Highway 2 through the Rimutaka hills is a pretty tough route out of Wellington but the journey is well worth making – both as a tourist and for a quiet country lifestyle. Most of the area is the lonely and lovely Wairarapa – open country with a gentle lake, and all of it completely empty; but there are a few small settlements.

Everything combines to make Greytown a great ‘lifestyle’ choice if you want a quiet rural life with a jazz band on a Sunday, nice restaurants and coffee-shops, a touch of culture and the option of a train ride (or possibly a daily commute) to Wellington. You could actually say that about a lot of New Zealand, but Greytown seems to have everything rather well in balance and has in fact won a prize as the Best Small Town in New Zealand.