Getting Oriented in Wellington and the Wairarapa

All main roads from Wellington and the adjacent Wairarapa head north, as these regions are at the North Island's southern point where the sometimes-stormy waters of Cook Strait divide the country's two major islands. Separated by mountain ranges that virtually tumble into the Strait, road travel between the two regions is via the Hutt Valley and the winding Rimutaka Hill road. Expect peaceful river scenery, a green and pleasant outlook, and spectacular views.

  • Wellington. People are never far from the water here; surfers can be happy on beaches that are virtually in the city, and families can take a meal overlooking the harbor. Wellington has also gained a reputation for fostering the arts, and it's easily explored on foot.
  • Wairarapa. In the eastern Wairarapa, windswept cliffs form a boundary against the vast Pacific; on the western side the rugged Rimutaka and Tararua ranges outline a massive division from the capital city and coastal region beyond. Spreading north from the cold deep waters of Palliser Bay, a rural panorama of fields and quiet vineyards stretches north as far as the eye can see.

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