Wineries, olive groves, seal colony, Stonehenge Aotearoa, trout fishing...
Martinborough is a thriving little country town, just over an hours drive from Wellington. It enjoys warm dry summers and mild winters, which are perfect for grape growing, particularly the Pinot Noir variety. Many Wellingtonians make their way there to get away from the city over the weekend. At the heart of the village is the main square, with streets radiating out from it in the shape of a Union Jack. This patriotic idea was from the town’s founder, John Martin. Many of the streets are named after places John visited during a world tour in 1884. Hence you will find New York Street, Dublin Street and Cambridge Road.
History and Culture
The first vines planted in Martinborough were Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Gewurtztraminer in 1978. In the early years grape growers were not experienced in wine making, and it was not until 1986 when an experienced wine maker arrived from Auckland that many of the wineries became established. While the production in Martinborough and the Wairarapa may be small (approximately 2% of national production) many of the country’s finest wineries at the ultra premium end of the market originate here. Although it is the exceptional Pinot Noir which put the region on the world wine map, Wairarapa also produces outstanding Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Bordeaux blends. The annual “Toast Martinborough” wine and food festival held on a Sunday in mid November, is a must on the epicurian calander.
- Wine Tours, half or full day
- Jet boat on the Raumahanga River, 1 hour
- Kayaking on the Raumahanga River, 2 hours
- Trout fishing, 3 hours
- Stonehenge Aotearoa, 30 minutes drive, allow 2 hours
- Martinborough Wine Centre, tastings for those with limited time, allow 1 hour
- Sunday local market, 2 hours
Wellington – Martinborough, 1 hour 15 minutes
Napier – Martinborough, 3 hours 45 minutes
Avoid driving from Wellington to Martinborough late on a Friday afternoon when weekenders will be making their way there.