Travel Insider: A local's guide to eating and drinking in Wairarapa

Travel News from Stuff - 28-08-2023
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I have spent most of my life in the Wairarapa and there’s so much this small but mighty region has to offer. You have to try out the wineries but also visit a few of the lesser-known spots too.

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My parents owned the Greytown Hotel, still known as The Top Pub, so I’ve always been in the hospo industry and have come to know the best spots around for great service, food and views.

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The first place everyone needs to visit when they come to Wairarapa is The Runholder. This is a brand-new dining experience and home to my Lighthouse Gin distillery. Whether you’re after a casual wine flight and pizza or a la carte options for something more special, there’s something for everyone.

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My favourites are a Lighthouse gin and tonic with the cured fish and Clareville Bakery sourdough with whipped brown butter or a Lighthouse dirty martini with The Runholder charcuterie selection. The margherita pizza always hits the spot, too, along with the smoked lamb ribs if you’re wanting something more substantial.

You also can’t go past a good steak at The Top Pub, it will always be a favourite and brings back so many fond memories of my childhood.

I also love to take my family to have fish and chips by the sea at the Lake Ferry Hotel. For a scenic picnic spot, the Cape Palliser Lighthouse is such a cool place to go. There are a few steps but once you’re there it’s worth it and you can check out the fur seal colony too.

Finally, I’d recommend visiting Riversdale Beach in summer. It has a patrolled beach and a fantastic little shop where you can buy burgers and milkshakes.

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