New Zealand's capital Wellington is a quarter of the size of Auckland, yet has gained a reputation for being one of the country's most sparkling cities, despite its small-town feel.
It's home to a creative assortment of media and arty types and it's also where you'll find some of the country's best museums and galleries. Meanwhile, the small but charming town of Martinborough hosts a group of fine wineries and is within easy reach.
Wellington is tucked between lush green hills surrounding a magnificent harbour. The capital city is arguably the country's most fashionable centre, an energetic metropolitan hub, home to a wide selection of restaurants, microbreweries, cafes, art galleries and museums, including the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa - known commonly as Te Papa, which roughly translates as ‘Our Place'.
In recent years, thanks largely to the influence of film director Peter Jackson and his epic Lord of the Rings productions, the city has earned the nickname Wellywood in reference to the bustling film and media scene that has sprung up in the eastern suburbs.
Just outside Wellington is Martinborough, a small rural settlement with a population of fewer than 2,000 people.
It was founded in the late 19th century by John Martin who bought a large sheep station and subsequently subdivided it into sections to create a small town - the town centre and streets are laid out in the pattern of a Union Jack and street names such as Venice, Panama and Ohio reflect Martin's well- travelled life.
The area's microclimate, which has left it warmer than the surrounding regions, also makes it favourable for wineries and the area's 20 or so vineyards are notable in particular for producing an excellent pinot noir.
These fine wines, the old town feel and a selection of cosy bed and breakfasts make Martinborough a popular weekend spot for many Wellington residents.
Top itineraries in Wellington
Free car hire
This country-spanning tour takes in the best New Zealand's North and South islands. And, between stays in the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Mt Cook and Queenstown, you'll call into some of the locations used in filming of The Lord of the Rings and, more recently, The Hobbit.
Free car hire
Designed to showcase the best of New Zealand's North Island, this self-drive brings begins with Auckland and the Bay of Islands before dipping south past Coromandel's golden beaches and volcanic Rotorua. Then, via lakeside Taupo and the vineyards of Hawke's Bay, you'll end with a stay in Wellington.
Free car hire
A tailor-made self-drive through much of the most spectacular scenery of the North and South Islands. Discover Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Abel Tasman and the glaciers and mountains of Franz Josef and Queenstown as you journey through this stunning country.
Top places to stay in Wellington
With world-famous wineries brushing up against the hotel’s doorstep, this is a change to stay among a slice of viticulture history.
The Amora is right in the centre of Wellington, overlooking the harbour. All chic neutral guestrooms have stunning views over the harbour, perfect for viewing the spectacular sunrise on a clear day.
This city centre offering has just undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment, mixing a flawlessly contemporary style to five star service.
When to go to Wellington
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