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Tucked between premium wine regions and with a reputation as the country’s culinary capital, Wellington is the perfect base for viticultural enthusiasts.
Serious wine connoisseurs should swing by Noble Rot, which boasts a 400-plus wine list, spanning all the best varieties and regions. For a local flavour, request a Martinborough pinot noir or Marlborough sauvignon blanc, accompanied by fresh oysters or clams from the raw bar. Otherwise, enjoy a glass of the region’s finest wine in Ancestral’s stylish courtyard or Matterhorn’s garden bar. In summer head for the waterfront and savour a sav in the sun at Foxglove or on a beanbag at St Johns.
For a fine wining and dining experience, treat yourself to a decadent degustation menu with wine matches at the award-winning Hippopotamus Restaurant or Logan Brown, or for a more relaxed degustation experience, try Jano Bistro.
Just an hour’s drive or train ride from Wellington city you’ll find the sweeping rural landscape of Wairarapa. This wine growing region forms part of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, and is renowned for its plummy pinot noir and warm hospitality.
Visit the charming Martinborough Wine Village at the heart of this region and explore some of the 20 boutique vineyards that all lie within cycling distance of the town square. Hire a bike, pick up a map from the i-SITE Visitor Centre and spend an afternoon cycling the flat country roads, calling into vineyards and olive groves to sample the wares. Local favourites include Ata Rangi, Te Kairanga Estate and Palliser Estate.
Every August, the Wellington region goes especially crazy for all things culinary during the Visa Wellington On a Plate festival. During the festival you’ll find hundreds of restaurants offering special Dine Wellington menus matched with local Wairarapa wines, along with special wine events including winemaker's dinners and unique cellar experiences.
Poppies Martinborough - a boutique tasting and celebration venue run by husband and wife team, Shayne and Poppy Hammond – is the ultimate vineyard to wine, dine and soak up the scenery.
For Poppy and Shayne, wine is a way of life to share: educated yet unpretentious, romantic and welcoming. This philosophy comes through in the wine they produce and in their hospitality. Poppy can often be found in the tasting room, sharing her passion for wine and knowledge with every customer.
Experience the best of Wairarapa’s wine and food at the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival held annually in March. This boutique festival celebrates the beginning of the grape harvest season, where winemakers and chefs prepare food and 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.