How to have your ultimate Toast Martinborough weekend

Once you’ve made it over the hill from Wellington, Featherston is your first stop. Known for its many second-hand book shops (eight at last count), it’s easy to lose yourself browsing for a couple of hours. Featherston also has a good selection of retro and vintage shops. If you’re into cheese then a pitstop at C’est Cheese is advisable. Since opening in 2013 the deli has aimed to showcase the amazing range of products made by New Zealand’s specialist cheesemakers and other food producers.

If it’s artisan food you’re after, then take a trip to Schoc Chocolates further north in Greytown. The chocolatier is surrounded by cafés, restaurants, and great boutique shopping. Owner and chocologist Murray Langham has been creating delicious treats since 2002. You’ll find classic and contemporary flavours among the 60-plus on offer.

C’est Cheese

C’est Cheese.

Though the main event is on Sunday 19 November, local Martinborough businesses have curated a line-up of exciting events across the whole weekend. On the night of Friday 17 November, you can Groove with The She Jays at Karahui Wine Bar & Restaurant. The She Jays will bring fresh vibes and juicy tunes while Karahui brings mouthwatering burgers and small plates.

During the day on Saturday 18 November, you can have Cake & Coffee in the Olive Grove. Wander the beautiful old olive trees at Olivo in Martinborough. Grab a hot drink from the Levitate Coffee cart and sample a complimentary cake. Each one is infused with the flavours of extra virgin olive oils and infused oils grown onsite.

Capture Studios

Karahui Wine Bar.

Martinborough’s original craft gin, Lighthouse, is starting the party early. The Lighthouse Gin Party at The Runholder is a garden party to get you into the spirit of the weekend. Set to live summer tunes, guests are invited to settle in for Saturday afternoon with dancing, garden games and more. The Runholder head chef Tim Smith has developed a delectable grazing menu to accompany the drinks.

Bookending your Toast weekend, visit the Tohi Gin Room & Eatery for ‘The Joy Of Sake’. Immerse yourself in a world of diverse flavours and aromas as you explore unique artisan-brewed sake. You’ll get to try three meticulously crafted plates of Thai cuisine as well. It’s a great way to wind down after a day of Toast Martinborough revelry.

If you’re staying around and want to experience Wairarapa from a different angle, travel north to Masterton. There, you’ll find the region’s contemporary art gallery Aratoi. Aratoi hosts 25 to 30 exhibitions annually reflecting local and national artists. There are public programmes, a live performance series, and a museum shop. Further north, Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is an unfenced breeding sanctuary for native wildlife. The 942-hectare site is home to a dense lowland podocarp forest and native wildlife including birds and reptiles.