Featherston lies 22 miles (36km) south of Masterton on SH2, close to the shores of Lake Wairarapa. Railway enthusiasts in particular, will want to pause here to see the town’s Fell Engine Museum.
The Fell engine was designed to climb the steep Rimutaka Incline over the Rimutaka Range that separates Wellington from the Wairarapa. With a gradient of 1:15 to overcome, the locomotives could only manage a top speed of 3mph (5km/h) for the 3 mile (4.8km) journey up. The Fell engines were operated for 77 years, until the building of a tunnel in 1955 made them obsolete. The beautifully restored engine on display is supposedly the only
remaining Fell locomotive in the world.
A walkway (4 hours one way) now follows the Incline. It can be reached by taking Western Lake Road south.
To the southeast of Featherston is a wine growing district around Martinborough. Those who want to do their own tour of the vineyards should pick up the relevant brochure at the Information Centre in
From Featherston the main road winds its way over the windswept but very scenic Rimutaka Range before descending into the Hutt Valley to reach Wellington.