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16 Years as Travel and Leisure Magazine Top Travel Expert for New Zealand and Australia

Travel and Leisure says: "Donna Thomas has explored many corners of North and South Islands in search of hidden gems. She can help birdwatchers see the endangered yellow-eyed penguin or send avid trekkers on guided hikes to secret waterfalls in Paparoa National Park."


Wellington

The Wellington region of New Zealand occupies the southern end of the North Island and includes and encompasses the cities of Wellington, Lower Hutt, Porirua, and Upper Hutt. The region also includes the coastal settlements and rural hinterland of the Kapiti Coast District, which includes the southern fringe of the area commonly spoken of as "the Manawatu". There are three largely rural districts east of the Rimutaka Range, containing most of the area commonly spoken of as "the Wairarapa", with the chief town being Masterton.

Lower Hutt

Lower Hutt is a city in the lower North Island of New Zealand. It is also known as Hutt City which is the name adopted by the Hutt City Council. The alternative name is confusing, as there are two cities in the Hutt Valley, Lower Hutt and its neighbour Upper Hutt. Upper Hutt City Council objects to the name of Hutt City adopted by the Hutt City Council. Lower Hutt forms part of the Wellington Region. It is the ninth-largest city in New Zealand in population terms, and covers an area of 380 km2. The city is centred on the lower (southern) valley of the Hutt River, to the northeast of Wellington City. The valley widens as the river nears its mouth, meaning that the central urban area of the city is triangular, with its widest point being at the shoreline. In the upper reaches of the city, the twin ranges of the Western and Eastern Hutt Hilsl become closer, culminating in the narrowing known as Taita Gorge at the northern end of Lower Hutt. This gorge separates the city from its neighbour, Upper Hutt. The area of the Lower Hutt City also includes the string of small settlements which extend down the eastern coast of Port Nicholson harbour. These include the two large townships of Wainuiomata and Eastbourne. The city also includes a large area of sparsely populated land to the east of the harbour, extending to Pencarrow Head and into the Rimutaka Ranges. Lower Hutt also encompasses islands in the northern half of Port Nicholson Harbour, the largest of which was known as Somes Island until recently renamed Matiu/Somes Island. The Hutt River is one of the most significant features of the City, which occupies the lower regions of the river and its flood plain. Modern occupation during the 20th century has led to the river being contained by stopbanks, but there is the continuing threat of flooding as the result of heavy rainfall. This threat was realised in the flood of 1985, but the river has been contained since then, even though smaller streams and storm water drains have caused occasional problems in the face of continued well above average rainfall. Much of the land adjacent to the river is protected as reserve and provides a much appreciated recreational feature with walking tracks and grassed areas over the approximately ten kilometres of river bank encompassed by the City. Suburbs and satellites of LOwer Hutt are: Pomare; Stokes Valley; Taita; Wingate; Kelson; Naenae; Avalon; Belmont; Boulcott; Epuni; Fairfield; Harbourview; Waterloo; Normandale; Alicetown; Maungaraki; Woburn; Waiwhetu; Ava; Korokoro; Gracefield; Moera; Petone; Seaview; Lowry Bay; Wainuiomata; Day's Bay; Homedale; Rona Bay; Eastbourne; and Muritai.

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Accommodations

Wharekauhau Lodge - Wairarapa

Wharekauhau Lodge is recognised as one of the world’s exclusive retreats based on a 5000 acre working sheep station overlooking the spectacular Palliser Bay in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand. The Lodge is the heart of Wharekauhau. Modelled on an Edwardian country mansion, the Lodge was designed by Queenstown Architect Fred van Brandenburg, and it is here that guests dine and mingle.

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