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It might be New Zealand’s smallest wine region, but the vineyards just 1 hour from Wellington are big in character. Offering up world class Pinot Noir against picturesque wine country, the trip out to Martinborough is almost as magical as being there, taking you through mountainous roadways and idyllic rural settings.
Martinborough has everything you'd expect from a local wine region. Over 20 local wineries, all easy to find and most offering something unique in their cellar. There's also a clutch of cafes and restaurants along the main street.
Importantly, most of the wineries are close enough for a bike ride. When the weather's amenable, consider hiring one to explore the region in more detail.
The broader Wairarapa region is also developing a reputation as a foodie hub. Many of Wellington’s top restaurants source their wares from farms and dairies in the region. Lovers of farm to table will find much to sink their teeth into, as well as panoramic vistas and dramatic landscapes.
3. Cape Palliser
Another 60 minutes again from Martinborough, Cape Palliser is believed to be one of the first Maori settlements and home to the largest colony of fur seals on the North Island. There's also a lighthouse standing starkly against the ocean backdrop, perfect for a moody photograph or two.
4. Kapiti Island
Kapiti Island lets visitors escape into a forested wonderland replete with bird life, bounteous natural wonders and a sense of stepping back in history.
Only an hour drive and 20-minute ferry ride from Wellington, visitors to Kapiti Island are capped, meaning you won't be running into too many other tourists during your visit.
You won't find a better place to experience New Zealand's unique ecosystem. The entire island is a dedicated nature reserve aimed at preserving native flora and fauna that is endangered. It's probably the best place to spot a Taka, Weka or Little Spotted Kiwi along the walking trails or in the native grasses.
It's easy to see why this secluded spot is popular with lovers of nature and adventurous.
The northern tip of the south island offers a unique and decidedly different experience. The cruise over to Picton is 3 hours each way, but it's well worth it for the day trip (or even an overnight stay). On the approach to Picton you'll glide past the phenomenal Marlborough Sound, and stepping off in the port town will trigger a taste for adventure.
Picton is seen as the gateway to the Marlborough wine region, but there are a few things you can do while in this quaint, cosy town. A stroll along the foreshore offers up cafes and brunch spots, and Marlborough Sound will have you reaching for the camera for yet another breathtaking New Zealand vista. There’s also the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum for lovers of history and maritime achievements.
6. Marlborough wine region
Just 30-minutes from Picton is the Marlborough wine region, perhaps New Zealand most well known and well regarded wine regions. While fully exploring the rich cachet of vineyards and restaurants would require weeks, for a single day trip be content to visit 2 or 3 vineyards on your own or join a tour that operates in conjunction with the ferry.
Take the East by West Ferry from Queens Wharf to Matiu, a heritage site an scientific reserve with beautiful day hikes and exhilarating scenery. Discover both history and nature in harmony as you escape from the hustle and bustle in this unique and relaxing environment.
8. Rimutaka Forest Park
Less than an hour's drive from Wellington you'll find Catchpool Valley, the main entrance to Rimutaka Forest Park. There over 22,000 hectares of parkland here, but during a day trip, one of the easy walking trails will be ample reward. Don't forget to pack your own supplies and bring them out with you.
Next time you’re in Wellington, be sure to discover all that this amazing city has to offer. ExecuJet can provide you with easy and stylish transport to Wellington today in one of our private charter jets. Contact us now to find out how we can help you visit these beautiful towns.