Shopper's paradise either side of Cook Strait

Whether you’re riding a ferry north or south across Cook Strait, you’re on your way to find some fine boutique shopping.

Before there were strip malls there were specialty shops, where friendly shopkeepers took pride in their hand-selected products and personalised service. Thankfully, there are still places in New Zealand where bargain hunters and unashamed clothes horses can experience this old-style retail experience.

Martinborough, Wairarapa

Martinborough’s setting among a world-famous wine district – and its close proximity to Wellington – make it a favourite destination for city folk wanting a weekend getaway. And city folk like to shop!

One of the first boutiques to open in the town was Thrive - the base of iconic underwear label ‘Thunderpants’ as well as an outlet for great Kiwi designers like Kate Sylvester, Standard Issue, Sonny Knitwear & Hema Oils. They also stock popular international labels Metalicus and Birkenstock.

At the Martinborough Art Department you can browse a diverse range of boutique goodies, including locally grown olive oils, designer kids’ clothes, home ware and original art.

A short walk from the beautiful town centre will take you to the fascinating studio of The Crystal Chain Gang. These crystal artists create ornaments, chandeliers, candle sticks and art works that feature in collections around the world. And if you’re still going strong, Greytown is just 10 minutes down the road.

Akaroa

On the other side of Cook Strait and a little further south is the picturesque seaside town Akaroa – another small town that caters to discerning shopaholics.
Akaroa is a gem-lovers paradise, with a number of stores offering jade and crystal jewellery, ornaments and artworks. Check out Studio Sixty Seven and the Blue Pearl Gallery.

Set aside some time for your visit to Pot-Pourri. It’s the home of Akaroa Fine Fudge and they offer free tastings of their more than 40 flavours.

At Barry’s Bay Cheese you can watch fine cheese being created, sample different cheese types and select the perfect wine to enjoy with your favourite cheese.

Think you’ve found the ultimate boutique town during your travels around New Zealand? Tell us about it on facebook!

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