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Wine lovers: Wellington is the perfect spot for you. The compact little city is tucked between two premium wine regions, and is known as NZ's culinary capital.
Wellington has its very own wine country, just an hour's drive or a picturesque train trip from the bustling central city. The Wairarapa is a charming rural wine area that's renowned for its world-class Pinot Noir and warm hospitality.
Visit the charming Martinborough Wine Village and explore over 20 boutique vineyards that are so close together you can bike the flat country roads or stroll between them - all you need is a map from the town's visitor information centre. The town also has boutique shopping, excellent cafes and restaurants that work their magic with local produce.
To help you get started, check out this pretty cool way to spend a day winery hopping in Martinborough.
Poppies Martinborough is the ultimate vineyard to wine, dine and soak up the scenery. This Wairarapa winery is famous for its incredible (and very Instagrammable) platters of local meat, cheese, pickles and bread - best enjoyed with a crisp glass of the winery's renowned rosé.
Owned by Poppy and Shayne Hammond, the unpretentious and welcoming winery is the perfect place to taste your way through a range of varieties and find a new favourite vino. If you're lucky, Poppy herself will be in the tasting room to share her infectious passion for wine.
Wine lovers are well catered for in Wellington - there are plenty of spots to fill your glass with local or more exotic drops.
Serious wine connoisseurs should swing by Noble Rot, which boasts a 400-plus wine list, spanning all the best varieties and regions. Whether you're an expert or a novice, the expert staff are happy to recommend wines and delicious food matches. Otherwise, enjoy a glass of the region’s finest in Ancestral’s leafy courtyard or head for the waterfront and savour a sav in the sun at Foxglove or on a beanbag at St Johns.
Every August, the Wellington region is taken over by food, wine, beer and celebration at Visa Wellington On a Plate. This epic food festival features hundreds of events - from free pop-ups to 10-course wine-matched feasts - plus special set menus, a cocktail competition and a battle of the burgers.
Wine lovers are well catered for during the festival, including with the Dine Wellington offering, where NZ wines are matched to delicious set menus featuring local produce. There are also a myriad of special wine events every year, including winemaker's dinners and unique cellar experiences.
All your Wairarapa wining and dining dreams will come true at Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival, held annually in March to celebrate the beginning of the grape harvest season. Winemakers and chefs prepare food with excellent wine matches in a picturesque riverside setting
Wairarapa is also home to New Zealand’s premier wine, food and music festival, Toast Martinborough, held each November. Set within several stunning Martinborough wineries, this one-day festival showcases the world-class wine from the region, paired with gourmet cuisine by top Wairarapa and Wellington producers, against a backdrop of live music and entertainment.
Check out more must do’s, browse and book accommodation, search Wellington’s sights and activities, see what events are coming up, have a nosy at all the incredible bars and restaurants, and start planning your trip with our handy experience planner.
If you’re heading over from across the ditch, Wellington’s just a three hour flight away from the Eastern Seaboard (sometimes even less!). We’ve compiled a Wellington Essentials guide just for you with suggested itineraries, weather details, maps and more.