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Photo: Digging For Fire

After reinventing itself 20 odd years ago, Martinborough has become one of New Zealand’s premier wine-growing regions.

Martinborough is just an hour’s drive from Wellington and at the centre of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail touring route. Martinborough is named after John Martin, who in 1879, founded a new town close to the township of Wharekaka, and the Māori settlement of Waihenga, and named it after himself. In similar bold style, Martin designed the town’s layout in the shape of the Union Jack, with the streets named after places he had visited on his travels. The town was once a service centre for the surrounding agricultural area. Things changed with the introduction of grapevines in the 1970s and these days the village has a fast-growing reputation as a producer of premium Pinot Noir and as a weekend destination for those who enjoy quality wines, boutique stores, art galleries,  day spas, golf, olive groves and fine dining. Older buildings were moved to the main street to create a “wine village” . Packed with charm, Martinborough features over 30, largely family-owned, wineries, most within walking distance of the village.

Martinborough’s vineyards can be explored on foot, by bike, horse and carriage or even by London Taxi Cab. Taste award-winning wines, enjoy the vines and vineyard cafes throughout the year.

Martinborough has a reputation for excellent food and the village is soon to be home to New Zealand’s first International School of Cuisine, a partnership with Le Cordon Bleu and the only rural campus of this iconic brand.

Toast Martinborough, on the third Sunday in November, is a wine and food festival that people come from all over the country to enjoy.

If you don’t want to drive, catch the train from Wellington to Featherston, and jump on the bus connecting to Martinborough.

Where to stay


What to do

  • Visit some of the region’s 30 wineries
  • Have lunch at a winery
  • Pick up some local art
  • Play a round or two of golf


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Getting there

Piwa perched