C'est Cheese, Featherston. © Pete Monk

Five fun things to do in Featherston

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1. Bookworm central

Featherston is a Book Town – an international term for a small rural town that has a higher than average concentration of secondhand or antique bookshops. While not yet as renowned as UK or European Book Town pioneers, Featherston is developing its literary chops with an annual Featherston Book Town Festival (held each year in May) and a handful of quaint booksellers that are open year-round, where you can happily while away a few hours. Check out the enticing Loco Coffee and Books where you’ll inevitably be drawn inside by either the waft of freshly ground Havana coffee, the pile of free books to peruse out front, or friendly owner and Radio New Zealand broadcaster Kate Mead. 

2. C’est Cheese

It sure is cheesy in here! C’est Cheese is a tiny mecca of artisan food products and gourmet delights. Bacon mayonnaise! Italian pasta! Cured meats! And, of course, a wondrous selection of local and imported cheese.

You can even pick up a wedge of Wensleydale, à la Wallace and Gromit.

3. Eclectic wares 

escVelocity is a little gem of a find even in a small town already shining with gems. A café / gallery / shop / community meeting hub, escVelocity is run by über-enthusiastic owner Damien who’ll happily whip you up a steaming cup of Peoples coffee, while talking you through his latest exhibitions and wares and supplying other patrons with boardgames mid-chat. With locally-made crafts, jewellery and homewares, a roaring fire during the cooler months, and currently, an exhibition – ‘Biosphere’ – featuring sculptures and paintings by renowned New Zealand artist Andrew de Boer, make sure you allow enough time to fully appreciate escVelocity. 

4. Curiouser and curiouser

If you’re in the market for a taxidermy duckling, a kitsch retro lamp, or perhaps a jar of local preserve, look no further than Mr Feathers Den. Giftware, homeware, paintings and panache, Mr Feathers is chocka-block with things that will surprise and delight. 

5. Royally stylish

With a mashed up Steampunk / Lemony Snicket / New Zealand heritage theme, the Royal Hotel takes both the terms ‘quirky’ and ‘stylish’ to a new level. Recently renovated and re-opened in late 2017, the iconic 1868 hotel has a selection of rooms named for the Baudelaire orphans and whimsical steampunk characters – Langdon St Ives, Lyra Belacqua – or the Pikirakau suite, named in honour of the women fighters and adventurers in the New Zealand wars. Think framed butterflies and deep teal walls; velvet, copper piping and glossy black-tiled bathrooms. There’s also a restaurant onsite, serving delectable local fare from the Wairarapa region.

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