Part One of our five-part winter guide

Staycay vs awaycay

Many of us take a holiday in the sun during winter. There are many benefits; a hit of vitamin D, swimming, sand, cocktails… the works. We don’t want to knock a relaxing stint in the sun, but for those who enjoy a more active holiday, there are a few options on offer from some of our very own. Our fellow Wairarapians at Green Jersey Cycles operate a 15-day tour of France as well as self-guided tours of Austria and Italy during the European summer.

If biking around Europe is not your thing, check out the food tour Rachel Priestley from Prodigal Daughter Restaurant and Deli runs in Italy. Beautiful late summer Tuscan food and wine for 10 days – yes, please!

For those not fond of long-distance travelling, a staycation in Wairarapa is just as good a treat. Looking for the perfect spot to hunker down for a chilly weekend? Palliser Ridge’s Kaikoura lookout is a cosy one-bedroom retreat. Enjoy a hot cuppa and good book, cosied up by the log burner, or try the Kiwi Tub outside.

For those who want the option of strolling to a vineyard, while still being near restaurants or shopping, Aylstone in Martinborough is the perfect place to escape. It features individually styled and beautifully appointed guest rooms with super king beds, along with wonderful views of the neighbouring vineyards and Martinborough hills.

Check out Westwood Country House; an idyllic spot set in the heart of historic Greytown or The Saddlery with its historical charm; built as the local saddle supplier in 1868, it’s one of Greytown’s oldest buildings and offers luxury accommodation just moments from what Greytown has to offer. Try Shy Cottage and Piquillo – two lovingly restored 1800s cottages on Greytown’s Main Street. Also available for booking (even if you’re not staying overnight) is the onsite garden spa bath. Nothing like soaking in bubbling water, with a glass of wine, while looking up at the night sky!

Also in Greytown is The White Swan Hotel, which has a separate wine bar – Village Wine Store. Along with great food and wine, The White Swan has glamorously themed suites and well-appointed studios, overlooking a park where kids can play.

Book in at the Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park in Masterton with modern rooms, indoor swimming pool and gym, games room, delicious meals at The Grill restaurant and Cafe Solway and even a confidence course on the grounds.

And, while on your staycay, why not have fun and be a tourist in your region? Go sightseeing, go to the coast or check out landmarks you may not have appreciated recently. Aratoi always has a new exhibition, or go next door to ConArt to view and buy the art of local artists. Head around the corner to Park Street and check out Masterton and Me – a photographic documentary about the people of Masterton. Cobblestones in Greytown, The Wool Shed in Masterton, and Featherston’s Fell Locomotive Museum are also among touristy favourites.

So whether it’s a staycay or awaycay there’s lots of great options out there for a break this winter!