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Short break in Martinborough: Indulgence, a wine trail and glorious food

Martinborough is the namesake of Irish immigrant John Martin, who in a gesture of patriotism laid the town out like a Union Jack. Wairarapa’s modern wine history dates from the late 1970s and the region boasts some of New Zealand’s most iconic and sought after producers. Today there are more than 20 boutique vineyards within walking or cycling distance to the town square. A range of styles and varieties are on offer with award winning Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Aromatics as well as chic Chardonnay, Syrah and dessert wines.

3 days
2 nights

Trip Overview

Start Wellington
Finish Wellington

Best time to visit: Year round

Weather: Martinborough Weather Forecast and Observations

Highlights:

  • Wine trail
  • Fine dining experience
  • Walking & Cycling trail
  • Town exploration
Start Wellington
Finish Wellington

Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrival Mid-morning: Lunch time

Martinborough winery, New Zealand @Serious Eats
Martinborough winery @Serious Eats

From rolling farmland dotted with livestock your Martinborough greeting is an avenue of vineyards and wineries. Wineries are tantalizing the senses as you register the names of cellar doors on your bucket list. The holiday mood is picked up and packaged into the Martinborough experience and you have not even parked the car.

Check into your accommodation and get ready to explore the first vineyard with a walk through the vines and onto the nearby river bank.

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Stops & extensions
Mid afternoon

Thunderpants, Martinborough Wine Merchants

Martinborough Wine Merchants, New Zealand @Stuff
Martinborough Wine Merchants @Stuff

Perhaps it is time to collapse on your bed for a quiet snooze to revive your energy levels for your date at the cinema tonight. For the enthusiastic there is the option of shopping for underwear at Thunderpants Thrive store. A Martinborough success story Thrive is the shop for the brand Thunderpants, owned, operated and manufactured in New Zealand, Martinborough.

Thunderpants – organic, New Zealand made clothing for the whole family! is located 42 Naples Street, Martinborough.

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Evening

Circus Cinema

@Circus Cinema, Restaurant & Bar
@Circus Cinema, Restaurant & Bar

Circus Cinema is a five minute walk from Union Square. A boutique cinema and restaurant rolled into a repurposed building providing restaurant standard fare while enjoying a night at the movies. Tim Martin, a great-great grandson of Martinborough founder John Martin, says the town’s wine tourism-fuelled growth means businesses not usually viable in small rural towns, such as Circus, are thriving. Martin describes Circus as a word of mouth experience where it is about people having fun and wanting to repeat the experience.

Circus is licenced and the menu is seasonal with gourmet pizzas as well as fully catered meals available.

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DAY 2

All day wine and olive tour experience

@Olivo NZ
@Olivo NZ

Martinborough is the soul of the classic New Zealand wine trail and is home to approximately 20 mostly family owned wineries. The special treat for visitors is proximity. The majority of vineyards are within walking or cycling distance of each other with the charming village as a delightful reference point. Today you embark on your wine and olive oil tour of family based vineyards and groves where you will likely have an opportunity to meet and hear from the owners their aspirations and plans for the winery / olive groves.

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Stops & extensions
DAY 3

Final day: Museum, walks, Carter Reserve

Martinborough Museum I just walked into their sitting room, New Zealand
Martinborough Museum

Your final day is about impulse, following up on your favourite vineyard to explore further the wine notes and unique mixture you were introduced to yesterday. There is the option of a wander on a local walking trail. Then the village shops will need investigating to see what bargains or unique objects need your further attention. For heritage buffs there is the museum to pop into to discover local stories and events that have shaped the town.

Finally you will depart town late afternoon vowing to return.

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Stops & extensions
Stay

Martinborough Hotel and main street, New Zealand
Martinborough Hotel and main street

Luxury, The Martinborough Hotel – When it comes to location, this hotel is the cream of the crop sitting in a prime location in Union Square.

The classic bistro food, generous selection of local wine, and beautifully designed rooms make for a magical stay. The bathrooms are light, airy and the usual toilet amenities.

NOTE Claw bath is awkward to get into and out of for anyone with mobility issues as well the showers are located over the bath making it not the most comfortable.

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Travel Pack Information

Getting there:

The easiest way to get to Martinborough is by private vehicle. There is a public bus link from Wellington Central Railway Station. There are no trains to Martinborough.

Getting around:

Walking, cycling is a popular option due to the compact nature of the town and the surrounding vineyards.

WINE TASTING:

Almost all the vineyards radiate from Union Square around the northern and eastern sides of the town, and on the Dry River to the south.

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Instagram

Martinborough TOP 10 Holiday Park, New Zealand @Booking
Martinborough TOP 10 Holiday Park, New Zealand @Booking
Martinborough winery, New Zealand @Serious Eats
Martinborough winery, New Zealand @Serious Eats
@PalliserEstateWines
@PalliserEstateWines
@Circus Cinema, Restaurant & Bar
@Circus Cinema, Restaurant & Bar
Martinborough Museum I just walked into their sitting room, New Zealand
Martinborough Museum I just walked into their sitting room, New Zealand
@Indi Bikes Martinborough New Zealand
@Indi Bikes Martinborough New Zealand
Vynfields Winery, Martinborough, New Zealand @vynfields
Vynfields Winery, Martinborough, New Zealand @vynfields
@Olivo NZ
@Olivo NZ

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