The Wairarapa is home to a number of secluded villages which are surrounded by unsurpassed beauty. Just one of these hidden gems, just an hour away from Wellington is Lake Ferry.
Lake Ferry is one of my favourite weekend haunts and I regularly stay just a short drive from the lake at the Gateway Motel and Holiday Park in neighbouring Pirinoa. This small but quaint campsite offers motel accommodation, cabins and powered tent sites which suit most travellers needs. There is a fully equipped combined kitchen, lounge and games room and even a small outdoor pool which is great for entertaining the kids. Oh and let’s not forget one of my kid’s favourites – the trampoline. Plus if you take a stroll to the toilet block after dark, it’s not uncommon to see hedgehogs during the summer months.
Lake Ferry itself offers a large lake which meets the sea and is a popular location for fishing. Blue cod, red cod and kowhai are common catches of the day which are ideal for BBQing whilst paddle crabs can be boiled up and eaten on fresh bread for a tasty lunch. If you wish to dine out, the infamous Lake Ferry Hotel and Restaurant offers a range of tasty meals, including kids meals and also has a bar area. During the height of season, typically around the summer holidays, it’s worth booking a table at the restaurant as it’s not uncommon for there to be a wait otherwise.
If you are on a self-catering holiday, it’s worth noting however that the nearest shop in the region is the village store in Pirinoa so either stock up on supplies before you travel or expect to pay a slightly higher price at the store.
At the beach, you will find mainly course sand and pebbles which isn’t great for sandcastle building but still provides a great backdrop for picnics and BBQs. Due to the currents and the steep drop off into both the sea or the lake, I wouldn’t recommended allowing the kids to swim but the playground at Lake Ferry provides plenty of entertainment for both younger and older children.
Lake Ferry is also a great base for exploring the rest of the Wairarapa with Cape Palliser, the Pinnacles and a seal colony only a short drive away. The nearest town is Martinborough which is around 30 minutes drive away but en route of course there are plenty of local vineyards to keep your busy, especially if you’re not the designated driver.
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