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The best way to see a region in any country of the world is to complete a tour from a local’s perspective. I have spent a majority of my life in the Wairarapa, but after doing the ‘To the coast with the post’ tour with Gordon, I realised I still have so much more to learn and discover about this underrated district in New Zealand.
I was overjoyed when I was invited to come along with Gordon (the rural delivery postman) and spend the day driving around the Wairarapa and delivering mail on the way. The beauty of doing a tour with the postman is you get to see several places, which usually cannot be accessed by the public. Gordon has been doing the mail run since 2004. Only a few years ago, he decided to incorporate the tour into his day job to give people a chance to explore the Wairarapa from a local’s point of view. I was so excited to be able to come along, learn a bit more history about the Wairarapa and also just enjoy the journey and see some new sights.
Exploring the historic Burnside Church. Our first stop was to visit the Burnside Church, which is located in Pirinoa. It sits in the middle of nowhere and as an interior design lover, this was definitely a highlight for me. Built in the 1800’s, it can seat about 60 people and is such a quaint little church with lots of character!
Seeing hard-to-reach farmland. Being raised on a sheep farm in Carterton I love getting out in the middle of nowhere. To be able to see the local farms and beautiful estates that I would have normally never been able to see was fantastic. The views were stunning and we got to meet a few of the locals on the way.
Feeding the emus and curious sheep. Near the start of the tour, we stopped off at one of the local farms that have a couple of emus and a few curious sheep too. Gordon brought along apples so we could feed them, something I have never done before. They are such interesting creatures!
See the house on the edge in Ngawi. One really cool hidden location that I never knew about was along the coastline a few km’s from the centre of the fishing village Ngawi. There is a house sitting half on the cliff and the other half overhanging the beach. It’s a perfect place to take some unique photographs. On the way, Gordon showed us a gigantic whalebone he found! I knew whales were big, but wow, this piece of jaw bone was enormous.
Having lunch amongst the seals. Gordon kindly packed snacks for us on the way, but also a fantastic delicious lunch including sandwiches, muffins, and a hot drink. One of the top highlights was being able to have lunch amongst the seals. Ngawi has the largest colony of seals on the North Island so to have lunch listening to them bark at each other and bask in the sun was a cool experience!
Walking up the Palliser lighthouse. This is one of my favourite places in the Wairarapa. The view from the top of the lighthouse is fantastic. It is 250 steps, but if you can make it up the steep stairs, then it’s totally worth it once you reach the top. Cape Palliser is the Southernmost point of the North Island and on a good day, you can see the South Island from there!
There were so many other highlights from Gordon’s tour I could talk about it all day! If you would like to experience this tour for yourself, then make sure you check out his website to get his contact information. This tour costs $85 (NZD) each with a maximum of 3 people being allowed on the tour. It starts at 8am when you meet Gordon at a local café in Featherston, and he drops you back at around 4pm at the same spot. To see a different side of the beautiful Wairarapa region make sure you check this tour off your bucket list.