Martinborough

As you drive over the Rimutaka Hill, the Wairarapa valley opens up before you, fringed by mountains to the west and rugged coast to the east. Maori call the Wairarapa the Land of Glistening Waters
Packed with colonial charm, Martinborough features over 20 wineries, most within walking distance of the quaint village square which is laid out in the pattern of the Union Jack. Founded by John Martin in the 19th century, many of Martinboroughs streets are named after foreign cities he had visited.
Some of New Zealand’s (the worlds?) best Pinot Noir comes from the towns friendly family-owned vineyards. Martinborough is a popular weekend destination for Wellingtonians, who enjoy the premium wines, vineyard cafes, boutique stores, quality accommodation, olive groves and award-winning restaurants.
Located 80 km from Wellington the town is home to approximately 1300 full-time residents. This population swells substantially on weekends and during the many festivals and events that the town is famous for hosting.

Martinborough is a fantastic place to call home. There is a strong community spirit and locals are quick to help each other out. If you are considering a permanent move here from Wellington (or anywhere else for that matter) you’ll be very impressed with the improvement in your quality of living. There is a lot of talk about finding the right balance between work and leisure and Martinborough is the perfect place to bring more leisure into your life.
The weather is at least a consistent five degrees warmer than Wellington which means you’ll enjoy the outdoors more often. Whether its a refreshing stroll around the vineyards, or simply relaxing with friends outdoors, the climate allows you to enjoy dining, exercising or simply relaxing in the fresh air.
It may be a small town but there are numerous benefits that you wont find in the city. There are no parking wardens (because theres always a park), no traffic lights and getting around is easy whether on a bike, a pleasant stroll or by car. Many things are cheaper (like insurance, diesel, produce and of course a designer home).

However whilst you’ll delight in the wine village charm you wont miss out on the luxuries of more sophisticated living. The plentiful restaurants and cafes offer excellent quality food albeit, at a lesser price than Wellington. There is a boutique but modern cinema (Circus), just down the road from Pinot Grove, offering arm chair viewing (local wine in hand) off the latest releases on two screens. Four centrally located bars all offer a different experience and will remind you of the English village experience where you can saunter in on your own to enjoy a quiet drink with friends.
If you’re up super early and crave a great coffee you’re in luck. Sue at Kitcheners Dairy makes one of the best and she opens before dawn, sometime around 3 am (not that we’ve ever checked). She caters for the early rural workers and the freshly baked scones are a delight at half the price of those in central Wellington of course.
The locals have a can do attitude and typically if a tradesperson cant help you they know someone who can.
Pinot Grove has high speed fibre internet so if you wish to work from home you’ll have lightening fast access. Its the only place in Martinborough that this is available. All services are underground and water, sewer and electricity are all on town supply.

The quiet rural roads are perfect for cycling, running and walking. There are two gyms in town and an infamous boot camp run by Kevin Rickey – a resident of Pinot Grove. You’ll find the motivation to exercise far easier given the stunning weather and tranquil scenery. The region is at the very centre of one of NZ’s Great Cycle Rides – the Rimutaka Cycle Trail and the picturesque Ruamahunga River is one of New Zealand’s undiscovered secrets for kayaking, summer swimming and fly fishing (although thats not really exercise). The Tararua and Aorangi Ranges are 45 minutes away if you’re looking for something more adventurous.
The rugby, netball, squash and tennis clubs are all very active and offer a strong social scene.
There is an older style summer pool in town but you’ll probably never get to experience it with your own sensational 20-meter pool at Pinot Grove.

Wairarapa is considered to be one of New Zealand’s top food and wine destinations and is at the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. Martinborough is world famous for its Pinot Noir Wine (hence the name Pinot Grove). The vineyards follow old river beds which provide suitable soils and the warm days and cool nights are ideal conditions for Pinot grapes to thrive. Many other varieties are also grown locally.

The Wairarapa is recognised as a boutique food producer and wine tourism destination. It is central to the Classic New Zealand Wine Trial, an unforgettable wine and food experience along a signposted 380km (240 mile) route. Wairarapas food highlights include The French Baker, Schoc chocolate, Olivo olive oil, Lot 8 olive oil, Kingsmeade sheep milk cheeses, Medici Cafe in Martinborough, Tirohana Cellars and Bar Salute.

Located 80 km from Wellington the town is home to approximately 1300 full-time residents. This population swells substantially on weekends and during the many festivals and events that the town is famous for hosting.

There are numerous events on the Martinborough calendar including:

Toast Martinborough – The Infamous wine festival that typically sells out in a matter of minutes
February Fair
March Fair
Harvest Festival
Wings Over Wairarapa
Jazz Festival
Vineyard concerts
Mountain Bike Race (and numerous road races)
Brew Day Beer Festival
Winter Festival (was Olive Harvest)
Outdoor concerts at Aotearoa Stonehenge
Round the Vines (run often in fancy dress)
Summer Festival Tauherenikau Races

Many residents commute to Wellington for work although there is also plenty of work available locally. There is an excellent train service that services the Hutt Valley and Wellington. Unlike driving, catching the train allows commuters to be productive during the one hour journey into Wellington with only a handful of stops. The trains have work tables and power outlets available and TranzRail is currently installing wifi in several stations as well as investigating offering it on the train itself. Theres a feeder bus that connects with the train to and from Martinborough. The combined bus / train journey takes approximately 80 minutes. And with views of native bush, The Hutt river and Wellington harbour the commute is very scenic.

Martinborough offers education at a primary level at Martinborough Primary School, which contributes to the roll of Kuranui College which is located 12 minutes away on the edge of Greytown. Several highly regarded schools are located in Masterton offering either a boarding option or a school bus commute.
You will enjoy the peace and simplicity of a small town whilst appreciating the sophistication also on offer. There is plentiful infra-structure within the town and the larger towns of Greytown and Masterton are a pleasant drive away through the rural countryside. Wellington is (just over) an hour away by car if you need a taste of the big city.
Moving to Martinborough will improve your quality of life and moving to Pinot Grove will do so even more.

There is a selection of boutique clothing, homeware and design shops many of which offer locally made goods. Pain and Kershaw offers a comprehensive supermarket, recent remodelled general goods store and an extensive Mitre Ten. ANZ and BNZ both have branches in town and there is a chemist, medical centre and Scotty the Butcher is well renowned. 30 minutes away in Masterton there is a full selection of larger format stores such as The Warehouse, Briscoes and Pak N Save.
In summer there is a monthly farmers market at Te Kairanga Wines which offers a selection of local produce.
Martinborough is renowned for its eateries and bars and has a vibrant dining scene as well as a fantastic cinema which is just a few hundred metres from Pinot Grove. A recently built brewery offers excellent local beers. Away from the town centre are many wineries offering tastings, wine tours and dining. There are two cycle tour companies as the flat topography of Martinborough makes cycling an ideal way to meander around the vineyards.