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Last updated 08 August 2013
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Geographically Wellington Region is a narrow, mostly coastal stretch on the southern tip of the North Island with only 2 main roads in. The coastal road comes down through the Kapitii Coast (Otaki, Waikanae and Paraparaumu) past Paikakariki and onto the beautiful Centennial highway which winds between dramatic cliffs and a rocky shoreline. After passing through Mana and Plimmerton join the motorway and pass by dormitory suburbs from Poirura to Johnsonville and finally drop down the steep Ngauranga Gorge to see the beautiful Wellington Harbour open before you.
The other way to arrive into Wellington is from the East side of the North Island (Hawke’s Bay) drive via Eketahuna and Masterton through the Wairapapa. There are numerous small villages on the main road some more picturesque than others but a worthwhile side trip is to Martinborough, a centre for wine growing. From the Wairarapa you must drive over the Rimutaka Hill Road which is very steep and winding and can be slowed by traffic and is closed at least a couple of times during the winter by snowfall. Once over the Rimutakas you travel to Wellington on motorway via the Hutt Valley (First Upper Hutt and then Lower Hutt townships are off to the side and the motorway follows the river)and down into Wellington city. Shopping malls are found at Porirua (North City) and Lower Hutt (Queensgate). Parking is available but once inside you could be in any mall in Australasia with generic shops, cafes and cinemas.
The Central City is the site of the Interisland Ferry Service and Bluebridge Ferries to Picton, in the South Island. It is possible to catch a train to Central Wellington from Auckland or local commuter trains from the Hutt Valley, Johnsonville and the Kapiti Coast. Wellington also has a bustling International Airport with direct flights to the rest of New Zealand and Australia
The Hutt Valley and the Kapiti Coast are quite distinctive and separate regions, but the eastern shore of the harbour is similar to the opposite shore with pretty bays and housing nestling in the steep hills. A Ferry runs from Queens wharf to Days Bay
Wellington proper (Wellington, NZ) is the area that most visitors see, which includes the CBD, but also interesting inner city suburbs like Island Bay, Mt Victoria, Oriental Bay, Seatoun and Miramar.
Wellington Region accommodation.
Read the independent reviews for Wellington Region accommodation
Wellington CBD, compact and vibran
Cultural aspects of Wellington, Museums, Art Galleries, Theatres.
Martinborough Wine Region
The windy aspects of the weather. The wind can be quite cold and brutal, if it’s a day like this head for a museum or cafe.
Anywhere in the Wellington CBD is great for a city break, ideal locations are between Parliament and Mt Victoria. The further from the waterfront, the longer the walk into the city proper. Public transport is great too, so it’s quite reasonable to stay anywhere and commute around.
You can happily see the main aspects of Wellington in a weekend. Martinborough is an easy day trip, quite nice as an overnight and the Kapiti Coast is more of a local holiday destination, most visitors will pass through.
There are regular commuter trains running from Upper and Lower Hutt to Wellington Central. Buses run through the CBD and out to Miramar (by the airport), south through the suburbs to Island Bay or up through the hills to the suburbs. There is a whole section of Wellington suburbs behind the hills in the Wilton Valley,which you can reach by bus or train.
Last updated 08 August 2013
Greater Wellington public transport network and timetable
Tourism site for the Wairarapa
Official tourism site for Wellington City
Official tourism for Kapiti Coast and surrounding regions
Nothing beats raw local information from people who live it everyday. Here’s our pick of great websites and blogs that focus on Wellington Region. Are we missing one? add it here
Tips and advice for Wellington Airport Blog on just FAQ's about Wellington Airport
Taking the ferry to the South Island Loads of practical info and q & a's on catching a ferry from Wellington to Picton
Indie Travel podcast 5 practical tips for your first time in Wellington
A rustic gem on a rugged coast A blog about experiences in Wainuiomata
Craft Beer Capital A site including maps to all the bars and locations in Wellington selling crafts beers in Wellington
Wellywood movie tour A review (as a local tourist ) on the "Lord of the Rings' Tour