31 best things to do in the central North Island
Dominated by the enormous Lake Taupō and a trio of volcanoes including Mount Ruapehu, the Central Plateau is sporting a plethora of natural ...
The Wairarapa is increasingly known as a gourmand's little paradise. Modern Wairarapa has embraced wine in a big way, and enthusiasts will find much to love in the region’s many vineyards. Take a gentle cycle tour of the wineries around Martinborough or explore cultural and wildlife attractions.
Grapevines were first planted around Martinborough during the 1970s and there are now more than 50 vineyards in the Wairarapa. Note that some wineries are only open during summer months. Masterton and Martinborough i-SITES have wine trail maps. In Martinborough try Murdoch James Estate or visit Martinborough Wine Centre. Experience culture at Aratoi – the Wairarapa Museum of Art and History in Masterton – or via Carterton's Kiwiana quirk at Paua World, or get into nature at the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre. Historic Greytown has a diverse range of boutiques that are sure to intrigue everyone from casual browsers to shopaholics.
With the rise of wine in the Wairarapa has come an associated foodie culture, and there are some sophisticated dining options on offer in the region. Toast Martinborough, an annual wine and food festival, is a major highlight on the region’s calendar and drawcard for foodies around New Zealand. Good cafés include Masterton's Ten O’Clock Cookie and Village Café in Martinborough. For more sophisticated fare, try Greytown's Bar Saluté – a smart tapas restaurant – Wairarapa Trading Company, Masterton, or The Bistro Restaurant in Martinborough.
There’s plenty of boutique accommodation on offer in the Wairarapa wine country, as well as larger establishments. When in Masterton try Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park. Parehua Country Estate is a good option in Martinborough, as is Peppers Martinborough Hotel and the boutique-style accommodation of Petit Hotel.
The nearest airport to the region is Wellington International Airport, which offers domestic and international flights. Main centre Masterton is 1 hour, 25 minutes from Wellington by road, situated on SH2, or a long haul 9 hours, 15 minutes from Auckland. Coach companies provide regular services. Tranz Metro offers a regular rail service between Wellington and Masterton. Find out more at Martinborough i–SITE in The Square or Masterton i–SITE on the corners of Dixon and Bruce streets.