Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We had decided to let someone else take the strain this Christmas, and booked ourselves into a hotel in Masterton, in the Wairarapa region. Wairarapa is just over the Rimutaka mountains, which lie between Wellington and most of the rest of the country.

We arrived around mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve, and after unloading our stuff in the hotel, drove into Masterton for a look around. Most places had already closed early for Christams Eve, so we didn’t spend much time there, just long enough to walk up and down the main street.

On Christmas day we had a big breakfast, then drove out to Mount Holdsworth for a walk up the mountains in the sunshine. As we were equipped with nothing but a water bottle we decided to take the easy walks rather than the longer ones, but even so spent a couple of hours on the mountains in the woods and by the river.

Afterwards we returned and made use of the spa pool in the hotel, bore having Christmas dinner in the evening – turkey, ham and salad, with nary a Brussels sprout in sight.

On Boxing Day we drove out to Lake Wairarapa, with the intention of walking around there. Unfortunately it isn’t really geared up for walking around, and is almost surrounded by private farmland. There was one bit where we were able to get down to the lake to have a look around, where we were followed around by a black chicken, clearly a resident of the area as it didn’t seem to be at all shy.

We then drove into Martinborough to visit a couple of vineyards, stopping off first at the i-site to check which ones were open. We visited the Schubert vineyard and acquired some of their Pinot Noir, then went on to the Haythornthwaite vineyard where we sampled their rosé and various styles of gewürtztraminer. Having made our purchases, we headed back into central Martinborough for a spot of lunch. Unfortunately the café that had been recommended to us at Haythornthwaite was closed on Boxing Day, so we went to the Martinborough café instead and had salad and antipasti. It was a baking hot day –   temperatures always get much higher in Wairarapa than in Wellington in Summer – so we were grateful to find a table in the shade in the courtyard.

Lake Wairarapa

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