Hotels in Lower Hutt, New Zealand
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Make Lower Hutt your hub in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital
Situated in the north-eastern outskirts of New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington, riverside Lower Hutt boasts hotels and attractions like fascinating museums and bustling shopping hotspots. This suburban city on the northern shores of Wellington Harbour is also a launchpad for outdoor pursuits such as walking, cycling and swimming in the scenic surrounding landscape. Popular excursions from Lower Hutt include visits to regional wineries and lonely islands in Wellington Harbour. Furthermore, Lower Hutt is within 20 minutes’ drive of downtown Wellington with its numerous attractions.
Lower Hutt highlights
Not only does Lower Hutt offer an alternative base for stays in the Wellington area, but also it boasts interesting attractions that visitors can discover without travelling too far from their hotels. The city’s strategic location just inland from the natural shelter of Wellington Harbour at the southern tip of the North Island has always attracted settlers, both Maori and European. Several Lower Hutt museums like the Petone Settlers Museum on the seafront celebrate this absorbing history. It invites visitors to uncover the stories of New Zealand’s first organised European settlement, which was founded in the suburb in 1840. Using interesting exhibits and artefacts, the museum recalls how European immigrants negotiated their settlement with local Maori. For further insight into Maori traditions, visitors can experience the Maori Treasures complex in Guthrie Street. This family-run attraction delves deeper into Maori culture through exhibits, artwork and live demonstrations of weaving and carving. Housing modern Kiwi art, there’s the Dowse Art Museum in downtown. It also contains craft and design pieces plus jewellery produced by local artists.
When it comes to shopping, dining or relaxing, Lower Hutt has something for everyone. For shopaholics, there’s the sprawling Queensgate Shopping Centre in downtown, featuring 150 outlets and a cinema. Throughout the city centre and in suburbs like Petone, visitors can also sample Lower Hutt’s bustling café culture and craft beer scene in trendy dining spots. Near your hotel, you can also discover green spaces to relax in like Avalon Park and McEwan Park overlooking the mouth of the Hutt River.
Out and about around Lower Hutt
Lower Hutt’s urban core is deceptively compact since the city boundaries span a vast area filled with possibilities for fun excursions. For spectacular views across Wellington Harbour, drivers and cyclists can follow the narrow coastal road through quaint bays and seaside villages to charming Eastbourne. En route you can stop at the tiny, picturesque resort of Days Bay, which is enclosed on three sides by steep hills. Another popular outing is the ferry ride to Matiu. Also known as Somes Island, this teardrop of land in Wellington Harbour is easily reached from most Lower Hutt hotels as ferries depart from Petone. The island’s previous uses include a quarantine station and internment camp during both world wars, but now it’s a haven for rare species, including little blue penguins.
In Lower Hutt’s northern suburbs, movie buffs might recognise locations used during the filming of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Although Kiwi director Sir Peter Jackson’s blockbuster sets have long been dismantled, Dry Creek Quarry was once transformed into a medieval-style fortress for the Minas Tirith and Helm’s Deep scenes. Following the Hutt River upstream into neighbouring Upper Hutt, there are even more locations used to represent J.R.R Tolkein’s Middle Earth on film. The river at Totara Park was used to represent the Rohan River, while parts of the riverside Harcourt Park appeared on screen as Isengard. Meanwhile, wine-lovers will adore the vineyards of tranquil Martinborough, which is situated in the neighbouring Wairarapa region. Found about one hour’s drive east, Martinborough possesses a string of notable wineries, many of which feature fine dining restaurants.
With so much wonderful scenery on the doorstep, getting active in the great outdoors around Lower Hutt is simple. Golfers can play various local courses, while fans of water sports can go windsurfing or kite-surfing on Wellington Harbour. For a day by the sea, there are popular swimming beaches in and around Eastbourne. Meanwhile, cycling enthusiasts can immerse themselves in challenging mountain-biking trails at Waiu Park in Wainuiomata. There’s also the Rimutaka Cycle Trail, which starts in Lower Hutt and lasts two or three days. It passes through beautiful and unspoilt forest scenery in the hilly Rimutaka Ranges before ending on a wild coastline relentlessly battered by the Pacific Ocean. For walkers, there are numerous trails to try in surrounding beauty spots like Pencarrow Head on the coast or the hilly East Harbour Regional Park. The Rimutaka Forest Park is also criss-crossed by walking trails and is home to native North Island brown kiwi birds.
Your gateway to Wellington
The delights of New Zealand’s happening and famously windy capital city are just a short drive or rail journey away from Lower Hutt with its relatively inexpensive hotels. Indeed, many travellers like to take advantage of the two cities’ proximity when planning a trip because Wellington is a major transport hub offering an international airport and ferries to the South Island. In a few minutes from your Lower Hutt hotel, it’s possible to reach downtown Wellington for leading attractions like the Wellington Cable Car and Wellington Zoo with its pandas, chimps and meerkats. Showcasing important Maori artefacts, the national museum and art gallery dubbed the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is another magnet for visitors to Wellington.
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