The Wairarapa is a unique region in many ways. Not having a single set of traffic lights is one of those idiosyncrasies the casual tourist may not notice, but is a small point of difference we are proud of in the region.

The wine industry in Martinborough and in other geographical areas around Masterton and Gladstone is so successful because of the river valley flows over centuries that have created perfect grapevine growing areas. Dry hot summer temperatures, crisp cool winter nights, and stunning sunny days combine with ancient stony river beds that replicate the best growing regions in Burgundy, France.

As we discovered in the last issue of NZTODAY the wine industry in the Wairarapa has really taken off since the late 1970s, with major growth and plantings taking place during the 1990s, cementing the future success of the wine market – and the tourism market in the region.

The original Masonic Lodge at 115-117 Main Street, built c. 1890 in West Street, moved here in 1979 to be the Greytown’s Public Library. A fine example of late Victorian Masonic architecture, with the impressive pedimented entrance which still retains Masonic insignia. It is built of wood to imitate stone. Sited on land originally owned by the Kempton family. In 1972 Mrs Stella Bull gifted the land to the Greytown Borough Council An original church and stables are home to shoes and handbags in one, designer clothing in the other, with a top-notch restaurant nestled beside them

As we all know, along with wine come wine tasters and wine drinkers who also love good food. From the early 2000s, cafés and quality restaurants offering trendy food really started to get traction, especially in the villages of Martinborough and nearby Greytown. Vineyards also stepped up and established vineyard restaurants to cater for the upsurge in both domestic and overseas tourists, as well as the very popular wedding market.

Greytown has become a destination in itself for those wanting a few hours of retail therapy to round off their perfect holiday experience. It is such a beautiful town that many Wellingtonians, living only a hop, skip and a jump across the Rimutaka Hill, have purchased properties over here for weekend ‘getaways’ and sometimes to rent out as accommodation. These and other accommodation options have seen a rise in tourists coming to town, and the same has occurred in Martinborough but on a much larger scale.

To read this and other articles on the NZ Today website please click here to sign up for a membership. Once a member and logged in, you'll be able to read all the articles on the site.