Top 10 things to do in Carterton
Home to award-winning pies, beautiful gardens and great country pubs, Carterton’s clear night skies make it a great place for star gazing
51 Ahiaruhe Road, Carterton
Wairarapa is one of the most accessible dark sky destinations in the world and what better place to stargaze than at Stonehenge, Aotearoa's unique open-air astronomical observatory. A modern interpretation of the mysterious ancient monument, Stonehenge Aotearoa is based upon starlore from tangata whenua, Pasifika and other cultures around the world.
Book a daytime guided tour to learn about the henge, Māori starlore, Polynesian navigation and archaeoastronomy or head along on a Friday or Saturday night for a Star Safari followed by stargazing (weather permitting).
31 High Street North, Carterton
Finom (pronounced 'fee-nom') is Hungarian for dainty delicious delicacies. Head chef Sarah takes her inspiration from her partner's Hungarian background, bringing a slice of Europe to the Wairarapa.
Specialising in European-inspired sweet treats and seasonal vegetarian fare, Finom creates elegant food from scratch that looks as good as it tastes.
Waiohine Gorge Road, Dalefield , Carterton
Waiohine Gorge is a 20 minutes drive from Carterton and is a popular spot for camping, swimming and walking trails. Take a walk along the crystal-clear water and walk along the suspension bridge where you’ll be able to see the Fern Stream Waterfall flowing through to the stream.
571 Gladstone Road, Gladstone, Carterton
Known as “the Gladdy” to locals, this establishment as been operating since 1870. The original building burnt down in 1934, with local folklore recalling that patrons were so keen to save the cases of beer that they ran right past the full cash register; the beer was saved, but the cash went up in flames.
As well as beer, Gladstone Inn serves local wines, including Gladstone Vineyard, which is just down the road. Alongside your beverage, enjoy their country-style menu that makes the most of fresh produce from local suppliers and their very own garden.
Paul Melser Pottery
659 Norfolk Road, Upper Plain, Carterton
Ever admired the ceramics at Loretta on Cuba Street? They’re made by Paul Melser, a celebrated ceramicist who lives and works in an idyllic rural setting near Carterton.
Melser fires his range of tableware to 1300 degrees which makes it dishwasher and microwave safe and ovenproof. Using a technique derived from fusion of Japanese Mingei (folk art) and English craft traditions, Melser wants his ceramics to be used every day and be a reminder of the beautiful, natural materials they’re made from.
Tikara Country Gardens
113 Ahiaruhe Road, Ahiaruhe, Carterton
Spend an afternoon exploring the beautiful Tikara County Gardens, tended by owners Bruce and Mary and their two fox terrier dogs, Buster and Bella. Spanning five acres, the gardens boasts more than 250 roses, 300 red maple trees, irises and cherry blossom trees, magnolias and olive trees. Situated on the Eastern Hills of Carterton, Tikara has stunning views of the regions Tararua Ranges and Ruamahunga River. It’s open daily between October to April by appointment.
Carterton Farmers Market
Memorial Square, High Street, Carterton
Celebrating the local produce and products from around Carterton, the weekly farmers market is a time when the local community comes together.
Held in the centre of town every Sunday, head along for a coffee (don't forget your reusable cup) and have a browse around the stalls of fresh produce, olive oil and honey and handmade crafts made by creative locals.
351 Dalefield Road, Dalefield , Carterton
Famous for the pick-your-own lavender event every January, visitors come from all over New Zealand to experience the aroma of this seven-acre farm with over 2,500 French and English lavender plants.
The flowers are used by growers Jan and Stuart Abernathy to create spray-free lavender products used to support health and well-being. Their award-winning essential natural lavender oils, among other products, are available for purchase at their farm and at most Wairarapa farmers markets.
Carterton's must-do events
Considered the daffodil capital of New Zealand, each spring the town holds a Daffodil Festival to celebrate the beautiful spring flowers that pop up around the town. The annual daffodil pick at historical Gladstone property Middle Run is a festival highlight.
Carterton is also home to the Wairarapa A&P Show, showcasing country show events like equestrian, dog trials, livestock competitions and shearing. Held at the Clareville Showgrounds, this event has activities for your whole whānau to enjoy.
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