Since we’ve been living in Wellington, we’ve been making the most of living in the city, and the accessibility of everything being within walking distance. But we’ve also had a few days out where we’ve left the city and gone further afield. The two most notable trips for me have been Greytown and Martinborough, both in Wairarapa.
Before Christmas, we started to get the feeling we should get out of the city for a day trip and spread our wings a little bit. So we surveyed the train lines and time tables, and eventually settled on getting the train to Greytown.
There are only a handful of trains going that way each day, so we had to get up early (well early for us, we’re not morning people) and hopped on the train. The journey there was beautiful. The Wairarapa line travels around Wellington’s harbour, through the Lower and Upper Hutt region, and then through lush green hills and tunnel under the Pakuratahi Forest. Then past Lake Wairarapa, and finally we hopped off at our stop, Woodside.
The station was the tiniest, cutest train station I think I’ve ever used.
You can get a bus to take you directly from the train station to Greytown. But there’s also a trail which takes about an hour, which we opted for. So we crossed the tracks, found the trail and headed off. I must say the views were gorgeous, really lush green grasses, the odd brook to cross. Surrounded by herds of cows all over the place and hills and mountains in the distance. Very picturesque!
Not bad eh? So we strolled along, sticking to the shade as much as possible, and befriended a really cute dog along the way. Eventually we got to the town, and it was decidedly smaller than I had imagined, but very picturesque. We wandered the streets a little, and stopped off in a little cafe for lunch, and took in the town. After wandering the streets for the afternoon, we ambled back along the trail towards the train station, stopping wherever we felt like, and read books and enjoyed the sunshine. It was truly a beautiful way to spend a relaxed warm summer day.
Recently we decided to hop back on the train to Wairarapa, and visit the vineyard haven Martinborough. We took the same train as before but instead got off on Featherstone, then took a bus to the town. In true New Zealand style while on route to Martinborough we got stuck in a herd of cows being herded along the road, and had to wait while they passed. Eventually we made it to the town, and headed to the local Information centre to get an idea for our day, and they were super helpful.
We started our tour by hitting up Martinborough Brewery, and we decided to share a flight of beers. I tend to go for the lighter hoppier beers, and opted for an IPA and a wheat beer. The wheat was a new brew for the brewery, and the lady that served us happily told me I was the first customer to try it! I can safely say it was delicious and would buy it again if we go back!
After the beers, the vineyards started opening, so armed with our map we headed off into the sunshine. Now, most of the vineyards have tasting rooms, where for a $5 surcharge, you can taste a number of their wines. (Usually they have a range of 5-6 for you to try.)
Our first port of call was Martinborough Vineyard, where the tasting room was staffed with a fellow Brit. Who kindly talked us through the wines, and had a good ol’ chat about NZ vs the UK. When we left we were well on the way to tipsy, and he gave us our tastes for free. (I think he thought we were poor!)
Next we went to Schubert vineyard, where there was less chat and more formality. I thought the wine was slightly more intense and less sweet, so less to my taste. But I did think the glasses they served with were amazing (very light and delicate, I want glasses like that!)
Our third stop was Ata Rangi, where the lady was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the wine, and the process the grapes go through. I really enjoyed the reds. At this point, I was very happily three sheets to the wind. I don’t think I will ever forget walking through the vineyards, drunk in the middle of the day, the warm sunshine and just being happy. It was really something special.
We wandered back to the main town, bought some food and decided to go sit down for awhile to wait for our bus back to the train station. We ended up in the brewery again. More beer.
I don’t remember much of the journey home, I think I dozed for most of the train journet, but I do know I had an incredible day.
Revisiting Martinborough is high on our To Do List.
If you like wine, definitely do a wine tasting tour in Martinborough, it’s a beautiful region, can be done relatively cheaply and the wine is delicious!