It’s no secret that Martinborough is arguably one of the most beautiful places on Earth! Combining beauty, adventure, world-class wine vintages along with relaxed laid back countryside feels, it’s a spectacular spot for wanderers. Just when I think I have experienced it all I am continually making new discoveries in our favourite local town. I mean, who knew a little slice of Italy existed here?
Welcome to a sense of Tuscan living, right here in the Wairarapa, a cosy escape named Olivio~nor, a 3 bedroom Italian Villa style accommodation in Martinborough where we celebrated Matariki, our Māori New Year, as a whānau (family).
Olivio~nor holds a charm that cannot be forgotten, right from the arrival down the driveway to the rustic residence. That charm continues into its characterful rooms and suites, each individually designed and furnished for a luxurious and cosy night’s sleep in the country. While the outside of the villa feels worlds away, the inside styling is the perfect mix of modern and rustic elements with a touch of farmhouse flair.
Though luxe properties such as these are more thought of as destinations where babies are made not heard (wink, wink), junior guests are welcome at Olivio~nor, and settling the boys into this luxe property was blissfully easy. There is plenty of room for the kids to empty the energy tanks outside, and our wonderful guests provided toys and games which we thought was such a welcoming touch. It’s also a perfect setting for small intimate getaways of up to 6 guests and I honestly couldn’t think of a better spot here in the Wairarapa for a bridal party or newlyweds.
Slow mornings, pancakes, a relaxing cadence, and the perfect brew, that’s on doing breakfast right! And how we spent our mornings at the villa.
Matariki, also recognized as Māori New Year, is a time for celebration, growth, and renewal. It’s also a chance to come together and remember loved ones who have passed. During our celebration, we shared lots of delicious meals, told stories, sang, and played Māori music, reflected, and set intentions for the year coming. It was the first time my little family and I have really acknowledged Matariki proudly, as it should be, and we have vowed to continue to do so for the rest of our lives.
We enjoyed a Māori games afternoon which was super fun! We think this will be a great tradition for Matariki.
Needless to say, the courtyard was my favourite place. If you are ever to fall under the spell of the Wairarapa countryside it would be here. Olivio~nor is set on a quiet 10-acre block with an olive grove and magnificent views of the emerald Taurua backdrop where I deeply enjoyed watching my boys play while sipping tea and trying to stop myself from dozing off, so relaxing!
One of the most exciting things about staying in Martinborough is the dark skies where the darkness of the night sky is relatively free of interference from artificial light. For those readers who don’t know, Matariki is a star cluster and has many different names around the world. In English, it is called the Pleiades (its ancient Greek name). Our stars definitely aligned when at the same time we were set to celebrate Matariki at Olivio~nor an opportunity came up to have Becky, from Under The Stars come out for a private stargazing session, which we jumped at of course!
Under The Stars is an award-winning nomadic stargazing service in the Wairarapa. A mobile service that brings a stargazing tour right to your door or venue. When the boys found out we were having a star-party they could not contain their excitement, neither could mum and dad! Under The Stars bring everything you need for a night of stargazing, a huge portable telescope, binoculars, star charts, and even had the most adorable water bottles and blankets to keep us warm. Becky from Under The Stars team showed us stars and constellations and shared stories and science of the sky. We were also treated to her knowledge on Matariki and learned some very interesting facts. Lastly, we got to see some planets and some nearby deep-sky objects like nebulae, clusters, and galaxies. Becky was great with the kids who gravitated to her bubbly warm nature. The experience was something we won’t forget and will be recommending as one of the TOP activities to do here in the Wairarapa.
An extra special nod of appreciation must be given to our wonderful Olivio~nor hosts who were aware our stay at their villa was for Matariki and surprised us with a beautiful bottle of wine, popcorn, and toasting marshmallows for the fire pit.
We left Olivio~nor with hearts full (and tummies…we ate so much!) and intentions set for the new year. We’ve had such an incredible year and this trip was a great way to create space and acknowledge and appreciate this year’s blessings.
Ngā mihi and thanks to Olivio~nor and the Under the Stars team for making this unique experience possible.