The early settlers that came to Wellington in 1840 settled first in Petone and then moved up the Hutt river valley, looking for suitable land for farming. While much of the valley has now been urbanised, there are still pockets of rural land and large open spaces.
Regular flooding in Petone in the early years meant that the original Wellington settlement was relocated to its current Lambton harbour location. As a result, a lot of the Petone street names were also reallocated to the new Wellington streets. This means many Greater Wellington street addresses are not unique. As a consequence, Wellingtonians often use their addresses without a suburb, merely indicating they live in Wellington. However those living in the Hutt Valley often add the suburb or city and may not even indicate it is a Wellington region postal address. This also stems from the fact New Zealand Post recommends using Wellington only for Wellington itself, and using Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt for Hutt Valley addresses. This is fine until you realize Wellington's mail sorting centre is in Petone, leading to the erroneous address "Wellington Mail Centre, Lower Hutt 5045"
There are only four roads into and out of the Hutt Valley: three are part of the state highway system, and the other, though a scenic drive, is single lane for much of its length.
There is a regular bus service between Wellington and the Hutt Valley.
- The Airport Flyer bus, which travels half hourly from the Wellington Airport, through central Wellington, is an express bus service. It stops at major bus stops only, including the Queensgate (Lower Hutt) bus interchange and travels as far as Upper Hutt Station. This service has space for luggage in the bus, by the front seats.
- The Eastbourne bus travels from Courtenay Place in central Wellington to Eastbourne, on the other side of the harbour. Some buses travel via Jackson Street in Petone and via the Queensgate (Lower Hutt) bus interchange. At peak time there are express services direct to Eastbourne. Ask the driver before boarding if you are not certain.
- From Wellington, State Highway 2 travels along the Hutt Road from the Ngauranga Interchange to Petone and Lower Hutt.
- From the Wairarapa, State Highway 2 travels over the Rimutaka Hill to Upper Hutt.
- State Highway 2 travels the length of the Hutt Valley alongside the Hutt river. There are major intersections and bridges that provide ready access to most Hutt Valley suburbs. At most times of the day, this means it is about a half-hour trip from downtown Wellington to Upper Hutt, a distance of about 40 km. During rush hour, the journey can take an hour or more.
- State Highway 58 between the Paremata roundabout in Porirua travels over the Haywards hill and joins State Highway 2 at Manor Park, between Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt. Moonshine Hill Road provides an alternative route from the foot of Haywards hill to State Highway 2 at the Moonshine Bridge in Upper Hutt.
- Akatarawa road provides a scenic drive between Waikanae and Upper Hutt. The road is single lane for about 30 km, and may take an hour of cautious driving at 30-50 km/h, well below the 100 km/h speed limit. There are a number of places of interest along this road, including Staglands wildlife park.
Suburban rail services between Wellington and Upper Hutt, run half-hourly for most of the day and night. Off-peak services, between 9.00AM and 3.30PM, have reduced fares. There are also all-day and week-end passes that will allow unlimited travel on all Wellington suburban rail services.
There are 3 lines to be aware of.
- Hutt Valley Line - Operates half-hourly most of the day, with express services at peak times. From Wellington services stop at Kaiwharawhara, Ngauranga, Petone, Ava, Woburn, Waterloo(or Hutt Central), Epuni, Naenae, Wingate, Taita, Pomare, Manor Park, Silverstream, Heretaunga, Trentham, Wallaceville, Upper Hutt. All units stop at Waterloo, which is the main Lower Hutt station and a bus interchange. Express peak-time Upper Hutt units next stop is Taita, then all stations. Taita units stop at all stations in the lower valley. Transfers take place at Taita station.
- Melling Line - Operates Monday to Friday during the day only. Stops at all stations from Wellington to Petone then up a branch line to Western Hutt and Melling stations. This service provides the closest stop to the Lower Hutt city centre, which is 10-20 minutes' walk from these stations.
- Wairarapa Connection - Operates daily morning and evening services. Stops at Petone, Waterloo and Upper Hutt, then all requested stations from Mangaroa, just before Hutt Valley the entrance to the Rimutaka Tunnel, through to Masterton in the Wairarapa. There is a minimum fare equivalent to a full fare Wellington - Upper Hutt trip on this service between any intermediate Hutt Valley Line stations, to discourage intra-Hutt Valley travel on this express service. Wairarapa travellers can transfer to the Hutt Valley Line at Upper Hutt, or be picked up or set down at Waterloo and Petone.
- Petone, the first colonial settlement in the Wellington area. Visit the early settlers museum then see the Jackson Street walk of fame before stopping into one of the numerous cafes for a coffee or one of the unique shops.
- The Dowse Art Gallery is not only a stunning building but has some of the most adventurous and interesting art and craft exhibitions in the region. Unlike the Wellington City Gallery it has a superb collection (specialising in jewelry, pottery and ceramics). Excellent cafe.
- Take a scenic drive up Akatarawa Road to Staglands wildlife park.
- Belmont Regional Park is a great place to wander around. If you've got all day, the walk up to Belmont Trig is very tiring yet enjoyable.
- If you want to go on a short walk then you can go from the end of Cornish Street, in Petone, up to the defunct Korokoro Dam.
- The Hutt River is easily accessible for most of its length. It is even able to be fished for trout - a fishing licence is required.
- Kaitoke Regional Park has a number of forest walks.
- At the top of the Rimutaka Hill you can take a break in your trip to the Wairarapa and climb up to the Rimutaka Trig and see the Wairarapa instead. Choose a calm sunny day as this part of the country can be very windy.
- Tunnel Gully and the Rimutaka Incline walkways. Walk or mountain bike the old railway route over the Rimutaka ranges.
Get some fresh artesian 'adams ale' from the well on the corner of Jackson Street and Buick Street in Petone - the locals say it's the purest water in the world, and best of all it's free. In fact, the locals laugh at the tourists and out-of-towners lining up at the tap, which is actually on the side of the Settlers Museum on the Esplanade at the bottom of Buick St. Contrary to the urban myth, the water from the tab is from the same supply as every other tap in town.