This region is in the south of the North Island, only an hour's drive north of Wellington. We stayed in Martinborough, a town famous for having a number of wineries within walking distance of the town centre. We also explored Greytown, another nice town in the region.
Other attractions in the area that we found interesting were the Putangirau Pinnacles (signage in the park was a little lacking and we got a bit lost, but quite spectacular to look at once you find them!) and the Cape Palliser lighthouse and seal colony, where the seals are literally just laying on the side of the road.
A couple of points of note; we were in Martinborough in mid October and noted a lot of the restaurants were either still closed for winter or only open on weekends, so please check before you go. Another warning we received from locals was that the pass between Martinborough and Wellington can sometimes close with black ice or snow and many people have missed their planes as a result. Just be aware of this during winter and make sure you aren't trying to get to Wellington with any time pressures (there is a long way around taking 3 hours).