This week, I'd rather be in Greytown, for the annual mid-winter Christmas festival. This year, this pretty town with its Victorian main street is celebrating all the way through July - there will be Christmas lights, a huge tree and lots of events including treasure hunts and the Tweed Ride, with prizes for best-dressed.

The town is a proper foodie destination these days, plus there's all Wairarapa's wine to enjoy.

Where to eat

The latest addition to Greytown's foodie scene is Pinocchio, a modern fine-dining spot. Pinocchio previously resided in Martinborough. Step inside for a five- or seven-course "trust the chef" tasting menu, or the contemporary Christmas menu.

Visit Schoc for a chocolate tasting - housed in a historic cottage, there are more than 80 interesting flavours to try, such as cardamom and toasted sesame.

Cahoots is a good spot for breakfast or lunch, with a menu of cafe classics such as fritters, big breakfasts and BLTs, and a cabinet fit to burst.

Shop at Greytown's boutique stores, housed behind the Victorian shopfronts on the main street. Photo / Supplied
Shop at Greytown's boutique stores, housed behind the Victorian shopfronts on the main street. Photo / Supplied

Where to drink

The White Swan takes pride of place in the centre of Greytown. The chef is Marc Soper, formerly of Wairarapa luxury lodge Wharekauhau. The White Swan is a bit of a local institution - a former railway building (that stood in the Hutt Valley until 20 years ago), now restored as a hotel and restaurant, and also offering a pretty perfect veranda for a drink and people-watching on a nice day. The hotel offers 12 boutique and eclectic rooms above the bar and restaurant, and will be offering special Christmas menus through July.


Where to stay

Greytown Hotel is one of New Zealand's oldest surviving hotels built way back in 1860 (from which the attached restaurant takes its name – "1860". It's known by locals as the "top pub" (owing to where it sits in town), and over the festival, they'll be serving a free mulled wine to anyone who has been shopping.

Wyett House is a historic property, perfectly restored, with bed and breakfast in the main house, or a self-contained two-bedroom annex option. Guests can relax in the claw-foot bath, enjoy a gourmet breakfast or picnic hamper overlooking the garden, then explore Greytown's shops and cafes just a five-minute stroll away.