Featherston Tourist Attractions
The township of Featherston lies 40km southwest of Masterton at the foot of the Rimutaka Ranges. This area was first surveyed about 1840 for the New Zealand Land Company, and the town was named after a senior government official who decided that a settlement should be established here.The settlement was originally a mail-coach station. Later, when a railroad was built through the Rimutaka Ranges, large numbers of railroad workers settled here.During the second world war there was a camp for Japanese prisoners of war in Featherston. In 1955 the 8.79km Rimutaka railroad tunnel was driven through the hills.
Rimutaka Forest Park
A 16km stretch of railroad line, on a fairly steep gradient, was abandoned after the opening of the new tunnel. It is now the Rimutaka Incline Walkway, one of the principal trails in Rimutaka Forest Park.
Fell Locomotive Museum
The Fell Engine Museum displays a steam engine specially built in 1878 for the steep stretch of railroad line through what is now Rimutaka Forest Park.
The shallow Lake Wairarapa, formerly home to large numbers of ducks and eels, provided additions to the Maori diet.The lake was sold to the New Zealand government in 1896. Recently it has been incorporated in a large scheme for the prevention of flooding.
There is an attractive excursion to the wild coast of Palliser Bay and Cape Palliser on a road that runs south on the east side of Lake Wairarapa. This was the scene of a tragic incident in 1942, when a revolt by Japanese prisoners of war was crushed and 48 of them were shot.