Wellington and Wairarapa tourist information

  • Western Australia

Wairarapa visitor information

At the southern end of the North Island is the vibrant city of Wellington, the nation's capital. Well known for it's fine wine and creative cuisine, Wellington is a sophisticated boutique city that is only minutes from the rugged South Coast and the many bush walks that wind their way through the city.

Wellington is the site of New Zealand's extraordinary national museum, Te Papa, an exceptional experience for both local and internatinal travellers.

Not far away is the Wairarapa, a traditional rural area with exciting new wine makers and boutique accommodation.

To the west you'll find the Nature Coast, including Kapiti Island home to an internationally famed nature reserve protecting some of the world's rarest and most endangered birds.

Lower North Island – the heart of the nation.

Check out localVisitor Informationmust doActivitiesTaste theFood & WineScenicWalks & TreksGreatGolf Courses

As you travel around the Wellington region, look for the sign you can trust. i-SITE is New Zealand's official network of visitor centres.

Wellington i-SITE


  • Population
  • The Wellington region (including Kapiti, Porirua, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa) has the third highest population, containing 11.3% of New Zealand's population.
    • Wellington city 163,824
    • Wellington region 423,765.
  • Climate
  • Wellington has more than 2060 sunshine hours per year, & was recorded as the sunniest main centre in 1995, 1997, 2000 and 2002.


    • Mean daily maximum in summer (January) 20.3C 69F
    • Mean daily minimum in summer 13.4C 56F
    • Mean daily maximum in winter (July) 11.3C 52F
    • Mean daily minimum in winter 6.2C 43F
    • Annual rainfall mean 1249mm
    • Cultural mix
    • Wellington City has relatively more people aged 20-34 than other areas and relatively fewer elderly people and children.

      The population mix consists of:

      • 80.9% European
      • 12.5% Maori
      • 7.9% Pacific Island
      • 6.8% Asian
      • 0.9% other
    • Famous for
    • Lord of the Rings/King Kong

      Wellington was the main filming and production location for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Shot in New Zealand between October 1999 and December 2000, you can experience Middle Earth in all its diversity whilst in Wellington. King Kong was also shot in Wellington in 2004 - 2005

    • The people
    • Musicians:

      • Fat Freddy’s Drop
      • Black Seeds
      • Rhombus
      • Phoenix Foundation


      • Maurice Bennett
      • Peter Jackson (movies)
      • Richard Taylor
      • Cliff Whiting (Maori sculptor and artist)


      • Katherine Mansfield
      • Robin Hyde
      • James K Baxter
      • Bill Manhire
      • Sam Hunt


      • Al Brown
      • Steve Logan
      • Rex Morgan
      • Ruth Pretty

    GoDo is an online booking service for activities. We work with hundreds of activity suppliers across New Zealand so that you can book the perfect activity online instantly – be it tandem sky diving, hot air ballooning or V8 racing – on the particular day that you want to go. We’re trying to make the process of planning your weekends, holidays and days off as painless as possible with thousands of activities to choose from.

    GoDo activities Wellington

    Dining out is a way of life for Wellingtonians. Home to hundreds of gastronomic delights and home to Cuisine Magazine’s Supreme Restaurant of the Year four out of five years, you’ll find quirky cafes, innovative menus showcasing the best in local produce and award-winning establishments, all within walking distance of your hotel. It’s fair to say we like our food in Wellington and we like it good.

    If you’re a passionate foodie or just love to eat, take a fun food tour and experience the best of delicious cuisines and gourmet foods in Wellington. Get behind the scenes on a walking food tour, visit local markets or experience a boutique beer tour with a local beer expert.

    You can meet Wellington’s best artisan producers and sample their products at the City Market, on Sundays 8.30am till 12.30pm, at Chaffers Dock on the waterfront. Coffee is big business in this little city, and Wellington is New Zealand’s coffee headquarters. Try Mojo, Havana, Caffe L’affare and Fuel for a superb local brew. Just a short drive and a jump over the hill from the capital you’ll find the Wairarapa wine region, well-known for its pinot noir.

    Martinborough made its name as a one of the world’s premium pinot noir and sauvignon blanc regions, though other top wines including chardonnay, riesling pinot gris, merlot and cabernet sauvignon are also produced here. The long hot summers, dry autumn and gravelly soil from an ancient riverbed all add up to perfect conditions for growing cool climate grapes.

    First plantings of vines were made around Martinborough in the 1970s, spreading north to Masterton and Gladstone in the 1980s. There are now more than 50 vineyards, all within a short drive of Wairarapa’s main towns.

    Where there’s great wine there’s great food, and the Wairarapa’s developed a reputation for first class cafés and restaurants serving delicious local produce. Some vineyards also have cafés, each with menus built around their wine list. Do phone ahead, though, as some are only open over summer.

    You’ll also be at the heart of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, a sign-posted 380km (240 mile) self-drive touring route that leads you off the beaten track. Travel through five of New Zealand’s most interesting and scenic regions, including three major wine growing areas that account for more than 70% of the New Zealand’s total annual wine production.   As the name suggests, this trail promises fantastic wine and food. It also serves up all kinds of cultural and adventure experiences.

    As you travel around the Wellington and Wairarapa region there will be lots of opportunities to stretch your legs and take in the stunning landscape:

    Palliser Vineyard Walk, Martinborough – 50 min round trip – an easy walk. You can park anywhere near the Town Swimming Pool/Camp ground complex and follow the signs. You’ll be directed around the perimeter of the vineyard towards the river (where there are steep cliffs).

    Wellington Botanical Gardens -  over 26 hectares of unsurpassed views, unique landscape, exotic forests, native bush, colourful floral displays and gorgeous specialist gardens. Visit the Duck Pond, Begonia House, award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden, Treehouse Visitor Information Centre, Sundial of Human Involvement, Children’s Play Area and the historic Bolton Street Memorial Park, where many of the city's pioneers are buried.

    Step back in time to an ancient world. Enter the tranquil Fernery, tiptoe through the treetops on the Canopy Walkway, hike the trails to find the 800-year-old rimu. Otari-Wilton’s Bush is the only botanic garden in New Zealand solely dedicated to native plants, as well as being the country's foremost native plant collection. In this unique plant sanctuary there are 5 hectares of plant collections and 90 hectares of mature and regenerating native bush.

    In the Wairarapa you have the luxury of playing  golf in the heart of wine country. South-east of the Martinborough Town Centre, lies the Martinborough Golf Course. Only a little over an hour north of Wellington or an hour and a half southfrom Palmerston North, this course and New Zealand's Wairarapa region with itsworld acclaimed vineyards, Lord of The Rings scenery, boutique villages and stylish accommodation offer the best excuse to stay a while and play some golf. It consists of 18 holes laid out in a beautiful setting, on gently undulating to flat land. Established 100 years ago the Martinborough Golf Club has an established course with mature trees, well kept greens and fairways, and is a full 18 hole, par 72 course, 5546 metres in length. The clubrooms feature bar facilities, catering and changing rooms.

    Then there is the Carterton Golf Course established in 1911, that offers 18 challenging holes set against the foothills of the stunning Tararua Ranges. This 5612 metre Par 71 course presents the amateur and professional with a demanding test of golf in tranquil and picturesque surroundings.

    You also have a great range of courses in the Wellington region. Regarded by many as one of the greatest links course in the southern hemisphere, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club is a world renowned layout on the undulating dune land of the Kapiti Coast. Located just 35 minute's drive from New Zealand's Capital City, Wellington, the course has hosted the New Zealand Open 12 times. A record unsurpassed by any other course. The 2001 edition of Golf World rated Paraparaumu Beach 95th in the world. Many of the world's top professionals have rated it more of a challenge than that, particularly when the championship tees are at their full length and pin placements have been plotted by someone with a devious sense of cunning.

    There also Shandon Golf Club, a challenging par 70, 18 hole golf course. Known as the Hidden Treasure of Wellington Golf, it is a beautiful course which is being re-designed by Graham Marsh. The 5630m course is not too long, but it is challenging by design. The Club has complete practice facilities with practice chipping and putting greens, and practice fairways. The course will test the skill of any golfer without leaving out the beginner.

    Manor Park Golf Course in Lower Hutt just out of Wellington was established 1913. Long narrow fairways bordering Hutt River, greenside bunkers, basically flat, reasonably large greens.