Wellington tours and excursions
East by West offers weekend-only Harbour Explorer Tours, calling in at Petone, Seatoun, Days Bay and Matiu Somes Island. The latter is steeped in local history, having been settled by the Maoris, and is full of rich birdlife. On the trip out, you'll have great views of Wellington. It's also not uncommon to see dolphins and other sea life in the harbour.Tel: +64 4 499 1282.
Hammonds Wellington Tours has a 'City and Coastline' tour departing twice daily. Wellington is the centre of Lord of the Rings' Middle Earth; Wellington Rover Tours runs excursions for Hobbit fans.Tel: +64 4 472 086 ; +64 4 471 0044.
In the Wairarapa region, 79km (49 miles) east of Wellington (an hour's drive from the capital), Martinborough is a unique wine village home to over 30 boutique vineyards, all within walking distance of the charming town square. The village occupies the former site of one of the country's first sheep stations and was established in 1881 by an Irish immigrant. The streets are laid out in the shape of the Union Jack and are named after places he visited during his world sojourns.Tel: +64 6 306 5010.
A 45-minute drive north of Wellington, Kapiti Island is New Zealand's premier nature and marine reserve protecting some of the world's most endangered bird species and marine life. A permit is required to access the island, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) issues only 50 visitor permits per day. Call the DOC at least the day before departure to obtain one (tel +64 4 472 7356). Capital Personalized Tours can arrange half or full day tours of the island, and Kapiti Island Nature Tours arranges tours and accommodation.Tel: +64 21 126 7525.