Everyday Stories

Masterton – Is It The Most Beautiful City in New Zealand?

Ben and I travelled to Masterton during the long weekend. We chose Masterton because it was known as the most beautiful city as on stuff.co.nz and Times-Age… but is it true? I will conclude at the end of this post. 🙂

Masterton is part of Wellington region which takes only 1.5 hours to drive from Wellington City Central. We can do a day trip but we want to stay a night in Masterton because we prefer a relaxing trip.

The beginning of our trip – Ben was the driver! (is this why we look so scared? 😱)

Ben drove the car and passed through a few small towns, i.e. Featherstone, Greytown and Carterton. I wrote about each of them before.


Queen Elizabeth Park in Masterton

This park is small and tranquil, yet there are many things to do here. There is a large playground area for kids. We can also kayak, picnic or take the miniature train.

If you are using GPS, bear in mind that there are more than one Queen Elizabeth Park in Wellington region. We have been to the wrong park before in Paraparaumu which is very far away from Masterton!

It looks like a lake but the water is very shallow. You can take a kayak, a rowboat or a pedal boat (including the cute duck boat). We did not do it because we were too lazy.

The miniature train is great. It costs only NZ$1 per person and loop 3 times (short distance). It is very worth it!

We had a picnic in the park. Luckily we brought a picnic mat and a pack of chips! Ben fell asleep after eating most of the chips…😒

If you want to visit Queen Elizabeth Park in Masterton, remember to bring cash (as most of the shops including the miniature train do not accept EFTPOS), picnic mats, snacks, sunscreen and water.


Henley Lake

This is another beautiful park in Masterton. It does not have many things to do like Queen Elizabeth Park but it has many ducks. It is a good idea to just sit down and enjoy the lake view with those ducks. You can also do BBQ with the free gas provided.

I love Spring because beautiful flowers are everywhere. 🙂 Ducks are cute too. 😋

CY is playing with the ducks ☺️☺️

Ben is chasing the ducks 😰😰

We spent just less than half an hour at Henley Lake Park because there is nothing much to do here.


Explore the City Central of Masterton

Masterton is a quiet place. There are many shops and big supermarkets, but the population is low. Maybe this is the reason that we observed the people living in here seem more relaxed than in Wellington City.

We had a brunch at Strada Café – Egg Benedicts with salmon. Yummy~ 😋

Masterton is a great place for retired people or families who enjoy living in a quiet place.


Stayed at BK’s Chardonnay Motor Lodge

We stayed one night at this place which was amazing. We had a very relaxing night here!

I love this extendable chair very much!

Ben said this is something unique about New Zealand that you can often find some very decent and beautiful accommodation off the city central (usually need to access by car), so it is good to do such a trip.


Driving back and passing through Martinborough

We chose a different route on the way back from Masterton to Wellington City Central, i.e. passing through Martinborough instead of Carterton and Greytown. Martinborough is popular for vineyards which is my favourite. We had a quick lunch at Vineyard Café.

Vineyard Café is beautiful and the food is great 🙂 (although slightly pricey than normal cafes). We have been here a few times and still love this place!


So, is Masterton the most beautiful city in New Zealand?

First of all, Masterton is not quite a ‘city’ because it has a small population of 23k. It is more appropriate to call it a town. Second, I don’t think Masterton is that beautiful. It is a relaxing place but if you come with the wrong expectation then you may be disappointed. In my opinion, there are many more beautiful towns in South Island.

However, I would recommend Masterton for a short getaway over a long weekend if you live in Wellington City. We had a very great time here. It is a good destination if you don’t want to go too far away and want something different from the busy city. It is also a good idea to visit the nearby towns, i.e. Featherston, Greytown, Carterton and Martinborough.


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