Martinborough, nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s picturesque Wairarapa region, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its lush vineyards, charming colonial architecture, and welcoming community, Martinborough offers a unique blend of culture, relaxation, and adventure. What to do in Martinborough? This comprehensive guide is your key to unlocking the treasures of this enchanting destination.

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast eager to explore the renowned Martinborough wine trail or a history buff interested in strolling through the town’s beautifully preserved colonial streets, there’s something for everyone in Martinborough. What to do in Martinborough begins with a leisurely visit to its world-class wineries, where you can savor award-winning wines and experience the region’s viticultural heritage. But the charm of Martinborough goes beyond wine; its boutique shops, delectable cuisine, and vibrant arts scene offer a rich tapestry of experiences. From cycling through the rolling vineyard landscapes to picnicking in scenic parks, our guide will help you navigate the myriad opportunities to immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of Martinborough. So, let’s embark on a journey together to uncover the best of what to do in Martinborough and make the most of your visit to this captivating destination.

Exploring Martinborough’s Vineyards

Martinborough, New Zealand, is a hidden gem for wine enthusiasts, boasting world-class wineries and vineyards. Nestled in a unique microclimate with fertile soil, this region is especially renowned for its exceptional Pinot Noir wines. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or a casual enthusiast, Martinborough offers a plethora of activities to enjoy. Let’s delve into what to do in Martinborough, focusing on its renowned vineyards and winery-related activities.

Wine Tasting Tours

One of the quintessential Martinborough experiences is indulging in wine-tasting tours. The region is home to a variety of wineries, each with its unique charm and wine offerings. Here are some must-visit wineries and activities for a memorable wine-tasting experience:

Palliser EstateKnown for its exquisite Pinot Noir, Palliser Estate offers guided tours and tastings.
Te KairangaExplore Te Kairanga and sample their impressive range of wines, including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Ata RangiAta Rangi is celebrated for its commitment to sustainability and exceptional wine production.

During these tours, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a variety of wines, gaining insights into the intricate winemaking process. Knowledgeable guides will walk you through the nuances of each wine, from aroma and flavor profiles to the vineyard’s history.

Cycling the Martinborough Wine Trail

For those who prefer a more active approach to exploring vineyards, renting a bicycle and embarking on the Martinborough Wine Trail is a fantastic option. This self-guided tour takes you through the picturesque countryside, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region while visiting various wineries along the way.

The Martinborough Wine Trail is well-marked, making it easy to navigate. You can plan your route to include specific wineries of interest or simply meander through the vineyards at your own pace. It’s an ideal way to get up close and personal with the terroir and enjoy the serene atmosphere of Martinborough’s wine country.

Wine and Dine

To complement your wine-tasting adventures, be sure to savor gourmet cuisine at the Martinborough Hotel’s restaurant. Here, local wines perfectly complement a menu that features fresh, seasonal ingredients. Dining at the Martinborough Hotel provides an exquisite culinary experience that will enhance your appreciation of the region’s wines.

Additionally, many wineries in Martinborough have charming picnic areas, allowing you to enjoy a relaxed meal amidst the vineyards. Pack a picnic basket with your favorite local cheeses, charcuterie, and a bottle of wine, and relish a leisurely lunch with a breathtaking vineyard backdrop.

Wine Festivals

If you have the flexibility in planning your visit, consider aligning it with one of Martinborough’s annual wine festivals. “Toast Martinborough” is a notable event that combines wine, food, and music in a delightful celebration of the local culture. It’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and experience the best that Martinborough’s wine scene has to offer.

Immerse Yourself in Martinborough’s Heritage

Two Women looking at the Boutique Shop from the Exterior

While Martinborough is renowned for its vineyards and wine-related activities, it’s also a place rich in history and colonial charm. To truly appreciate the town’s heritage, take a step back in time and explore the following historical attractions and sites:

Martinborough Village Square – Things to do in Martinborough

Martinborough Village Square is the heart of the town’s colonial charm. It’s a place where history and modernity seamlessly blend together. Here, you can:

  • Stroll Through Quaint Surroundings: Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Village Square, where you’ll be surrounded by charming colonial-style buildings that evoke a sense of nostalgia.
  • Explore Boutique Shops: The square is home to an array of boutique shops offering a variety of unique souvenirs, clothing, and artisanal products. It’s an ideal spot to pick up memorable keepsakes from your visit.
  • Visit Galleries: Art enthusiasts will appreciate the galleries in the area, showcasing local artwork that provides a glimpse into Martinborough’s vibrant creative community.
  • Relax at Cafes: After your explorations, relax at one of the cozy cafes nestled in the square. It’s the perfect opportunity to savor a cup of coffee or enjoy a delicious meal while soaking in the charming ambiance.

Martinborough Colonial Museum

To delve deeper into the history of Martinborough, a visit to the Martinborough Colonial Museum is a must. This museum is a treasure trove of artifacts, photographs, and stories that shed light on the town’s early days. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Historical Artifacts: The museum houses a remarkable collection of historical artifacts, including tools, clothing, and household items that were once a part of everyday life in Martinborough.
  • Photographic Archives: Explore the extensive photographic archives that provide visual insights into the town’s evolution over the years. Witness the transformation of Martinborough through captivating images.
  • Engaging Exhibits: The museum regularly features engaging exhibits that focus on specific aspects of Martinborough’s history, ensuring there’s always something new to discover.
  • Local Stories: Get to know the stories of the people who shaped Martinborough’s history, from early settlers to prominent figures who contributed to the town’s growth.

Martinborough Wine Centre

While exploring Martinborough’s heritage, don’t miss the Martinborough Wine Centre. This informative center serves as a great starting point for your wine journey. Here’s what you can do at the Wine Centre:

  • Obtain Maps: Pick up detailed maps of the Martinborough wine region, which will help you navigate the area with ease. These maps highlight the locations of various wineries and vineyards.
  • Receive Recommendations: Knowledgeable staff can provide recommendations based on your wine preferences, ensuring you make the most of your visit to the local wineries.
  • Gain Wine Insights: Learn about the local wine scene through informative displays and discussions at the Wine Centre. Understand the unique terroir and grape varieties that make Martinborough wines special.
  • Plan Your Wine Adventure: The center can assist you in planning your wine-tasting itinerary, ensuring you get the most out of your Martinborough wine experience.

Embrace the Outdoors

Two Individuals Riding Bicycles on the Rimutaka Cycle Trail

Beyond its vineyards and historical charm, Martinborough offers an abundance of opportunities to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of New Zealand. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply seeking tranquility, the region has something for everyone. In this guide, we will explore some of the top outdoor activities and natural attractions in Martinborough.

Rimutaka Cycle Trail

The Rimutaka Cycle Trail is a paradise for cycling enthusiasts and nature lovers. Here are the key details about this remarkable trail:

Trail TypeScenic, Cycling
DifficultyModerate to Challenging
Trail LengthApproximately 115 kilometers
Trail Highlights– Rugged landscapes
– Native forests
– Riverside views

Trail Description: This trail takes you on a journey through rugged landscapes, dense native forests, and along picturesque rivers. It spans approximately 115 kilometers and offers varying degrees of difficulty, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced cyclists. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s wilderness, spot native flora and fauna, and take in breathtaking vistas.

Putangirua Pinnacles

The Putangirua Pinnacles, located just a short drive from Martinborough, are a geological wonder that should not be missed. Here’s what you need to know about this unique natural attraction:

LocationPutangirua Scenic Reserve, near Martinborough
Formation TypeErosion-formed rock pillars
Trail LengthVarious walking tracks, up to 2 hours
Highlights– Towering rock formations
– Remarkable geological history

Trail Description: The Putangirua Pinnacles are a result of millions of years of erosion, and they stand as a testament to the power of nature. Hike the well-maintained trails in the Putangirua Scenic Reserve, which offer different routes and durations. Along the way, you’ll encounter the awe-inspiring sight of towering rock formations that seem almost otherworldly. This area is not only a geological marvel but also a great spot for photography and connecting with nature.

Cape Palliser Lighthouse

Venture to the southernmost point of the North Island to visit the Cape Palliser Lighthouse. Climbing the 252 steps to the lighthouse rewards you with panoramic views of the rugged coastline. Here are the key details:

LocationCape Palliser, Southern Wairarapa, near Martinborough
Lighthouse TypeHistoric, operational
Climb Details252 steps to the top
Highlights– Spectacular coastal views
– Unique lighthouse experience

Lighthouse Experience: Visiting Cape Palliser Lighthouse offers an opportunity to not only witness the stunning coastal scenery but also to explore a historic, operational lighthouse. The climb to the top is invigorating, and once there, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of the rugged coastline, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.

Relaxation and Spa Retreats

Image of Thai Spa Massage Compress Ball with Essential Oils, Pots, and Flowers All Together

If you’re in search of a tranquil getaway to relax and indulge in some well-deserved pampering, Martinborough offers a selection of exceptional options:

  • Martinborough Day Spa: Treat yourself to a revitalizing experience at the Martinborough Day Spa. This oasis of serenity provides a wide array of treatments and massages that will rejuvenate both your body and mind. Nestled in a peaceful setting, it’s the perfect place to unwind and de-stress.
  • Martinborough Hotel: For those seeking a blend of luxury and timeless charm, consider staying at the historic Martinborough Hotel. This elegant establishment boasts a spa that offers a range of pampering treatments to enhance your well-being. Additionally, the hotel’s enchanting garden provides an ideal backdrop for leisurely strolls, allowing you to further immerse yourself in tranquility.

How to Choose the Best Accommodation in Martinborough

When planning your visit to Martinborough, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is where to stay. The right accommodation can greatly enhance your experience of “what to do in Martinborough” and ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay. In this guide, we’ll explore the various accommodation options available in Martinborough and provide you with tips on how to choose the best one for your needs.

Types of Accommodation in Martinborough

Martinborough offers a diverse range of accommodation options to cater to different preferences and budgets. Here are the primary types of lodging you can consider:

  • Boutique Hotels: These are often historic buildings or charming properties with a limited number of rooms, providing a personalized and luxurious experience.
  • Motels: Martinborough has several motels that offer comfortable rooms with basic amenities, making them a budget-friendly choice.
  • Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs): If you prefer a homely atmosphere, B&Bs are a great option. They typically include breakfast as part of the package and offer a warm and welcoming ambiance.
  • Holiday Homes and Cottages: Ideal for families or larger groups, holiday homes and cottages provide a home-away-from-home experience with fully equipped kitchens and living spaces.
  • Vineyard Accommodation: For a unique experience, you can choose to stay at a vineyard where you can immerse yourself in the wine culture of Martinborough.
  • Luxury Lodges: If you’re looking for a lavish experience, Martinborough also boasts luxury lodges with top-notch amenities and services.

Now that you know the types of accommodation available let’s dive into the factors to consider when making your decision.

Factors to Consider

BudgetYour budget is a crucial factor in determining the type of accommodation you can afford. Martinborough offers options ranging from budget-friendly motels to luxurious boutique hotels. Decide on your budget range before you start searching.
LocationConsider the location of your accommodation in relation to the activities you plan to do in Martinborough. If wine tasting is a priority, you might want to stay close to the vineyards. Alternatively, if you want to explore the village square and museums, central accommodation might be preferable.
Amenities and ServicesDifferent types of accommodation offer varying amenities and services. Make a list of must-have amenities, such as Wi-Fi, parking, or a pool, and check if the accommodation you’re considering provides them.
Group SizeIf you’re traveling with a group or family, you’ll need accommodation that can comfortably accommodate everyone. In such cases, holiday homes or cottages can be a practical choice.
Special RequirementsConsider any special requirements you might have, such as accessibility features, pet-friendly options, or specific dietary needs if you’re staying at a B&B.
Reviews and RatingsBefore making a decision, read online reviews and check ratings from previous guests. These can provide valuable insights into the quality and service of the accommodation.
Booking FlexibilityCheck the cancellation policy and booking flexibility, especially if your travel plans are subject to change. Some accommodations offer flexible booking options, which can provide peace of mind.
Unique ExperiencesIf you’re looking to make your stay memorable, consider accommodations that offer unique experiences, such as staying on a vineyard or in a historic building.

Tips for Booking Accommodation in Martinborough

Now that you’re aware of the factors to consider, here are some additional tips to help you book the best accommodation in Martinborough:

  • Book in Advance: Martinborough is a popular destination, especially during the wine harvest season. To secure your preferred accommodation, it’s advisable to book well in advance.
  • Contact the Accommodation Directly: If you have specific questions or requests, don’t hesitate to contact the accommodation directly. They can provide you with personalized information.
  • Compare Prices: Use online booking platforms to compare prices and find the best deals. Keep an eye out for special packages or promotions.
  • Consider Package Deals: Some accommodations offer packages that include wine tours, dining, or other activities. These can be a cost-effective way to enjoy “what to do in Martinborough.”
  • Read the Fine Print: Before finalizing your booking, carefully read the terms and conditions, including check-in/check-out times and any additional fees.
  • Join Loyalty Programs: If you plan to return to Martinborough or explore other destinations, consider joining loyalty programs offered by hotel chains or booking platforms for potential discounts and rewards.


Martinborough’s allure lies in its ability to cater to diverse interests. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, history buff, outdoor adventurer, or someone seeking relaxation, Martinborough has something special for you. So, plan your trip and discover the wonders of Martinborough, one of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets. Indulge in wine, immerse yourself in history, embrace the outdoors, and rejuvenate your soul amidst this charming town’s scenic beauty. Martinborough is more than just a destination; it’s an experience you’ll cherish forever.


When is the best time to visit Martinborough?

Martinborough is delightful year-round, but the best time for wine lovers is during the grape harvest season from February to April.

Are there non-wine-related activities in Martinborough?

Absolutely! You can explore the town’s history, hike scenic trails, visit the Putangirua Pinnacles, or simply relax in the beautiful countryside.

Can I visit Martinborough on a day trip from Wellington?

Yes, it’s possible to do a day trip to Martinborough from Wellington. However, to fully appreciate the region, consider staying overnight.

Are there family-friendly activities in Martinborough?

Yes, Martinborough offers family-friendly activities like picnicking in the vineyards, cycling, and exploring the village square.

Is there a local culinary scene in Martinborough?

Absolutely! Martinborough boasts a vibrant culinary scene with restaurants serving fresh, local produce, and exquisite dishes.