The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
TheLower Hutt occupies the lower end of the Hutt Valley, which is of a very considerable extent, and particularly fertile. Liability to floods is its one drawback, and these now-a-days occur but very seldom. In the early days they were much more frequent, and some fatalities resulted, besides wholesale destruction of property. The Hutt is as old as Wellington itself, several of the first colonists having located themselves there almost immediately on arrival. The Valley is almost perfectly even, the rise from the harbour being imperceptible to an ordinary observer. The Hutt River, though unnavigable, flows somewhat rapidly even in the dryest weather, and at seasons of flood becomes a torrent. It winds gracefully through the Valley, and in parts is very pretty, with its willow banks and grassy slopes.
The difference between the Lower Hutt and Petone is very marked, the latter being decidedly the more business-like place. The Hutt appears to be all green, there being but very few patches even in the roads where grass is unable to flourish. The houses are mainly those of the wealthy, though there are several small farms, besides nurseries and pleasure grounds.
The Hutt and its surroundings are the chief and best known beauty spots near the Capital. Wellingtonians always feel it to be their duty to see that their visitors from other parts have an opportunity of seeing the green valley with its many attractions. A glance at the visitors' book kept at “McNab's” shows what a favourite resort these gardens really are. It will be a matter of satisfaction to many that the old name of “McNab's” is being retained, though the cheery face of the late Mrs. McNab will be sadly missed by the more regular visitors. They are, however, by no means in the hands of strangers, Mrs. Ross, the present proprietress, being both well and favourably known in Wellington and other parts of the Colony. The gardens are one of the most popular holiday resorts near Wellington, and are frequented in summer by large numbers of people from the City. The property faces the Wainui-o-mata Road, and consists of a large area of level land, a considerable portion of which is beautifully laid out and planted with shrubs and flowers. One of the most pleasing features of the gardens are the nikaus, ferns, palm trees, ratas, and other representatives of the New Zealand forest. The gardens are well provided with courts for lawn tennis and croquet, with swings and summer-houses, and with other conveniences for picnickers. A large field in the southern end of the gardens is very suitable for large picnics, and many of the City Churches have used this for their annual Sunday school gatherings.
When the railway service is improved, the Hutt will become one of the most popular of the suburbs of Wellington. There is a large area of land suitable for villa residences, and as the valley is free from the smoke and din and dust of the City, many people will no doubt be attracted thither. Visitors to Wellington who neglect an opportunity of spending a day or more at the Hutt will have reason to regret the error.