Seal Colony

Palliser Bay Explorer Tour

Book Cape Palliser Explorer

About the tour

We explore early Maori and European history during this day out in the Wairarapa Valley and Palliser Bay.

Māori called Cape Palliser Mātakitaki-a-Kupe (the gazing of Kupe), after the famous Polynesian Beautiful Wairarapa Views from Explorer Cycling Toursexplorer. Rugged Palliser Bay stretches across the Southern North Island. The coast is fully exposed to southerly swells. Palliser Bay’s spectacular scenery and isolation is renowned.

The Aorangi Range, bares down on the bay and contains sites of early Māori occupation, including the Pūtangirua pā site. The nearby Putangirua Pinnacles (pictured above) are dramatic eroded landforms in Aorangi Forest Park. Soaring like skyscrapers, the pillars are made of old alluvial gravels. Some are thought to be over 1,000 years old. We will take a walk to the lookout which

provides the best view of the pinnacles and if the group is interested and able we may walk among them

We travel through Ngāwī, Wairarapa’s main fishing settlement. Ngāwī has no harbour, so fishing boats are dramatically launched by bulldozers from the beach.

At the foot of the Aorangi Range, Cape Palliser is the North Island’s southernmost point. The 18-    metre lighthouse at the tip of the cape sits on a hill 80 metres above sea level. Captain James Cook named the cape and Palliser Bay in 1770, after his friend Sir Hugh Palliser. The cape is home to the largest fur seal breeding colony in the North Island.

Historic colonial homesteads are dotted through Wairarapa, although we can’t tour the interiors you will get close enough to enjoy this early New Zealand architecture and some stories about their origins.

NotesCheck out the Cape Palliser Lighthouse on a Green Jersey Cycle Tour

This is an active tour and participants must ensure they where appropriate clothing. In particular sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothing. Due to the changable nature of the NZ climate a good rain jacket is recommended.


Transport, walking sticks, picnic style lunch, guide.


Wellington I-Site at 9.15am and Returns to Wellington at 7.00pm. When booking from Wellington you are required to book the shuttle tickets $25 each way, as part of the booking process.

Martinborough (16 Kitchener Street) 10.45am returning by 5.30pm