"Quintessential NZ" Martinborough by Assenczo

Martinborough Travel Guide: 35 reviews and 69 photos

This is a sleepy old town somewhere in the hinterland of the North Island. As such it is hindered by the mountains from access to the coast and the influences. Once the white culture of cultivating the land and breeding sheep was established there was no impetus to do something else. The advantage from contemporary point of view is the relative conservation of way of life long gone by in other areas and moons away from the cosmopolitan center of Auckland, for example.

The main street looks as if pulled out of the Hollywood studious. At the same time with the weird difference of green pastures around instead of the dusty brown backdrops of the cowboy movies. Sheep are not your action movie cast either. Despite the common perception, they are not as docile as one might think. When approached with the noble intention of immortalizing them on camera, (you suppose this is exactly what they will need in a month or two) they rush to the opposite corner of the field just to prove that you are not boss of theirs.
Back to the urban aspects of Martinborough, the accent is on the history and lessons that it teaches us. The central park is elevated with the present of war memorial with the names of participants in wars far beyond the mountain ridges or the coast. NZ was embroiled in seemingly “other-people’s” wars for many years which produced a need for many monuments to commemorate the valour of folks who returned, or rather who did not. The crowning achievement of this ANZAC memento building must be the structure erected in central Sydney, Australia.

Upside down viticulture

One thing that really puzzles is the way vineyards are arranged. In Bulgaria, a well-known wine producing region for centuries, the notion that there could be grass in the vineyard is a sacrilege. I, myself have been instructed to meticulously weed out everything that has the colour green on it. The NZ version is completely the opposite. There is a blanket of grass between the rows of vines making it look as if a carpet has been laid out for you and your "vendange" buddies. Well it must work “downunder” where even the water vortex moves in the opposite direction. No sheep were to be seen though – a pity if this improvised succulent pasture is not used accordingly.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:NZ as it used to be and as it is
  • Cons:Not all meadows are green!?!
  • In a nutshell:Sheep, grass and vineyards
  • Last visit to Martinborough: Aug 2007
  • Intro Updated Nov 23, 2009
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Comments (1)

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2008 at 2:50 PM

    i was recently here durring the winter and sheep were grazing the vineyards

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