After spending a cold and rainy two days hiking the Tongariro Northern Circuit, we immediately headed to warm and sunny Martinborough. It was a scenic drive there (quite honestly, pretty much every drive in this country is a scenic one). We drove through beautiful mountains, alongside roaring steams, and passed through farmlands full of sheep.
Martinborough is a charming small town known for its boutique wineries that are relatively small and typically family-owned. We stayed at a campsite on the outskirts of town. It had grapevine views and was within walking distance of 14 wineries.
It was late afternoon on Valentine’s Day when we arrived in Martinborough. We basked in the late day sun and treated ourselves to a dinner out. That night, we watched a beautiful sunset from the campsite.
The following day, we set out to explore the vineyards. We sampled wines at three different vineyards with open cellar doors:
- Martinborough Vineyards: Home of the best Pinot Noir in the World (April 2011).
- Schubert Wines: Started by a German couple who traveled the world searching for the perfect place to fulfill their dream of having their own vineyard.
- Ata Rangi: The brochure included this quote from a wine magazine, “Not to drop by Ata Rangi on a visit to Martinborough would be akin to visiting the Louvre and missing the Mona Lisa.” I can’t whether or not this is really true as we only visited a few vineyards, but the place was quite nice and we enjoyed the wine.
We had a a nice, sunny, and relaxing time in Martinborough. Next destination: Wellington (our last stop on the North Island).