Although it is a separate city, Hutt City  is often considered a suburb of Wellington, and forms part of Greater Wellington. The city includes Lower Hutt as well as the distinctly separate communities of Petone, Eastbourne and Wainuiomata.
The early settlers that came to Wellington in 1840 first settled by the beach at Petone and then moved up the Hutt Valley, looking for suitable land for farming. Much of the flat land in the lower valley has now been urbanised, though the steep and relatively undeveloped valley hillsides, which are much more suited to forestry, as well as the many trees in private residential gardens, gives the city a rural feel.
Although only across Wellington Harbour from the capital, Wellington, the Hutt Valley climate is distinctly different. Sheltered by the surrounding hills the weather  is less windy and generally warmer, although winter frosts are more severe, particularly further up the valley, away from the sea.
There are only four roads into and out of Lower Hutt. Three are part of the state highway system, and these all lie on the western bank of the Hutt River, with the third, Eastern Hutt Road, connecting Lower Hutt to Upper Hutt via Stokes Valley..
There is a regular bus service between Wellington and Lower Hutt.
The Airport Flyer bus, which travels every 20 minutes 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 through Lower Hutt to Upper Hutt on a limited timetable. 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 commuter services direct to Eastbourne and Wainuiomata. Ask the drive before boarding if you are not certain.
Online you can use Metlink  to lookup bus (and train) timetables, or to find the easiest way from A to B in the Wellington region on public transport.
From Wellington, State Highway 2 travels along the Hutt Road from the Ngauranga Interchange to Petone and Lower Hutt.
From Upper Hutt, State Highway 2 travels the length of the lower 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 any Lower Hutt suburb, a distance of less than 30 km. During rush hour, the journey can take an hour or more.
State Highway 58 runs from the Paremata roundabout on State Highway 1 in Porirua, travels over the Haywards Hill and joins State Highway 2 at Manor Park Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt.
The Eastern Hutt Road travels from the Silverstream Bridge, at the southern end of Upper Hutt, along the eastern bank of the Hutt River. It provides ready access to the northern suburbs of Stokes Valley, Pomare and Taita.
Suburban rail services between Wellington and Lower Hutt run half-hourly for most of the day and evening. 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 two different lines:
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, and travel on to the Upper Hutt stations of 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 town centre, which is 10-20 minutes' walk from these stations.
The express Wairarapa Connection - Operates daily morning and evening services on the same route as the Hutt Valley suburban line. It stops only at Petone and Waterloo stations in Lower Hutt. 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.
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.
'Petone beach and especially the Eastbourne beaches are popular with swimmers and those who enjoy water sports.
Lighthouse Cinema is a boutique cinema where you can watch a movie in comfortable surroundings with a nice glass of wine or a coffee - 
Walk the fire breaks on the Eastern Hills, for great views of Wellington Harbour and the Hutt Valley. Best access is from Te Whiti Park in Waiwhetu, or Summit Road in Epuni. Take good shoes and plenty of water, the tracks are very steep in places.
The major shopping and business is in the Lower Hutt city centre between the Melling and Ewen Bridges over the Hutt River.
Westfield Queensgate is a a modern shopping mall that had a NZ$150M redevelopment in 2006. As such it boasts the usual facilities found in shopping malls - shops, obviously, plus food courts and movie theatres. Like most modern malls, once inside you could be anywhere on the planet where buildings like this are created to extract dollars from your pocket.
A Vegetable Market operates at the Riverbank carpark on Saturday mornings. This is easily the cheapest place to get your fruit and vegetables. There is plenty of carparking available. The main entrance is off Rutherford St, just north of Countdown Supermarket.
The Hutt River occasionally floods the riverbank carparks and the area around Melling Bridge, near the railway station. Be prepared to park somewhere else during or after very heavy rain, as the river does rise quickly.
Suburbs such as Naenae, Taita, Pomare and Stokes Valley tend to have reputations as lower socioeconomic zones due to these areas having been developed with a lot of state rental housing. However this is mostly a reputation that arises through a misunderstanding of the cultural differences between the wide variety of ethnic backgrounds of the inhabitants.
Hutt Hospital serves the whole Hutt Valley area. The Emergency department is best access off Pilmiur Street, though the High Street entry can be used. The hospital and grounds are a non-smoking area - for health reasons.