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.
Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums and all kinds of shops. Dance, theatre and musical performances are a Wellington specialty. As New Zealand’s capital, this city is rich in political history.
The drive to Martinborough whisks you out of the city on a fast moving motorway. You’ll wind through the picturesque Hutt Valley before climbing over the Rimutaka Range and descending into the tranquility of the Wairarapa region. If you don’t want to drive, a scenic train trip runs from Wellington to Featherston. After Featherston, which has an interesting locomotive museum, you’ll travel east towards Martinborough.
In recent years, Martinborough has become the gourmet capital of the lower North Island. It is home to over 25 boutique vineyards, several fabulous restaurants and a number of upmarket bed and breakfast establishments. From the charming town square, you can walk to most of the local attractions.
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!
End in Martinborough
Explore the wine village of Martinborough, at the heart of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail.
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