what Wairarapa hikes you recommend or any questions you have in the comments!

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2 Wairarapa Walks with Incredible Views [New Zealand]

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