North Island trips

Lower North Island City and Countryside

5 Days
880km
547mi

Route

Wellington Central to Wellington Central

Highlights

  • Martinborough wine
  • Art Deco Architecture
  • Volcanoes

Best time of year

All year

You’ll enjoy a cross-section of attractions with this lower North Island route. Depart Wellington and drive over the Rimutaka Ranges to Martinborough, where wine and food is the local focus. Napier offers more vineyard experiences, but you can also discover Art Deco architecture and a fabulous beach front. The drive to Taupo is scenic, and once there you’ll find geothermal parks, excellent trout fishing and lots of hot pools. The Desert Road takes you past three volcanoes on the way to Palmerston North. Look for bird sanctuaries and interesting museums as you drive down the Kapiti Coast to Wellington.

Day 1

Wellington - Martinborough

1 hr

10 mins

79 km

49 mi

Wellington

Martinborough is just over an hour’s drive from the Wellington International Airport and Inter-Island ferry connections. Head over the Rimutaka Range to Featherston, home to the world’s only Fell Engine. A must-do is C’est Cheese filled with cheese from around the country and a great range of deli treats.

There is also a daily train service between Wellington and the Wairarapa towns of Featherston, Greytown, Carterton and Masterton. A bus operates between the Featherston Railway Station and Martinborough, and between Woodside Station to Greytown (not on Sundays).

Martinborough is packed with colonial charm and features over 20 wineries, most within cycling and walking distance of the village square which is laid out in a Union Jack pattern. Some of New Zealand’s best pinot noir comes from the town’s predominately family-owned vineyards, so it’s not surprising it is a popular destination for those who enjoy premium wines, vineyard cafes, boutique stores, quality accommodation, olive groves and restaurants. Cycle-the-vines or take a guided wine tour like Tranzit Tours’ daily Martinborough Gourmet Wine Tour.  

Wellington Harbour

Start in Wellington Central

Whether you want to dabble in history or indulge at divine restaurants, Wellington is a capital city with a great deal of style. Enjoy!

Martinborough Square

End in Martinborough

Explore the wine village of Martinborough, at the heart of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail.

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