Aorangi Forest Park in the Wairarapa is popular with recreational hunters and trampers. It also offers short walks with spectacular views.
The park and surrounding area features some of New Zealand’s most striking landforms. They include the Putangirua Pinnacles, earth pillars formed by the erosive forces of rain and floods; high slabs of rock known as Kupe’s Sail, and the coastal Whatarangi Bluff. At Cape Palliser, the southern coastal boundary of the park, there is a fur seal colony, a historic lighthouse and archaeological sites.
The park also contains Maori occupation sites - a kainga (a resting and eating place for travellers) and the Putangirua Pa site, on a steep outcrop.
The southern block of indigenous forest (7730 ha was gazetted as a State forest in 1900 and the northern block was added in 1936. The country between the two forest blocks was farmed, but stock was removed in June 1974 when the New Zealand Forest Service took over management and exotic species were planted to control erosion. The area was gazetted a forest park in 1978.
Aorangi Forest Park lies between Martinborough in the north and Cape Palliser in the south, covering a large part of the Aorangi mountains. By road the park is around 80 km south of Masterton and 100 km east of Wellington.