Martinborough is a small town in the Wairapa region, approximately an hour drive from Wellington. The town was founded by John Martin, who planned the streets in the centre of town in the shape of the Union Jack flag. Many of the streets are also named after cities around the world that Martin had visited. The centre of town also features examples of colonial buildings, including the Martinborough Hotel, which offers accommodation as well as a bar and restaurant.

Martinborough is a great place to visit for a weekend, to take in the shops & cafes, but more importantly to visit the local vineyards and sample the wine produced in the area. As Martinborough sits on a large plain of relatively flat land, the best way to explore the vineyards is by bicycle that can be hired in town.

The Martinborough region has great conditions for producing award winning pinot noir. Some of my personal favourites include Schubert Wines, Te Kairanga, Tirohana Estate, Palliser Estate Wines, Murdoch James, Ata Rangi, Alana, Luna, Poppies & Craggy Range. I would highly recommend after a morning of cycling around the vineyards stopping for a lunch platter at Poppies.

After a hard days wine tasting, a great place to recover is the Cool Change bar & eatery, just on the square opposite the Marlborough hotel. This relaxed bar is a great spot to share stories from the day. For dinner apart from the many options in town, some of the vineyards have restaurants also. We were recommended Tirohana Estate, and they didn’t disappoint. We were treated to good hearty fare accompanied by great wines.

The weekend I was in town we were truly blessed with some sensational weather. Martinborough is somewhere I will return to.

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Flat grounds make for easy cycling between vineyards.
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The vines at Poppies vineyard.
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The Marlborough Hotel.

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Wine tasting at Schubert wines.
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Martinborough town centre with the Union Jack clearly visible.

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