Holiday To Martinborough

Air New Zealand: lies.

From London Heathrow to Wellington from about £800 return in August and from Heathrow to Napier from about £870 (both via Auckland). British Airways <0870 850 9850; Com) flies from Heathrow to Wellington via Sydney or Melbourne from about £880 return. Martinborough is a 90-minute drive from Wellington, across the breathtaking – and occasionally hazardous – Rimutaka range.

Photo Gallery Holiday To Martinborough

Holiday To Martinborough Images

Bus and train services are limited, so hiring a car is recommended. Where to stay Thanks to a regular influx of weekenders from Wellington, Martinborough is blessed with a wide range of high-quality accommodation.

But visitors should book ahead: rooms are in high demand all year round. The best is The Martinborough Hotel (00 64 6 306 9350; Nz), an imposing, colonial building in the centre of town. Ask for a verandah room with a claw-foot bath (such as the Martin Room or the Riddiford Room).

As well as a lively bar, the hotel has an a la carte restaurant. Doubles from NZ$260 (about £90); Martin and Riddiford rooms from about £100. Next door is the more modest Petit Hotel (00 64 6 306 8086; Nz), which offers tastefully decorated rooms, modern bathrooms and complimentary sherry. Doubles from about £80. Some wineries have holiday villas to let: Margrain Vineyard (00 64 6 306 9292; www. Nz), for example, has villas from about £55 per night A more traditional option is to rent an old cottage.

One of the best is The Vicarage (00 64 21 036 0764), a tastefully decorated, 19th-century, two-bedroom house. Double occupancy NZ$150 (about £50) per night; about £15 per person thereafter. However, if you relish the idea of reliving Wairarapa's colonial heyday, head for Whangaimoana Garden Retreat 7736) on Cape Palliser Road, about 45km from Martinborough.

There is a cottage on the property, but stay in the main house if possible. The Italianate villa is surrounded by magnificent gardens. It is a good base from which to visit the seal colony at Cape Palliser.

Double occupancy about £45 per night, including breakfast and afternoon tea. All these extreme times though were also braced by events of enlightenment: by times we had that made the soul sing. On a ship, a stage is a strong wooden plank about 10 feet long and 12 inches wide, just wide enough for a man to comfortably sit on. There are wooden handles 1 foot in from either end, extending out for 6 inches.

One-inch manila ropes are wound round the stages by the handles and the rope is tied to something sturdy at deck level. The stage itself is then put over the side of the ship.

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