To the east of Wellington is a range of hills. The names Rimutaka and Tararua are both used, with subtle distinctions about whether you’re talking about the geogrphic region, the historic function, or the administrative region… but either way, these hills are horribly steep and folded-up, so travelling through them is pretty difficult. Get beyond them, though, and you discover the Wairarapa – an undeveloped area with lots of water, fields full of sheep and cows, and almost no people.

Clouds coming from the west hit the Tararuas and drop huge quantities of rain: storms blow up quite unexpectedly.
But once you get over the hills, you find Lake Wairarapa is very calm and pleasant.
The lake again, looking the other way.

There’s a common view that the Wairarapa is unbelievably dull and boring. I suppose it depends what you want: it’s certainly rather devoid of people, but it has lots of cows and sheep.

The tone of life becomes evident when you realise the main attraction (indeed almost the only attraction) is the annual sheep-sheering contest at Masterton – though these days the Martinborough vineyards are a rival attraction. But I find the place quite enchanting with its big flat fields, rolling hills and general air of being a community at peace with itself. It makes a refreshing change after little Wellington with its crazy roads and its rather self-regarding air!

The Wairarapa also has far better weather than Wellington: in fact the region is quite dry because the Tararua Hills get all the rain.
Having said that, here’s a picture of the lake just after a rare old storm!
There’s not a lot of life hereabouts, but there are a lot of sheep…
…and lots of cows.
Lastly, here’s a nice little chapel I believe I found here on one trip…though I couldn’t seem to find it on any later visits. Perhaps in best New Zealand style they put it on a truck and moved it somewhere else!