|Duration:||3 days, 2 nights|
|Best time to visit:||Year round|
|Weather:||Martinborough Weather Forecast and Observations|
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.
PALLISER VINEYARD WALK
Let’s blow the cobwebs out of your hair and enjoy a stroll through vineyards and farmland. The Palliser Vineyard Walk is a 50 minute loop track around Palliser Vineyard towards the river and then loops around the centre of the vineyard taking you back to the start of the walk. The Palliser Estate Winery encourages you to relax among the vineyard with a warm welcome at the cellar door. Tastings are year round. Platters of local produce, olive oil dips and fresh fruit is part of the tasting journey. Any purchases can be collected at a later date.
Start the walk at Considine Park on the corner of Kitchener and Princess Streets. Just follow the limestone path behind the Top 10 Holiday Park. After going through a gate at the end, turn right into Dublin Street. At the end of Dublin Street go through the gate on your left and turn right which takes you around the perimeter of the vineyard towards the river (where there are steep cliffs). The exit is through the centre of the vineyard onto Weld Street. The walk is open weekends only, or weekdays after 5pm, depending on the season. It is closed in March and April during harvest.
Duration: 1 hour
The Martinborough Hotel is a classic Edwardian lady gracing an entire block facing the union square. It is your location for lunch. For peak season and the busy weekends it is recommended you forward book lunch. The food is upmarket classic bistro food with fusion elements pushing the taste sensations and stimulating you to try out the dessert menu. The classic menu includes New Zealand pub favourites such as port & fennel sausages, mashed potatoes with gravy to french influences with fish and fowl. There is an option of dining in the private gardens in summer with their lush white iceberg roses in full flowery glory.
You can enjoy an extensive selection of local and international wines with your meal or perch up at the bar with the locals and watch the Martinborough village life pass by. The restaurant has a well deserved reputation for consistency and food innovation. We all accept that you should not drink copious amounts of alcohol on an empty stomach. Australia and New Zealand rejoice potato fries are officially part of the tasting palate for those who wish in Martinborough. According to the restaurant manager it is very popular. Open from breakfast to late evening.
DURATION 1 – 2 HOURS.
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.
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.
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.
For visitors who enjoy cycling (think of e-bikes and the hard graft being done by the nifty motor) biking around the vineyards is a leisurely activity. You are on wide, flat roads lined with vines, olive groves and farmland. Colonial cottages, grand Edwardian homesteads create an atmosphere of rural appeal. Today’s timetable does not exist, it is about your private, personalised experience where you choose where to go and how long to stay. Let’s get you on the road with an introduction to Martinborough by Bicycle Hire Martinborough. This is a great start to the day, establishing confidence in your route choices as well giving visitors freedom to choose where and when they go. To book your tour click HERE Martinborough Wine Tours.
Martinborough wine tour (cycling)
This Introduction to Martinborough provides visitors the ultimate orientation before sending them off on their own to explore. We include visits to two producers (a winery and an olive grove), lunch is the responsibility of the guest.
Our guides are experts in the area and can answer all of your questions about the area and the wine.
Bespoke tours / Vehicle
Visitors might have decided to book a bespoke tour which caters for their specific needs or join a small group. Check with Wine Tours Martinborough and Wellington for details and forward booking is strongly encouraged.
Tirohana Estate Vineyard
Tonight is indulgence, about a dining experience in an elegant restaurant surrounded by vines in the heart of Martinborough’s golden mile of ancient riverbeds with their alluvial soils creating the optimal conditions for Martinborough classic red wines. Tirohana Estate produces award-winning premium wines exclusively from its base in Martinborough. The international accolades include the prestigious Romeo Bragato award for Championship Pinot Noir NZ and Championship Reserve Wine NZ, as well as several Championship trophies and medals, along with a Cuisine 5 star recommendation acknowledging Tirohana Estate Pinot Noir as being in the top ten Australasian wines.
The entrance statement is antique Mexican doors, New Zealand artwork and tiled floors echoing the classic Italian wine production. Under the management of Saranne James (Executive Chef), Tirohana Estate offers both casual and fine dining in either its restaurant (celebrating global cuisine) or through a more casual dining option on its photogenic terraces (weather permitting). To book a table click HERE Book a Table at Tirohana Cellars Restaurant and to check current menus click HERE Menus | Tirohana Cellars Restaurant Martinborough. On your return to the Martinborough Hotel complete the evening with a Martinborough dessert wine at Paddock to Plate then walk to your room via the grand staircase or the courtyard rose garden.
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.
HERITAGE EXPLORATION OPTION
MUSEUM - Martinborough
A museum that is a walk through someone’s house where there are no barriers or glass, simply the owners have left visitors to wander through at will. A wonderful immersive experience that makes you feel right at home in an Edwardian setting. Although the very slim, beautiful wedding dress harkes to a time when size of individuals reflected the hard physical labour that exacted a toll on the body. Then there is the kitchen area with its washing still on the suspended ceiling racks, beautifully decorated and just waiting for the owner to fold the tea towels away.
The museum is located in the 1894 library and reading room designed by Charles Natusch. In 1906 accommodation was added for the librarian and his family. Up until 1980 the library continued to operate from the premises.
Opening hours 10.30 to 3.30pm Saturday and Sunday. The museum is managed and operated by volunteers. Admission fees, none, however donations are welcome.
VISIT DURATION 2 hours.
Start your day with a local walk exploring Martinborough on the Rapaki walk, then travel to the Carter Scenic Reserve to observe original remnants of native forest. Then it is onto Kahikatea Gardens in Greytown to view one of the Wairarapa’s great gardens. The day finishes with an exploration of Rapaki walk.
The loop walk crosses farmland and has sweeping views of the Wairarapa valley and Martinborough vineyards. Near its highest point a stile takes walkers to an optional lookout to the picturesque Te Muna Valley. While there are moderately steep slopes and several stiles it is a suitable walk for all age groups. Sturdy footwear is recommended. As you are crossing farmland dogs are not permitted. Large cattle with horns may be encountered and it’s best to walk around the perimeter of their paddock and pick up the track on the other side. The track starts 1 km from the eastern end of Dublin Street on Shooting Butts Road.
Duration 2 hours.
Carter scenic Reserve
Kahikatea Walk is a raised boardwalk through regenerating wetland and remnant of flooded forests. Visitors will observe swamp maire and small leafed hoheria.
Brown mudfish and banded kokopu may be hiding beneath the vegetation, and you might even be treated to the unusual spectacle of a duck (grey teal) in a tree.
Dominating the forest, Kahikatea trees draw their nutrients from the soil through a root system that extends snake-like over the surface of the swamp.
The Ruamahanga River Walk is a boardwalk through the wetlands to the river bed. The river contains brown trout and eels. A licence is needed for any fishing. A compostable toilet is located near the car park. The Carter Reserve is typical of the original Wairarapa landscape before extensive drainage and farmland altered the environment.
CARTER SCENIC RESERVE: 24 km 30 minutes drive
There are choices galore where to eat.
From dining opportunities at wineries, or at the cafés and restaurants dotted around Union Square.
The vibrant shopping precinct has a number of cafes you might wish to explore together the tempting boutique shops.
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. There is a disability enabled suite which should be requested upon booking.