Wellington & Martinborough holiday highlights

Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is in a picturesque harbour setting with a panoramic hilly backdrop and a sophisticated café culture. It’s by the Miramar Peninsula at the south-west tip of the North Island and overlooks Cook Strait to the South Island, only 20 miles away.

The city was named after the first Duke of Wellington and is known as the 'Windy City', which can become quite apparent walking around here. Its population of around 400,000 people mostly live perched up in the hills around the downtown area; follow the dozens of little alleys and stairways winding up the hillside to their quaint gabled cottages and wooden colonial houses.

Head to Miramar, a suburb of Wellington, to discover the award-winning Weta Workshop, the visual effects company famous for creating the costumes and props for world-renowned films such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy and District 9. Meet expert guides and enjoy the four-hour ‘There and Back Again: The Full Experience’ tour which includes a ‘Thunderbirds Are Go Miniatures Stage Tour’.

Not far outside Wellington you’ll find Martinborough, a small town at the centre of the Wairarapa wine region and steeped in colonial charm. It has over 20 boutique wineries, most of which are within cycling and walking distance of the captivating village square, and the region is best known for its superb pinot noir. Book a guided tour of the town’s predominately family-owned vineyards including the daily Martinborough Gourmet Wine Tour. If you can tear yourself away from the wine then stop off at the Martinborough Colonial Museum within the town’s library; it’s full of interesting artefacts and old machinery, and dates back to 1894.

Wellington & Martinborough key facts

Time difference

GMT +12 hours (GMT +13 hours from the last week in March to the first week in October)

Capital

Wellington is New Zealand's capital city

Currency

New Zealand Dollar (NZ$) comprising of 100 cents.

Flying time to destination

Auckland: 23 hours

Language

English. Maori is also spoken but is not widely used.

Passport & visas

Visas are not required for UK passport holders.

Voltage & electricity

230 volt AC. Three round pin plugs are used, therefore an adapter is required.

Wellington & Martinborough good to know

Tipping

Tipping is a matter of choice. For excellent service, a discretionary tip of 10% may be given.

History

The history of New Zealand dates back to approx. 1250 AD. It was discovered by Polynesians, who settled and developed a distinct Maori culture centred on kinship links and land. New Zealand is often referred to as the 'youngest country', as it was one of the last major landmasses to be inhabited, and has a fascinating mix of Maori and European heritage.