Fernside Country Estate

State Highway 2, Tauherenikau, South Wairarapa.

“oasis of tranquility” 

Property description

Set in a rural landscape, Fernside is an oasis of calm and beauty. The spacious and historic country house is surrounded by approximately 12 acres of vibrant and varied gardens. The house is set down a 1.8km driveway amongst farmland, yet close enough to services for easy access to shops and transport.

Key features

Main house 900m2 (More or Less)
Total land size 11.6291 hectares (More or less) 
Magnificent gardens covering approximately 4.8 Hectares( more or less) 

Cottage 200m2 (More or Less)
Numerous outbuildings
3 car garaging
Private and secluded position
1.4km from end of driveway to Featherston Railway station 15 minute drive to Greytown, 20 minutes to Martinborough

Main House

Fernside is a generous and luxurious white-weatherboard slate-roofed Neo-Georgian style house with an L-shape plan designed to be an elegant retreat for a wealthy family.

Ground Floor

Grand entrance vestibule with hallway and elegant staircase, leading to the three main reception rooms – a light and spacious drawing room with sunroom, each with French doors leading to an extensive terrace; elegant formal dining room; large library/lounge.

Domestic offices include a flower room, lift, wine cellar, utility room, powder room, chef’s kitchen and pantry, scullery, office, back stairs, laundry, boiler room, wood store, and boot room.

First Floor

Spacious and elegant master bedroom suite with bathroom and walk in robe, spacious second bedroom suite with original bathroom and dressing room, spacious third bedroom suite with original bathroom, fourth bedroom suite with original bathroom, fifth bedroom with separate bathroom, large lobby area.

Three further bedrooms in staff wing with bathroom, box room, linen and storage cupboards.



High quality materials have been used throughout including Welsh slate roof, copper flat roofs, cast iron spouting, heart rimu weatherboards, solid concrete ring foundations, as well as oak and jarrah floorboards.


Gardens of national significance

Restored to the original design of the Arts and Crafts style garden with garden rooms, these extensive and magnificent gardens begin with a formal entrance courtyard with central fountain surrounded by white carpet roses and box hedging.

This leads through a wrought iron gate to the restored Mercury garden consisting of roses and box hedging. Adjoining is a lawn area with original table and seat next to the Lutyens style goldfish pond. The extensive main lawn is situated outside the Drawing Room terrace and is suitable for playing croquet or bowls.

Other garden areas include a chess garden, herbaceous borders, tennis court garden, a scented walk, woodland, daffodil paddock, bluebell glade, oak lawn, lake with waterfalls and bridges, rill with sound shell and pumphouse, glasshouses (in need of restoration), a Secret Garden containing a Summerhouse and entertainment area, knot garden with roses, a Victorian sunken garden, a native garden with stream.

A common theme running through the gardens are the naturalised hellebores, bluebells, giant Himalayan lilies, as well as rhododendrons, maples, magnolias and dogwoods. The woodland areas contain mature oaks, cedars, elms, ash, liquidambars, poplars, eucalypts, beech, linden, chestnut, weeping willow.

A productive garden

The orchard is well developed and produces varieties of apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, feijoas, figs, persimmons, avocados, lemons, grapefruit, limes, mandarins, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, mulberries and medlars.

The kitchen garden produces strawberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, red currants, gooseberries, raspberries, kiwifruit and boysenberries.

All food waste is recycled and the garden produces its own compost. Fallen branches are recycled as either firewood for heating or as mulch for the garden.

“The Gatehouse”

Originally the coach house and stable, this spacious converted cottage offers superb guest or staff accommodation over two floors. It can also be used as a holiday let.

There is a large open plan dining/lounge area, fully fitted kitchen, laundry, two double bedrooms, bathroom and toilet on the ground floor.

The romantic master bedroom with ensuite bathroom is situated upstairs in the old hay loft. There are two decks to catch all day sun. Keeping the occupants cosy in the winter is a woodburner attached to 3 radiators.


Newly built three car garage and workshop, with large storage area in loft. Includes staffroom and toilet and 70,000 li. concrete water tank underneath.


Wood workshop, originally a two-car garage. It includes a garden implement shed, chemical store and general storage area.


Newly built large four bay implement shed housing tractor, truck, ride-on mower and gator.


Large four bay woodshed


A brief history

The Fernside estate in South Wairarapa came into being in 1860 and originally consisted of 2,300 acres. It was developed into a substantial homestead by Charles and Ella Elgar between 1890 and 1930. As one of the “runholders” the Elgars held a high position in society and entertained widely. The Elgars also travelled widely and brought many external influences into the design of the house and garden. The original homestead burnt down in 1923 and the current Georgian style mansion dates from 1924. Heathcote Helmore, a pupil of Lutyens, was the principal architect.

After Ella’s death in 1945, Fernside was purchased by the US Ambassador to NZ Robert Scotten as the ambassador’s residence. The US embassy held many garden parties at Fernside to host and entertain local and foreign dignatories.

On their departure in 1955, Fernside passed into the hands of several owners during which it sadly fell into decline. In 1999 the lake area with its mature trees was used in several scenes in the filming of Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The current owners bought the property in 2007 and set about an ambitious program of restoration for both the house and the gardens. The property has now been restored to its former grandeur and condition.


The local area


Less than 10 minutes drive from the homestead, Featherston is a thriving small town with many essential services – supermarket, medical centre, post office, pubs, coffee shops etc. Featherston has established itself as one of the main book capitals of New Zealand. Featherston railway station is on the Wairarapa rail line with the trip to Wellington taking 60 minutes.



About 15 minutes drive from the homestead is the historic town of Greytown featuring numerous building dating back to the earliest times of New Zealand’s colonial past. Mixed in with these historic building are coffee shops, antique shops and high-end clothing shops. A new medical centre is about to be opened in Greytown.


About 20 minutes drive from the homestead is one of the centres of the thriving New Zealand wine industry. Martinborough boasts a number of world leading vineyards specialising in pinot noir.


Masterton is the main servicing centre for the Wairarapa region and has the main district hospital.


Transport links

Masterton airport is a 30-minute drive away and has facilities for private aircraft. A scheduled service to Auckland is being discussed. Wellington airport is about 1 hour 30 minutes drive (depending on traffic) and offers direct services to most airports in New Zealand as well as international services with direct flights to Australia and Singapore.


The property comes with an extensive list of chattels mainly to enable the gardens to be maintained. Additional chattels are available for purchase separately.

A full information pack is available on request.


PQ Property Intelligence Limited  and their clients give notice that:

1. They have no authority to make or give any representations or warranties in relation to the property. These particulars do not form part of any offer or contract and must not be relied upon as statements or representations of fact.

2. Any areas, measurements or distances are approximate. The text, photographs and plans are for guidance only and are not necessarily comprehensive. It should not be assumed that the property has all necessary planning, building regulation or other consents and PQ Property Intelligence  have not tested any services, equipment or facilities. Purchasers must satisfy themselves by inspection or otherwise. Brochure prepared: April 2021. Photographs taken: April 2021.


Viewing is by appointment only. 


For more information contact  Anthony Morsinkhof.

Telephone + 64 (0) 2101017524.

Email: anthony@pqpropertyintelligence.com.

PQ Property Intelligence Ltd is Licensed under the REAA 2008

Contact: 02102017524  email: office@pqpropertyintellience.com 


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