Having been born and raised in this delightful rural community and having seen it blossom over the years to the glorious town that it is today, I find it hard to grasp that there are still so many people unaware of what they are missing by not knowing this ‘wine village’ of the Wairarapa. Let’s put them all straight…
Of course, it hasn’t always been overflowing with vineyards, cafes and restaurants. But it has always been a town of high spirits, hardworking rural folk, a close knit and caring community and a wonderful place to grow up and live in.
There has always been a lot of activity in this small town from lamb and calf days to the Martinborough Fair, from the first town criers to rugby cabarets and over the past years we have held the large annual event (next to the Martinborough Fair which is twice a year on the first Saturday of February and March) which might be known by a few, as Toast Martinborough; a day where you travel from vineyard to vineyard and sample some of our award-winning wines and feast on some wonderful delicacies.
But behind it all, it’s always the people that makes Martinborough most memorable. The friendliness of the locals, which can’t go unnoticed. You can spot them around; the typically attired casual bloke driving the 4WD with mud dripping off the sides and a few over-excited sheep dogs barking on the back.
»It’s always the people that makes Martinborough most memorable.«
He will be the first to help give directions, know the best short-cut to get there and remember your face and give you smile and a wave when you revisit a year later. It doesn’t take long to get on a first name basis and before long you will fall madly in love with this little place in the valley.
The outlook is amazing whether it be from the air or the road, either way the landscape will etch itself into your memory forever. Just over an hour from Wellington over the Rimutaka Hill, you will find yourself being sign-posted to Martinborough. People come from far and wide to visit this rural delight and be a part of its festivities — it’s hard not to want to be included in their good ole hospitality.
There are olive groves, vineyards and of course that wonderful wine (to taste, or purchase, or both), walking tracks, trips to our rugged yet beautiful coastlines, golfing, canoeing, jetboating, and quad biking.
Then there are the pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops and a wonderful array of accommodation from the Martinborough Hotel, Claremont Motel, and Brackenridge to numerous B&Bs scattered all over for your convenience. You can choose to see it all, or simply sit back and relax and enjoy the peace.
Next week I will detail some of these places, from my own experience. But you have to really judge it for yourself, it’s not all about one thing or another — it’s the whole experience of being in Martinborough. That I can assure you, like me, you will love and remember.
Words: Donna Malneek