The swampy wetland of Fensham Forest, with an abundance of birds and native trees.

A five-minute drive west from Carterton in the Wairarapa, Fensham Reserve is a 48-hectare forest featuring native trees up to 700 years old.

The birdlife is abundant, with locals including the New Zealand kingfisher, tūī, morepork, the North Island fantail, grey warbler, wax eye, and more.

The 3 hectares of wetland is currently under restoration to its natural state and is home to the nationally vulnerable mudfish.

The park also contains a remnant kahikatea swamp forest. Kahikatea is New Zealand’s tallest native tree, able to live for 500 years and grow to heights of 60 metres or more.

The reserve has two entrances: one leads directly onto the main walking track and the other off a gravel drive leading to the picnic area. The walking track is well-maintained, with a boardwalk and gravel paths.

Parking is available by both entrances. Many of the plants are clearly labelled.

Location details

Jurisdiction Carterton District Council, Wairarapa
Permits required Contact Screen Wellington
Location descriptors Forest/woods, bush, jungle/rainforest, scrub, trees, deciduous, evergreen, mossy, foliage, canopy, understory, verdant, wilderness/remote, untamed, uninhabited, vast, uncharted, isolated, solitude, rugged, natural, expanse, mountainous, majestic,  scenic, steep, picnic areas.