Things to do
Our Top 20 Things To Do From Martinborough
1. Strolling down the Princess Street vineyards all the way around to Tirohana.
Muirlea Rise 06 306 9332
Martinborough Vineyard 06 306 9955
Margrain Wines 06-306 9292
Tirohana Estate 06 306 9933
2. Biking round the vines on the famous Martinborough Wine Trail - which features over thirty largely family-owned wineries, most within walking distance of the village, and taking in lunch along the way. Only problem is being spoilt for choice.
Vineyards with restaurants
• Tirohana Estate 06 306 9933
• Poppies Martinborough 06-306 8473
• Brodie Estate 06-306 8835
• Coney Wines 06-306 8345
• Margrain Vineyard 06-306 9292
• Vynfields 06-306 9901
Open every day
• Ata Rangi 06-306 9570
• Brodie Estate 06-306 8835
• Colombo Winegrowers 027 848 3512
• Haythornthwaite Wines 06-306 9889
• Martinborough Vineyard 06-306 9955
• Martinborough Wine Merchants 06-306 9040
• Muirlea Rise Vineyard 06-306 9332
• Murdoch James Estate 06-306 9165
• Palliser Estate Wines 06-306 9019
• Poppies Martinborough (open Friday through Tuesday) 06-306 8473
• Schubert Wines 06-306 8505
• Te Kairanga Wines 06-306 9122
• Tirohana Estate 06-306 9933
Open weekends only
• Cabbage Tree Vineyard 06-306 8178
• Cambridge Road Vineyard 06-306 8959
• Hamden Estate 06- 306 8001
• Stonecutter Winery 06-306 6009
• Alexander Vineyard 06-306 8171
3. Explore the boutique shops, cafes and restaurants in the Martinborough township.
For dinner, we recommend Pinocchio Restaurant (06 306 6094), Cafe Medici (06-306 9965), Cool Change Bar & Eatery (06 306 9665), and Circus Restaurant (06 306 9442).
Our Greytown pick is Salute Restaurant (06 304 9825)
Our favourite Martinborough cheap eats stop is Siam Kitchen Thai Restaurant (06-3068068.) and right alongside it in Martinborough Square is Little Square Pizza. They offer Italian takeaway pizzas 5 nights a week - open Wednesday to Sunday from 6pm all fresh and locally sourced.
We’re more than happy to book your restaurant.
4. The Cape Palliser day trip is our out-and-out favourite - in all weather moods too. Rain, hail or shine! The stunning landscapes constantly change with all the light variations coming in off the sea. The Cape is 72 k’s from Martinborough (about 1 hr 15 mins)
The Cape Palliser lighthouse was built in 1897 and the view is worth the hike up 258 steps.
Just before you reach the Cape Palliser lighthouse, you will spot one of New Zealand’s largest fur seal colonies. No problem getting out of your car to get closer to the seals for photos,. but the expert advice is not to get between them and their escape to the sea. They can get moody.
5. Another compulsory stop on Cape Palliser is the Putangirua Pinnacles, formed by 120,000 years of erosion and a backdrop in Lord of the Rings. In Middle Earth the pinacles are on Dimholt Road in the Return of the King. There’s a two-hour walk long the stream-bed, or a longer 3 to 4 hour walk along a loop track.
The rugged fishing village of Ngawi is also on the way to Cape Palliser
Call in to the iconic Lake Ferry Pub for lunch on the Cape Palliser trip. (06 307 7831). Great views.
6. Our favourite wine stop outside Martinborough is the Gladstone Valley (15 mins away) and think it's really under-rated with its pretty landscapes, excellent vineyards and great pub. Take the drive from Martinborough to Gladstone via the Ponataki Valley.
Gladstone Vineyards on the Wairarapa Wine Trail are:
•Gladstone Vineyard open every day for tastings (06 379 8563)
•Johner Estate open every day for tastings (06 370 8217)
•Urlar Estate by appointment only (06 370 1935)
7. Meet the locals at the famous Gladstone Country Inn - known as 'The Gladdy'. We reckon it's the best country pub in New Zealand. It has great food, is warm and cozy inside in winter, and has a beautiful outdoor setting for summer where you can admire the dramatic views of the cliffs and surrounding countryside. You won't want to leave ! Ph 06 372 7866
8. Carter's Scenic Reserve near Gladstone offers easy walking through a rare mix of habitats once typical of the Wairarapa.
There are 2 short walks Kahikatea Walk: This 30 minute loop walks takes you through a flooded forest remnant in the Wairarapa.
Ruamahanga River Walk: This easy 20 minute walk follows the boardwalk through the Carter Scenic Reserve, a recovering wetland in the Wairarapa
9. Also near Gladstone is Stonehenge Aotearoa - not so much a replica of England's ancient Stonehenge as a practical, open-sky observatory.
The astronomer tour guides are world class: Bookings essential 06 377 1600
10. Take the 15 minute drive across to Greytown, brilliantly restored to reflect its colonial past, and now a boutique shopping paradise with many antique, arts and craft, gifts and design shops, plus its cafes and restaurants. Our favourite spots are Salute for lunch or dinner and the French Baker for brunch.
11. Bike the Greytown Rail Trail. It's the old railway corridor from Greytown to Woodside station. Starts at the end of Cotter Street.
12. We can highly recommend picking up a box of fresh mushrooms at the Parkvale Mushroom factory home of the famous Parkvale Flat. The factory is about 4 k’s before you get to Carterton on the route from Martinborough.
13. Relive some of New Zealand's rail history at the Fell Locomotive Museum in nearby Featherston. It houses the world's only Fell engine used on the Rimutaka Incline. Open 7 days 10am-4pm Ph 06 308 9379
14. One of the region's most popular attractions is Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, a 20-minute drive from Masterton, north on SH2 . There are wonderful walks through the native forest with close encounters with threatened wildlife. Feeding time for the eels is usually 1.30pm, and the wild kaka at 3pm. You can also encounter Kiwi in the nocturnal house. Open daily 9am to 4.30pm except Xmas Day Ph 06 375 8004
15. Keep driving north to Wairarapa's famous Mangatainoka's Tui Brewery- you can book a tour or drop into the bar and souvenir shop.
16. Book a Tranzit tour of distinctive gardens Both the formal Richmond Gardens in Carterton and Assisi Garden high in the rural Gladstone hills are listed as NZ Gardens of National or Regional Significance. Tour includes lunch at the Gladstone Country Inn, and a wine tasting at one of Gladstone's vineyards
17. Castlepoint Beach is a spectacular day trip, with its giant limestone reef, lighthouse and landmark Castle Rock. It's Wairarapa's most spectacular beach and a popular summer camping ground.
18. Riversdale Beach is another day trip, with its long sandy beach, and has been a family resort for more than 50 years. There's good swimming, surfing, fishing and a friendly golf course
19. Waiohine Gorge, south of Carterton, makes a scenic entrance to Tararua Forest Park. Test the new swing bridge reputed to be one of the country's longest.
20. North of Carterton, Mount Holdsworth, is the gateway to many famous tracks, offering anything from an hour's walk to several days tramping. There's plenty of shelter and picnic areas and you can swim in the crisp, clear rivers.