Hotels in Martinborough, New Zealand
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Martinborough: At the Heart of the New Zealand Wine Trail
Situated 65 kilometres west of Wellington, the town of Martinborough is a popular daytrip destination and weekend getaway for many New Zealanders. It’s also a desirable stopover for savvy international travellers seeking quiet and charm during their trip to the North Island. Home to some of the country’s finest vineyards and wineries, as well as an abundance of beautiful scenery, the town and its surroundings also make for an excellent choice for wine connoisseurs and novices alike.
Historic Town Square
Nestled in the heart of town, Memorial Square serves as the historic starting point of Martinborough. It was from this small greenspace that the New Zealand town originally developed in the late nineteenth century. The eight roads that branch off the square were deliberately designed to pay homage to the arrangement of the Union Flag. Today, the square and its tributary roads make up the beating heart of the town.
Travellers will find the town’s most historic building overlooking Memorial Square: the Martinborough Hotel. Built in 1882, the hotel still welcomes guests some 135 years later, and even if you’re not planning on lodging here, a trip to the bar or restaurant is almost obligatory.
A treasure trove of delights can be found elsewhere around Memorial Square. Boutique shops, antique stores, cafés, and a small museum, are all located nearby. Spend an afternoon wandering the streets here and you’re sure to come across more than a few fascinating curios.
Local Vineyards and the Wine Trail
As peaceful and intriguing as the town of Martinborough is, the majority of visitors to this part of New Zealand have one thing on their mind: grapes. The Wairarapa region is world-renowned for its vineyards and wineries, which produce Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Pinot Noir, the latter considered the crown jewel of the region’s wines.
In and around Martinborough alone there are no fewer than 25 boutique wineries, each producing high-quality vintages. Many of these wineries welcome visitors, offering tours and wine-tasting sessions on a frequent basis. Several of these wineries are within a short walk of the town centre, while entrepreneurial locals often provide minibus tours of several vineyards in one day.
For wine connoisseurs, a visit to Martinborough can form part of a larger tour of Wairarapa wineries. The towns of Gladstone and Masterton, both of which lie northeast, also offer an impressive selection of vineyards and wineries, and make for a pleasant daytrip.
The peak of wine season comes in November, with Martinborough hosting the Toast Wine Festival. Thousands of visitors attend the annual event, adding a liveliness to the town that’s unmatched during the rest of the year.
Hiking, Biking and Exploring
Getting out and exploring the Great Outdoors is one of the top pastimes for locals and visitors alike. Martinborough town centre makes for a pleasant enough stroll, while the immediate countryside is ideal for low-impact trekking and hiking.
Mountain biking is a popular activity in the region, with the combination of rolling fields and rising mountains providing a good mix of off-road riding. In particular, both the Huangarua River and Ruamahanga River – both of which pass through the town – make for a scenic backdrop. The same is true of Lake Wairarapa, situated about 20 kilometres from Martinborough.
Those that prefer a little more of an adrenaline rush will find quad bikes for hire, whilst it’s also possible to take a helicopter tour of the region. Alternatively, horseback riding is big in this part of the world, with several companies offering equestrian tours. However you decide to get around, you’re sure to be wowed by the terrific scenery on display.
Farming, Golf and Stonehenge
Situated just outside of town, Martinborough Manor proves a popular attraction with visitors to the region. This working farm offers visitors the chance to see what it’s like to live on a farm, as well as the opportunity to feed the animals. During the growing season, a tour of the orchard is a must too.
Practically next door to Martinborough Manor you’ll find Martinborough Golf Club. Established more than a century ago, the club features an 18-hole course that’s open to visitors as well as members. A circuit of the course is certainly a good way to spend a morning or afternoon.
One of the region’s more unique attractions can be found within a 20-minute drive of the town: Stonehenge Aotearoa. Inspired by the original Stonehenge in England, this stone structure has been carefully crafted to serve as a calendar and astronomical observatory. Tour guides can be booked in advance, while self-guided tours are also available.
Accommodation in Martinborough
In addition to the historic Martinborough Hotel, you’ll find a selection of other hotels in the town centre. These vary from upscale establishments to budget-friendly, motel-style options. The town is also home to a selection of cottages and B&Bs, the majority of which are within a short walk of Memorial Square.
For an altogether different accommodation option, several of the local wineries offer on-site lodgings. Meanwhile, with the New Zealand capital just 65 kilometres away, it’s also plausible to book a hotel in Wellington and take a day-trip to Martinborough.
Price rangefrom $47to $171
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