The colourful exterior of Miss Fortune's.

Lying just north-east of the creative hotspot that is Pōneke Wellington, the Hutt Valley tends to keep a low profile.

Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll find that this is one of the most underrated regions in the lower North Island.

Between the two of them, the cities that make up the region, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt, provide plenty of things to do, see, eat, and explore. Don’t ever conflate the two though - the cities enjoy an amicable, yet very real rivalry, and only by spending time in both can you appreciate the nuanced character of each.

The Hutt Valley has something for everyone, no matter where your interests lie, from some of the country’s top arts centres; an impressive range of restaurants, cafes and other eateries; and heaps of entertainment options for the whole family. There’s also plenty of nature to explore, as the Hutt is home to some of the North Island’s biggest and best natural playgrounds. With easy access to and from Wellington, including public transport options, getting to and exploring the various corners of the Hutt Valley is a breeze.

Welcome to the valley.

10 Trails in the Hutt Valley and Where to Treat Yourself After

People biking on a trail in native bush.
Nestled within the lush, rolling landscapes that make up the lower North Island, the Hutt Valley offers an expansive network of interesting walks appealing to both seasoned hikers and casual strollers alike. Whether you’re after a leisurely meander or a more challenging multi-hour ‘slog’, the Hutt Valley trails offer a variety of native bush landscapes and panoramic vistas, meaning there really is something for everyone. Fortunately, the adventure doesn’t have to end with the last step of the walk; the Hutt Valley also offers a yummy selection of culinary spots to reward the tired explorer. Our guide below unveils ten of the best walks in the Hutt Valley and our suggestion of the perfect places to treat yourself afterwards.

La Bella Italia

A delicious counter at La Bella Italia in Petone.
Place Hutt Valley
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Down an unassuming side street in industrial Petone, you’ll find La Bella Italia, Lower Hutt’s very own Little Italy.

Bellbird Eatery

Scrambled egg and mushrooms on toast.
Place Hutt Valley
Cafes key icon.

Museum and art gallery cafes have really upped their game in recent years, evolving from simple refreshment pit stops to become attractions in their own right.

Take Me Back Traders

Eclectic mix of ceramics and vintage prints on walls and shelves of vintage secondhand shop
Place Hutt Valley Upper Hutt

Take a trip down memory lane at Take Me Back Traders, a family-run vintage and retro store that specialises in sourcing one-off treasures – from unique collectables to furniture and homeware.

Trade School Kitchen

Barista pouring milk into freshly made coffee at cafe
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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Described as the ‘living room of the Naenae community’, Trade School Kitchen is a not-for-profit community based cafe doing what it can to give back to its people.

Twenty Eight

Someone holding a plate of pancakes with strawberries at cafe
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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Named for their address on Cornwall Street, Twenty Eight is a modern, well lit and welcoming Lower Hutt cafe serving up interesting cabinet food, a thoughtfully crafted...

The Merry Go Round

Retro posters on the wall, an old Space Invaders arcade game, and a vintage wooden table laden with retro crockery for sale at The Merry Go Around.
Place Hutt Valley
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Head to The Merry Go Round to find out why one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Baylands Brewery

Interior of taproom at Baylands Brewery in Lower Hutt
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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Based in Petone, Baylands Brewery and Taproom is a relaxed, welcoming space offering up a wide range of fresh beer and tasty food.

Viva Mexico

Interior of Mexican restaurant with exposed brick walls, Mexican skull mosaics and Day of the Dead decor
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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This is not the place to be ordering chili con carne or hard-shell tacos. At Viva Mexico, you'll be treated to a true taste of Mexican in the Hutt.

Tartines French Cafe

Fresh tuna salad and aperol spritz on an outdoor French style table
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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Tartines offers a small slice of French culinary delight, with handmade tarts, pastries, fresh bread and classic dishes that will have you mistaking Lower Hutt for Lyon.

House of Good Fortune

Exterior of mint-green character house in Petone Wellington
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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Petone’s myriad side streets hold plenty of delightful surprises, and if you’re lucky enough, you might just stumble upon the House of Good Fortune.

Comes & Goes

A high leaner with chairs runs the length of wall opposite the counter at Comes & Goes café in Petone.
Place Hutt Valley
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Comes & Goes is a brilliant addition to the Wellington café scene, bringing an explosion of edible flowers and culinary masterpieces that Wellingtonians are welcoming with open arms.

Tricky's Sandwich Co

Chicken sandwich being placed on the table at Tricky's Sandwich Co
Place Hutt Valley Upper Hutt
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It’s hard to beat a good sandwich – and Tricky’s Sandwich Co is a family-run sandwich joint that have made it their business to be unbeatable.

48 Hours Hutt Valley

People dining at tables inside an Italian restaurant.

Just across the harbour from Wellington city lies the Hutt Valley, an underrated and outdoorsy destination offering popular eateries and a somewhat happening cultural scene.

Spending 48 hours in the Hutt Valley has never been so easy (in fact, you’ll likely be pressed for time!) as the sister cities of Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt continue to grow and offer an abundance of things to do.

There are picturesque parks and walking trails, bountiful shopping, arts scenes and an array of culinary delights, and this guide is designed to help you make the most of two days spent immersed in this vibrant community.

 

Forage Merchants of Wellington

Interior of an artisan food shop with chilli oil on shelves, retro lampshades and antique chairs and table
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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With a range that includes food and drink, health and beauty, art, music and so much more, Forage Merchants celebrates the very best of what the greater Wellington region has to offer.

Goldie

Clothes and homewares on display on shelves in a retail store.
Place Hutt Valley
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Nestled in the seaside village of Eastbourne and online, Goldie is a beautiful home and lifestyle corner store (and paradise) for design lovers.

Dough Upper Hutt

Bakery interior with royal blue tiles and a cabinet filled with delicious baked goods
Place Hutt Valley Upper Hutt
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Come for the art, stay for the coffee and doughnuts at Dough Bakery in Upper Hutt – conveniently located in one of the town's most popular cultural haunts.

The Dutch Shop

Someone slicing a wheel of Dutch cheese in specialty food store
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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The Dutch Shop is a perennial favourite among Petone locals and visitors alike - particularly for those with a penchant for cheese.

Beers, Bites, and Bowling: A Guide to Upper Hutt’s Brewtown

People walking under a large 'Brewtown' stign.
Just a stone’s throw from Upper Hutt train station lies Brewtown, a 6,000 square metre entertainment and dining hub that effortlessly attracts families, parties, and thrill seekers from around Wellington and beyond.

Miss Fortune's

Coffee machine and bags of coffee on a colourful counter in Miss Fortune's cafe
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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Lower Hutt’s industrial precinct isn’t exactly where you’d think to head for a slice of quintessential Wellington hospitality, but at Miss Fortune’s, you’ll find one of the region’s most charismatic little brunch spots.

Maidstone Max

A skate ramp a Maidstone Max on a sunny day.
Place Hutt Valley
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Only a hop, skip and throw from Upper Hutt’s CBD is Maidstone Park.

Small Batch, Ripe Coffee Roasters

Waiter putting coffee and muffin down on cafe table
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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This small but mighty Petone-based coffee roaster has well and truly established itself as a trusty local for many Hutt goers.

Wanda Harland Design Store

Colourful clothes and candles displayed inside Wanda Harland in Petone.
Place Hutt Valley
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Balancing fun and frivolity with being kind to our planet, Wanda Harland is a store in Petone that sells a range of sustainable home goods designed to last the distance.

Percy Scenic Reserve

Grassy areas and native trees in Percy Scenic Reserve
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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Once a private family garden in the late 1800s, Percy Scenic Reserve is today one of Lower Hutt's most cherished public spaces to take in serene vistas, explore historic plant collections and picnic by the duck pond.

Staglands

Wildlife reserve with birds running around and a sign saying "Staglands"
Place Hutt Valley Upper Hutt
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Tucked away deep in the Akatarawa Valley, Staglands is a serene wildlife reserve with a focus on encouraging each visitor to nurture a genuine connection to and appreciation...

Hive Café

A close up of berries on waffles on a plate.
Place Hutt Valley
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Established in 2016, Hive is intended as a cafe for everyone.

Whirinaki Whare Taonga

The large imposing exterior of Whirinaki Whare Taonga in Upper Hutt.
Place Hutt Valley
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Whether it’s dinosaurs or the Mona Lisa, Whirinaki Whare Taonga is an arts centre that simply refuses to do boring.

Jean's

The blue and gold outside of Jeans in Upper Hutt.
Place Hutt Valley Upper Hutt
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Upper Hutt’s Fergusson Drive may often feel like a long, monotonous road, but thanks to its little boutique shops like Jeans, you can find plenty of life and character...

Brewtown Eat & Drink

Full of people eating and drinking at Brewtown.
Place Hutt Valley
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Widely regarded as Wellington’s premier craft beer destination, Brewtown isn’t just a mecca for beer lovers, but also for those who simply appreciate good food...

Humble & Grand

Homewares on display on shelves at a retail store in Upper Hutt.
Place Hutt Valley

Making its home in Upper Hutt is Humble & Grand, a homeware store stocking an assortment of contemporary and classic goodies.

The Dowse

The white exterior of The Dowse Museum in Lower Hutt.
Place Hutt Valley
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Renowned for its creative spirit, the Wellington region is home to an enviable array of world-class art galleries and museums.

How to Spend a Day in Petone, Lower Hutt

Old buildings lined up in a row on a street.

Nestled along the picturesque shores of Wellington Harbour, Pito-one, or Petone, is a suburb of Lower Hutt offering a well-blended happy mix of old-world charm and modern-day sophistication. Its seaside location adds to its natural allure and its historic main street exudes a charm that is often hard to come by in small towns — or in this case, suburbs.

Studio Toru

White painted walls inside the art gallery Studio Toru.
Place Hutt Valley
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Established by jeweller Philothea Flynn, Studio Toru is housed in one of Eastbourne’s original settler cottages, originally built by and for an Italian fishing family.

Fig Tree Café

A large cafe space with a green painted wall.
Place Hutt Valley
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Nestled in the leafy green suburb of Heretaunga, the Fig Tree Cafe has made its home in a converted church.

Kilim Petone

Chairs and tables in kebab shop with Turkish decor and tapestry on walls
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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A revered name in Wellington’s Turkish scene, Kilim is synonymous with quality, hearty kebabs done well, with its reputation extending far beyond the Hutt Valley.

Brewtown Entertainment

Arcade games inside Brewtown Entertainment at Upper Hutt.
Place Hutt Valley
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Long synonymous with Wellington’s unparalleled craft beer scene, Brewtown is quietly but effectively growing a reputation as the region’s ultimate...

Lower Hutt

A cafe counter at Twenty Eight in Lower Hutt.

For a smallish city - often seen by many as an extension of Wellington - Lower Hutt certainly packs a lot of punch.

Only a short drive from the Wellington CBD and hosting an incredible range of things to see and do, it’s no wonder Lower Hutt is a popular day trip or weekend option for families around the region. Each suburb in the city brings a unique flavour to the overall Lower Hutt experience, from the arts and culture of central Lower Hutt; to the brunch, beach, and shopping hotspot of Petone; and the industrial yet welcoming embrace of Seaview. Like the Hutt River that weaves its way through the heart of the city, a sense of creativity and community is the common thread, linking the disparate locations together. 

With some of the region’s trendiest cafes and plenty of cultural highlights to explore, it’s never a dull day in Lower Hutt.

Gerry's Charcoal Chicken

A large counter at Gerry's in Upper Hutt.
Place Hutt Valley
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On a small side street in the sleepy suburb of Elderslea, you’ll find what appears to be an unassuming - if not slightly dated - takeaway shop.

Abandoned Taproom Petone

Graffiti on walls at Abandoned Taproom in Petone.
Place Hutt Valley
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The upcycled furniture, the bike frame fence, and of course, the walls covered ceiling to floor in graffiti (literally, there’s writing on the ceiling).

Cars Inc.

A black car in front of a large fluorescent 'Cars' sign.
Place Hutt Valley
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What started out as simply a young boy with a passion has turned into a lifelong project for car enthusiast Paul Boden, and the opening of Cars Inc.

Goodness Boutique

Street view looking into clothing store Goodness in Lower Hutt Wellington
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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Goodness Boutique is a mainstay on Jackson Street, Petone, providing great wardrobe choices to the fine people of greater Wellington since 2005.

Cake & Kitchen

A fake living wall inside a brightly lit cafe.
Place Hutt Valley Upper Hutt
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Cake & Kitchen is a cafe in Upper Hutt, bringing people together over delicious food and coffee.

Kaitoke Regional Park

View looking out towards Kaitoke Regional Park
Place Hutt Valley Upper Hutt
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A lush sanctuary nestled in the foothills of the Tararua mountains, Kaitoke Regional Park has an ethereal allure that captivates visitors new and old alike - and it’s not just down to its Lord of the Rings connections.

Schrödinger's Books

Male worker behind the counter of an independent bookstore in Petone Lower Hutt
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt

As the winner of NZ's Best Bookshop Award in 2021, Schrödinger's Books will hold any bookworm captive with its well-curated selection of books housed in a beautifully restored space in Petone.

Keihei Chicken

A plate of fried chickens and burgers.
Place Hutt Valley
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A bright, bold splash of yellow on Fergusson Drive, Keihei Chicken brings more than just warmth and colour to this otherwise grey corner of Upper Hutt.

Seashore Cabaret

View from inside the first floor Seashore Cabaret cafe out to their deck area where people are dining with a view across the harbour to Wellington city beyond.
Place Hutt Valley
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This café definitely takes out the title for best view of the city.