The Wairarapa area in the south-eastern corner of New Zealand’s North Island is one of the country’s most underrated road trip regions.
Yeah, yeah, we all know about Martinborough and its wine industry. But there is a lot more to this region that a few bottles of high-class plonk.
There’s a clue in the name – it means “glistening waters”, given by Maori explorer Haunui who saw its lake and rivers from atop the Tararua Ranges to the west.
For the most part it is a soft and gentle landscape of pancake-flat plains that snuggle between the western mountains and a range of low rolling hills to the east.
Most drivers traversing the region take State Highway 2, the main trunk highway, but the best road trip is the run from Martinborough on a back road, Route 52, north to SH2 at Waipukurau.
This is heartland NZ, the back of beyond, the bush, the wop-wops, or, as an Aussie would say, out the back of the black stump. And that’s exactly why townies should go and see it.
This is where salt-of-the-earth folk work the land and earn the overseas funds that allow townies to enjoy the lifestyle to which they have rapidly become accustomed.
Out here there are no smashed avocados on toast and soy latte brunches on a Sunday morning.
Bit like that wonderful line in the first episode of Downton Abbey when the Dowager Duchess, for whom the days pass in a seamless blur of leisure and pleasure, asked “What’s a weekend?”.
Out here there is a mob of sheep to be moved, cattle to be drafted, hay to be fed out. Day after day working on a to-do list that never seems to get shorter.
It’s the kind of road on which a driver coming the other way will laconically lift a hand from the steering wheel in a “you-OK?” wave.
But go there also because it is such a beautiful landscape, so very classic rural New Zealand.
This is a record of a road trip I took in March of 2021. It’s a loop that follows State Highway 2 south from Woodville, turning away to Martinborough then picking its way back north along Route 52, a little-travelled (by visitors) but particularly pretty back country road to rejoin SH2 at Waipukurau 80km east of Woodville.
Back in the day when I was a young and stupid (I have friends who would opine that only one of those characteristics has changed) we used to have racing time trials (in Morris Minors or Austin Sevens!) through the now-closed Manawatu Gorge road between Woodville to the east and Ashhurst to the west.
In recent years, that road became impossible to maintain because of constant rock falls so these days to get from my old home town of Palmerston North to the eastern side of the Ruahine Ranges involves either taking the Pahiatua Track from PN to Pahiatua, or the Saddle Rd from Ashhurst to Woodville.
Neither of them could be described as suitable for road trip cruisin’. Accent on cruisin’.
I‘ve been over the Pahiatua Track a couple of times in the past two years. It’s not too bad . . . bit twisty and winding in places but nowhere near as problematic as in those same said “back in the days”.
This time round I decided to take the Saddle Road. I can’t remember when I last drove it. Indeed, I’m not sure I ever have. It was just such a pig of a road. Why would you bother taking it if you could race the clock around the bends of the Manawatu Gorge?
Now much improved but still a twist, turn and climb. It does, however, have a couple of redeeming features: Wide-screen views both east and west, and an up-close-and-personal encounter with a wind farm.
View of the Manawatu Plains from the Saddle Rd with the Manawatu River in the distance.
Te Apiti Windfarm on top of the Ruahine Ranges near Palmerston North
I started by following the “Saddle Rd” signs through the village of Ashhurst but you can pick up the track at any point that takes your fancy.
Expert navigator tip:
Traveling from the west, In Woodville the Saddle Road leads on to Oxford Rd and Woodlands Rd which will bring you to back on to the old State Highway 3. SH3 ends at the intersection with SH2.
Play area in Fountaine Sq on Pollen St which runs parallel to the main st on the south side.
Police on the main st.
Campervan Dump Site on Normanby St, on the western side of the township..
Toilets in Fountaine Sq on Pollen St and at the i-Site on SH3..
Visitor Information: Tararua i-Site, 45 Vogel St (SH3). Ph 06 376 1027 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Useful website: http://www.thisiswoodville.co.nz/
Woodville Campground Ross St. Very simple camping ground behind the Woodville Community Centre. Power sites. Key at Caltex Service Station on Vogel St (the main drag).
Ferry reserve At Balance Bridge on the banks of the Manawatu River. Freedom camping allowed. Follow old State Highway 3 out of town.
Woodville Bakery 80 Vogel St (the main road).
Fish n’ Chips
Fish Spot 47 Vogel St (the main road.). Ph 06-376 4495. Gets almost universal acclaim.
One way to fix your place in the world. Signpost to all the other Woodvilles. In the centre of the town.
Coppermine Valley Creek Walk. 15 kilometres from Woodville on Coppermine Road. Grassed picnic area, fireplaces, toilet. Abandoned copper mine, cave wetas, camping area at the track junction, waterfalls, trees, plants including native orchids. A steep track leads to the tower on top of Whariti, a local high point. The higher part of the track is rough and requires a degree of fitness. The condition of the track should be checked with the nearby farmer Noel Galloway 06 376 4863. From Woodville take Pinfold Rd on the eastern edge of town. Follow to its end 9kms away and turn l. at the T intersection on to Coppermine Rd.
The Manawatu Gorge Track. This very popular walk is managed by the Department of Conservation. The track travels from the Ashhurst end of the Gorge and finishes at the Woodville end, just prior to entering the Gorge (or it can be walked the other way.) The main track climbs through landscapes of steep greywacke ranges covered predominantly in tawa and podocarp forest, along with broadleaved trees. What makes this piece of forest so unusual is the predominance of the giant maidenhair fern. This fern is found only in the Manawatu in New Zealand. Nikau palms are here in abundance giving a tropical touch to the track.
Spectacular views from the top. The walk takes about 4 – 5 hours and requires average fitness.
For more got to the Department of Conservation Website.
VEHICLE RECOVERY AND REPAIR
Agnews Auto Service 56 McLean St Ph 06-376-5239.
Woodville Service Centre McLean St Ph 06-376-5232.
0.0 km GPS -40.3371, 175.8667
This is where the road trip starts: In the middle of Woodville at the intersection of SH2 and SH3. Take SH2 south,
11.4 km GPS -40.4235, 175.8643
Fancy a swim in a river? Just north of the township at the Mangatainoka River, below the bridge, is an old fashioned swimmin’ hole, much loved by the locals.
The town is best known as the original site for the brewing of Tui beer. Tui Brewery was established at Mangatainoka in 1889 by entrepreneur Henry Wagstaff. Legend has it that in early 1889, Wagstaff stopped for a cup of tea at the banks of the Mangatainoka River and found the water made the finest cuppa he’d ever tasted. He decided on the spot it would be the ideal place to build a brewery. As the Tui website says “We are just stoked he started a brewery not a tea company. Imagine how boring life would be if he had?”
At the Tui HQ you can taste the beer, buy merchandise (and beer). There’s a cafe there too. Tasting tours start at $20 – you get to sample three beers.
Tui produced some of the most iconic billboard ads a few years ago which have now morphed into memes. Here’s a typical example.
15.5 km GPS -40.4534, 175.8407
Marked, rather spectacularly, at its northern approach by a Harvard aeroplane in a children’s playground.
One of the more interesting industries carried on here are the two coffin-making companies in the town.
Kids Play Area at the Harvard Adventure Park, Main St northern end
Police 15 Main St Ph 105.
Laundromat at the Club Hotel
Toilets on the main st in the centre of town.
The Finest Batch 133 Main St. Cakes, pies and coffee.
Fondest Love Cafe 130 Main St Ph 06-376-8754..
Red Chillies 92 Main St Ph 06-376-7825. Indian, Nepalese.
Black Stump Bar and Cafe 106 Main St Ph 06 376 7123
New World Main St.
Pick Your Own Flowers
Handpicked Flower Farm 81929 State Highway 2 just south of the town, Ph 021 179 8282. Over 65 flower beds, some annuals and some perennials, sown in succession so there are four beds in flower at any given time from late Spring until mid Autumn. So surprise someone . . . pick them a bunch of flowers.
Swanneys Autoshop 171 Main St. Ph 06-376-8338.
18.2 * * * Rest area.
31.0 * * * Rest area.
40.7 km GPS -40.6466, 175.7044
Visitor Information: at Eketahuna Kiwi Country Information Centre, 32 Main St, a souvenir shop.
Fuel: GAS Service Station 41 Main St. M-F 7am-9pm, S-S 7.30am-9pm
Toilets on main st.
Eketahuna Motor Camp Stanley St. S/posted w. from the centre of town. Ph 06-375-8677. Pretty camping ground set in 12 acres with mature trees and surrounded by a loop of the Makakahi River. Pleasant 10-15 minute walk to Eketahuna town centre. 2 Cabins each sleeping up to 5 people, tent sites, 16 caravan and motor home sites. Good kitchen and clean ablution block and laundry
Eketahuna Inn. 42 Main St. Economy accom. 06-375 8000.
The Lazy Graze Main St Ph 06-375 8844
Eketahuna Inn. 42 Main St. Ph 06-375 8000. Excellent pub-style meals with very generous portions.
Eketahuna Trust House Community Four Square, Main St. A locally-run co-operative.
Rowden Automotive 45 Main St Ph 06-375-8666
Tararua Autos 49 Main St Ph 06-375-8588.
The historic cliff walk, opened in 1911, begins by the bridge on Bridge Street. It is a pretty, scenic walk along the cliff above the Makakahi River. Approximately 15 minutes easy walking brings you to a junction with Stanly Street, another 15 – 20 minutes walk takes you to the Eketahuna Camping Ground. You can return by the same track or follow the road from the camping ground, along Stanly Street and back to town.
48.4 km GPS -40.7014, 175.6605
Middleton Model Railway. 36 Morgans Rd (2km on a side road) Displays of one of the largest model railways in NZ. Open every weekend and on public holidays 11am to 4pm or by special arrangement
Timeless Horse Treks Gorge Road, Ballance. Ph (06) 376 6157 Mobile 027 446 8536. A wide range of Clydesdale horse-drawn wagon adventures and horse trekking opportunities.
48.7 km GPS -40.7037, 175.6588
W.A.Miller Scenic Reserve and rest area. Walkway to the Anzac Bridge which is part of the original road.
The Anzac Bridge monument was built by a local resident, Alfred Falkner, as a memorial to the local people who served in WW1, and also because there was a real need for a bridge at that spot, as fording the Makakahi River could be dangerous after rain. The bridge opened in December 1922 and the plaques were unveiled on Anzac Day 1923. After WW2 further names were added. In 1956 a new bridge was built but thanks to local appeals the Anzac Bridge was preserved as a memorial. Services are held here every Anzac Day.
51.4 km GPS -40.7203, 175.6398
Pukaha National Wildlife Centre. Toilets. Cafe. Wildlife viewing, eco and nature tours. You get to experience endangered wildlife up close and in the wild. You will see for yourself what is being done to save kiwi, tuatara, kokako, kaka and return them to our forest.
Summit of Mt Bruce.
62.9 km GPS -40.8830, 175.6584
Hot and bothered? The small brigade in the back getting a bit too rambunctious? Take a dip in the Double Bridges swimming hole. Turn left on to Opaki-Kaiparoro Rd. Go over the railway lines and the road bridge (with the rail bridge beside you – hence Double Bridges) and turn right into Bluff Rangitumau Road and straight away right through the gate. Lay around in the gentle rapids under the bridges or jump off the rocks just downstream into the deeper water of the Ruamahanga River.
63.8 km GPS -40.8913, 175.6608
Paper Road Winery 7 Wingate Rd Ph 06 216 0219.. Coming from the north, this is the first of the wineries in the well-established and highly-regarded Wairarapa wine growing region. Paper Road is a small family-run boutique operation producing Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and a Rose. Cellar door open 11-5 daily from Sept to April.
80.1 km GPS -41.0350, 175.5174
AA, 221 Queen St, Ph 06-377-4920.
Doctor: Kuripuni Medical Centre, Crayne Street. Ph 06 377 4093
Masterton Medical 4 Colombo Rd Ph 06-370-0011
Laundrette: Rinse and Spin, 99 High St.
Police 21 Church St Ph 105.
Toilets in Bannister St, next to The Warehouse,
off the main st. In Queen Elizabeth Park
at Kurupuni Shopping Centre at the south end of the by-pass.
Visitor Information: Masterton i-Site, Bruce / Dixon Sts Ph 06-370-0900 Email email@example.com.
10 O’clock Cookie 180 Queen St. Outstanding café.
Fast Food chains
KFC, McDonalds, Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut – all on Chapel St, the by-pass.
Cafe Strada 232 Queen St. Ph 06 378 8450.
Trocadero Coffee bar 95 Queen St Ph 06 370-2469.
Don Luciano 9 King St. Ph 06 378 9665. Highly regarded day café, but open for dinner on Friday nights.
The Screening Room 435 Queen St. Ph 06 378 6191. Happy combo of cinema and top class restaurant.
Tripoli Bistro 452 Queen St. Ph 06 370 3540. Mostly pizza but pasta, tapas and a selection of Euro style mains as well.
Spices of India, Queen St / Lincoln Rd Ph 06 378 2521. Licensed and BYO.
Koi Spice Craft and Whisky 439 Queen St. Ph 06 370 1930. Indian and Malaysian flavours.
Queen Elizabeth Park Dixon St A collection of exotic trees, some planted more than 140 years ago. In total there are more than 180 specimen trees, ranging from the skyscraper American redwoods to the quirky Bhutan Pine. Download a map for the tree walk here. You can ride on the classic miniature train, ride around the lake on a pedal boat, have a round of mini golf, feed the ducks, walk over the swing bridge to visit the deer.
Masterton Golf Club Manuka St Ph 06 377 4984 The par 71, 5500m course is undulating with lots of interesting holes.
The Vintage Aviator Collection Hood Aerodrome, Manaia Rd. Ph 04-909 3100. A collection of WW1 original and reproduction aircraft available for viewing weekends over the summer and other days in winter by appointment.
The Woolshed 12 Dixon St Opp. Queen Elizabeth Park. Ph 06 378 -8008.
Masterton is home to the Golden Shears shearing contest, the international Blue Riband of competitive shearing.
There was a time, less so now, when the New Zealand economy was said to “live of the sheep‘s back”. Hard men and women would put in eight hours of back-breaking toil to produce the fibre that would go on to be made into a huge range of products from carpets to blankets, outdoor wear and even high-end suits.
They still do.
Shearing has progressed from being a physically demanding and arduous farm task to being recognised as an elite sporting pursuit with an outcome that contributes to the economic well-being of New Zealand.
Using the NZ developed Bowen technique, a shearer will efficiently remove the fleece from the sheep without double cutting the wool fibre or causing injury to the animal or self, all at speed.
The world record for speed shearing is currently held by an Englishman who averaged one sheep every 37.16 seconds over a nine-hour run.
The Wool Museum will give you a close-up insight into this important industry.
The Warehouse, Chapel St, the by-pass.
Hunting and Fishing
Hunting and Fishing Wairarapa Queen St. Ph 06-379-8016.
Farmers Market every Saturday 8.30-12.30 at Solway Showgrounds, Fleet St off he main road on the southern side of the township. .
Pak ‘n Save Chapel S, the by-pass.
New World, Cnr Bruce/Queen Sts.
Woolworths, Queen Sts.
Paul Croft Automotive. 84 Chapel St. Ph 06-378 8311
Nick’s Auto Service Ltd.. 10 Chapel St Ph 06 378 0112.AA roadside contractor and repairer.
93.1 km GPS -41.0350, 175.5174
Carterton, pop. 7650, is close to the wine-producing area near Gladstone. A farming town, it is also home to a thriving arts and crafts community. Originally called Three Mile Bush, Carterton was established in 1857 and renamed after local philanthropist Charles Rooking Carter, also of the Carter Observatory in Wellington.
Doctor: Carterton Medical Centre, 159 High St South, Ph 06 370 0011
Kids play area in the centre of town.
Police 5 Holloway St. Ph 105.
Toilets 63 High St
Carterton Holiday Park Belvedere Rd Ph 06 379 8267 Email firstname.lastname@example.org The park has 24 powered sites, numerous non-powered and tent sites. It also has 6 fully furnished, heated and carpeted self-contained units sleeping up to six people (bring your own bedding or linen available) plus 4 budget cabins.
Wild Oats 127 High St. Ph 06-379-5580. Bakery/deli/cafe – particularly good.
Clareville Bakery and Cafe 3340 SH2, Clareville Ph 06-379-5333. In the old church on the main road just north of the town.
Chopsticks 48 High St North Ph 06 379 6407. Chinese dine in and takeaways.
The Olive Branch, 91 High St. Ph 06-379-7667. Turkish and middle-east nosh.
Balter Bar And Kitchen 9 High St North, Ph 06 379 9252. Modern infusion concepts inspired by middle eastern, French and Asian cuisines.
Indian Taj 109 High St North Ph 06 379 5600.
Gladstone Inn 571 Gladstone St, Ph 06-372-7866. Bit out of town but worth the trip for pub grub done well.
Angel Wings beside the police station in Holloway St. This multicoloured inspiration is rapidly becoming a must-do selfie photo opportunity for young and old.
Paua World 54 Kent St. Ph 06-379-4247 Email email@example.com. Paua are shellfish that eat seaweed and live clinging to rocks at depths of 1 – 10 metres. They can be found around most of the NZ rocky shoreline. However, the larger and finer specimens, are found in the cold waters around Stewart Island and Southland. This is where Paua World get the shells used in the making of their jewellery as their colour is more vibrant. View the factory working (weekdays).
Gladstone Horse Treks 390 Clifton Grove Road, Admiral Hill Ph 06 372 7557. Based on a large sheep and beef farm, they offer horse trekking to suit all levels, in small groups of no more than five guests.
With over 2500 acres to explore they have a range of rides for all levels, from easy relaxing rides suited to beginners right through to challenging, fast and at times steep terrain for experienced riders.
Gasoline Heaven 2 Somerset Rd Ph 06-379-8933 Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Definitely petrolhead heaven. All sorts of automotive odds and ends plus a huge collection of cars, hot rods, classics and customs.
New World Supermarket, 60 High St. Ph 06-379-8016.
VEHICLE RECOVERY AND REPAIRS
South Wairarapa Auto Services Tow & Salvage, 386 High St. Ph 06-379 6500
Peter O’Leary Motors, Memorial Square. Ph 06-379 7706.
101.0 km GPS -41.0827, 175.4578
This thriving country village is a living museum of Victoriana. It was once the leading township in the region, but the railway by-passed it in the 1870s and the town slumbered on for the next hundred years. Fortunately, because of that deep sleep, it never got upgraded and modernised with a bulldozer, so there they all are – those delightful, authentic old buildings. The advent of the Martinborough wine growing region and resulting steady stream of tipplers travelling to and fro has revived Greytown’s fortunes and it is now well worth setting aside an hour or two to stroll along and through.
Greytown was the first town in New Zealand to honour Arbour Day, a day on which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. The idea started eight years earlier in Nebraska City in the USA. On 3 July 1890 the local dignitaries and school children gathered at the park on the southern end of town to plant trees, starting a practise which is still popular today.
Doctor: Greytown Medical Centre, 186 East St, Ph 06-304-9102
Laundrette: Lynlea’s Laundry 6 Reading St, Ph 06-304-9681.
Police 64 Main St. Ph 06-304-8122.
Toilets in the middle of the main st.
* * * Rest area and campervan dump station on the southern edge of town.
The White Swan. 109 Main St Ph 021 539 528 Email email@example.com You could be forgiven, looking at it, to think that it’s been serving the needs of the road-weary for a hundred years. In fact it was a service station site only a few years ago, though in fairness the building itself began life in 1890 as a railways administration block at Woburn in the Hutt Valley. It was trucked in and refurbished with 13 themed suites and studios – mostly with an Eastern flavour.
Greytown Hotel 33 Main St, Ph 06-304-9138. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Well recommended country pub. It’s a bit of a rarity in New Zealand; it has never been moved, has never burned down and has never changed its name. It was built in 1860, hence the name of its restaurant: The 1860.
Greytown-Woodside Trail Cotter St. Hike or ride the old railway line from Greytown to Woodside Station. Their website is a bit useless when it comes to information. You’ll learn more from the WairarapaNZ site.
Blackwell And Sons 110 Main St. Ph 027 558 5503, Email email@example.com Run by the slightly eccentric Shane Blackwell. As he puts it “Every mechanically inept boy needs a dad who can fix anything. Bill Blackwell, established 1943, is the Blackwell. I am the slightly mad eldest son.” They sell hand-built, British-made Pashley cycles along with all the other cycling incidentals including such stuff as Scottish picnic baskets, leather wine carriers and bells to coffee cup clips.
Designer Clothing Gallery, 74 Main St. Ph 06-304-8236. Has a curated selection of clothing and cashmere. Innovative designers from NZ and overseas, such as Luxe Deluxe, Good & Co, Sheryl May, French Freddie, Wyse London and others are included in their beautiful range. Look through the racks or be inspired by the styling wall, where you can put together, with help from their in-store stylists, a simple wardrobe of 5 – 7 pieces giving 15 – 20 looks.
The French Baker 81 Main St Ph 06-304-8873.
Pinnochio 83 Main St, Ph 06-306-6094 Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Been place in Cuisine magazines Top 100 two years in a row.
Wakelin House Restaurant and Courtyard Cafe 123 Main St, Ph 06-304-8869. Email email@example.com. The house was built in 1872, replacing an earlier cottage on the site occupied by Richard Wakelin, NZ’s first journalist and founder of the Wairarapa Standard newspaper. Menu is Italian influenced – dishes include Carpaccio (marinated beef fillet), Salmoni Affumicati Penne (salmon in a creamed dill sauce with penne).
Cuckoo Cafe 128 Main St, Ph 06-304-8992 Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Worth the visit if only for the decor – eclectic tatt I’d say, but another writer described it at “delightfully bohemian in pink”. Highly rated by the knowledgeable. Specialises in pizza.
Cahoots 97 Main St.
The Offering 65 Main St
Cobblestones Early Settlers Museum, Main St. Built as Hastwell’s Coaching Stables, dating back to 1857, to service Cobb and Co’s Wellington to Wairarapa service. The Museum Project was started in 1969 by the Greytown Jaycees with assistance from the Wairarapa Horsedrawn Society. Since then many early buildings of note have been moved to Cobblestones from other parts of the Wairarapa. The first Methodist Church built by Hart Udy in 1865 and the original Greytown Hospital, the first one in the Wairarapa, built in 1875, are now part of the complex.
Lots of antique shops. The Wairarapa has always been a wealthy farming area and the big old rural homesteads no doubt provide rich fossicking for dealers.
Expert navigator tip:
GPS -41.0903, 175.4494. At the southern end of the town is the turn-off from/to Martinborough.
Traveling from the south, if you took the side trip on SH53 to Martinborough and decided to return the quick way, you’ll rejoin SH2 in the centre of the town. From there you can make your own way whither you will.
Traveling from the north, if you want to take a side trip through Martinborough turn off l. on the southern edge of town on to Bidwells Cutting Rd. Martinborough is 19km away.
GPS -41.1800, 175.4350 Follow Bidwells Cutting Rd str. ahd. on to SH53 s/posted “Martinborough”
About 100m past that i/s there’s scenic lookout over the valley with a broad view over the valley towards Martinborough.
Kids Play Area near the town square.
Toilets in the town square and at the Information Centre on SH53.
Martinborough Hotel. Memorial Square. Ph 06 306 9350.Email email@example.com Beautifully restored country hotel. All the elegance of yesteryear, but very much at the top end of today’s prices. Nice if you have that kind of dosh.
Tirohana Estate 4 Puruatanga Rd Ph 06 306 9933. A multi-international award-winning vineyard restaurant.
Poppies Martinborough 91 Puruatanga Rd Ph 06 306 8473. Lunch at a vineyard.
Moy Hall Vinyeard 1 Martins Rd Ph 06 929 7305. Shared plate lunch overlooking the vines.
In The Neighbourhood Coffee House and Roastery 4 memorial Square Ph 06 306 0010. Day café,
Union Square Bistro and Bar Memorial Square Ph 06 306 8350 at the Martinborough Hotel.
Circus Cinema Bar and Restaurant 34 Jellioe St Ph 06 306 9442. The name pretty much says it all.
Oh My Goodness 8 Kitchener St Ph 06 306 9933. Day café,
Luna Estate 133 Puruatanga Rd Ph 06 306 9360 Vineyard restaurant.
Mesita 14C Ohio St Ph 06 306 8475. Restaurant and wine bar.
Peppers Parehura New York Street West Ph 06 306 9933. Vineyard hotel restaurant.
Little Square Pizza 4 Kansas St Ph 06 306 6333. Not just pizza.
THINGS TO DO
Green Jersey Cycle Tours 16 Kitchener St Ph 06 306 6027 Multiday Bike Tours on the Rimutaka Cycle Trail, Guided Wine Tours in Martinborough NZ and Bicycle Hire. You can take one of their self-guided wine tours.
Martinborough River Terraces Tour 6 Kitchener St Ph 06 306 9040. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Run by Martinborough Wine Merchants. Step into New Zealand winemaking history with this overview of the Martinborough River Terraces. This central walk encompasses the first of Martinborough’s wine producers, along with rising stars and the new wave of wine makers making their mark. Including a walk along the Huangarua River bank itself, be immersed in the history of this world-famed wine region.
My recommendation now is to take a real back country road north to link with SH2 at Waipukurau.
You can, of course, just make your way north or south from here by going back to SH2 at Featherston for the south or Greytown for the north. But why? How boring! Get an up-close look at what rural New Zealand really looks like.
Take SH53, Kitchener St, that brought you in here. On the outskirts of the town turn r. on to Princess St s/posted, among other things, “Carterton-Masterton”
Expert Navigator Checkpoint: There’s church on the corner as you make that turn.
17.4km GPS -41.1038, 175.5710
There’s nothing to see here, folks. At Ponatahi, that is. But at the intersection with Millars Rd you can go str. ahd. for Stonehenge, signposted accordingly.
Stonehenge Aotearoa 51 Ahiaruhe Rd.Ph 06 377 1600 Open air astronomical observatory, built to the layout of the famous British stone circle and adapted to the conditions of New Zealand. It’s not huge stones, however. It is a concrete version of what the original might have looked like in ancient times.You can learn about the cycles of nature, movements of celestial bodies and archeoastronomy: how our ancestors understood the phenomena in the sky, how they used these phenomena and what role the sky played in their cultures.
5.8 km GPS -41.1392, 175.6136 Follow Millars Rd to the i/section with Longbush Rd and turn l. s/posted “Gladstone”.
22.4 km GPS -40.9582, 175.66556 Follow Te Whiti Rd into the outskirts of Masterton. At the i/s with Colombo Rd turn r. It is a T intersection. You can’t miss it.
Expert Navigator Check point: You’ll pass the Wairarapa Trust House Netball Centre on the r.
At the T i/s with Te Ore Ore Rd turn r.
Expert Navigator Check point: Lakeview School will be on your r. at that turn.
Now the navigation is easy. Just follow your nose all the way to Waipukurau. But to make sure of it, here’s few road notes.
8.6 km GPS -40.9229, 175.7690 Follow the Te Ore Ore-Bideford Rd to the i/s with Whangaehu Valley Rd and bear l. at the traffic island, s/p “Alfredton/Pongaroa”
34.7 km GPS -40.6803, 175.8560 Follow what now becomes Provincial Route 52 to Alfredton. At the T i/s turn r. s/p “Pongaroa”.
Expert Navigator Check point: Alfredton School will be on your r. at that turn.
43.8 km GPS -40.542617, 176.191403 Pongaroa.
It may seem likethe back of beyond but from here came a man that changed the world, who, with fellow scientists, would change medical science forever.
It was the birthplace of Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins (1916–2004), who won a Nobel Prize in 1962 for his contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA.
His studies into the structure of RNA are the very foundation on which, for instance, the current mRNA vaccines against Covid-19 were created.
But, in fact, his research spanned multiple areas of physics and biophysics, contributing to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction, and even to the development of radar.
There’s a memorial to him in the centre of the village. Learn more about this remarkable man from Wikipedia
Police Sh52 Ph 105.
Mangatiti Falls. Walking track is 2hrs return over private farmland by arrangement with the farm owners, Marty and Debbie Hull. Ph – 06 376 2822
From here just follow Route 52 for 108km to Waipukurau.
At 59.7km from Pongaroa GPS -40.3386, 176.5871. Look for a sign that announces Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, reputedly the longest place name in the world, which translates into English as “the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as ‘landeater’, played his flute to his loved one.” Locals simply call it Taumata Hill.
48.2 km GPS -39.9956, 176.5567 Waipukurau.
From here you can make your way back westwards towards Dannevirke and Woodville or eastwards to Hawkes Bay.
And that’s the end of the line, folks.