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Wellington

Absolutely Positively

Zealandia: The Karori Sanctuary Experience

Just minutes from downtown Wellington and set around a picturesque reservoir, Zealandia is home to some of New Zealand's most rare and extraordinary wildlife.

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Just minutes from downtown Wellington, yet a world apart.

Set around a picturesque reservoir, Zealandia is home to some of New Zealand's most rare and extraordinary wildlife - all thriving wild in a world-first protected sanctuary valley.

Visit The Exhibition to learn about Zealandia's vision to restore the valley to the way it was before the arrival of humans.

Venture into The Sanctuary Valley to wander a selection of outdoor walks that take you through beautiful native bush. Keep an eye out for species such as kaka (the playful forest parrot), tuatara (a relic from the time of the dinosaurs), takahe (only around 250 left today), saddleback, hihi, geckos and many more.

Plus, if you book a Zealandia By Night Tour you'll have a totally different experience in The Sanctuary Valley, spotting the endangered (and nocturnal) little spotted kiwi.

Zealandia has activities for young and old and can keep you entertained anywhere from two hours to a whole day. Many want to explore further and purchase annual membership - a great way for you to help us restore while you explore. If you're local you may consider joining our 450-strong community of keen volunteers.


The Exhibition

Our immersive exhibition will take you on an extraordinary journey through the last 80 million years. A big-screen movie encapsulates the devastating natural history of New Zealand, highlighting the losses endured and recent efforts to reverse the tide of extinctions. There's a life-size animatronics moa, interactive exhibits, videos and informative panels.


The Sanctuary Valley

Step through our ground-breaking 8.6km pest-exclusion fence in to a place like no other - 225 hectares of regenerating bush with 32km of tracks to choose from and a host of endangered species flourishing wild throughout.

Take in a 30 minute weekend 'Introducing Zealandia' guided walk or a 45 minute guided 'Walk and Talk' tour of the lower valley. Both are complimentary with your general admission and are a great way to learn more about how to get the best from your visit.

Learn as you go with occasional information panels and videos and be sure to just sit quietly by a feeder to observe the rare birds or watch a tuatara basking in the sun. Check out our juvenile tuatara in their special new nurseries or ask a guide to help you spot one in the bushes.

At weekends there are often boat rides and access to the Morning Star mine with cave weta. 


Zealandia By Night Tour

Lonely Planet described Zealandia's night tour as a 'life-changing experience' in its Best in Travel Guide 2011.

After seeing some of the highlights of our interactive exhibition your guide will lead you through the Sanctuary Valley on a torch-light walk in search of the distinctive sights and sounds of New Zealand bush… including little spotted kiwi! Over 100 of these nocturnal birds live freely in their natural environment inside the safety of our Sanctuary Valley - so your chances of finding one are good and your guide will help you.

Possible sights: Kiwi foraging on the forest floor, tuatara hunting for food, glow-worms shining, tiny Maud Island frogs in their enclosure, pāteke (brown teal) ducks feeding at night, kākā (parrots) coming in to roost.

Possible sounds: The high-pitched call of kiwi, the ghostly echo of the ruru (morepork), the scritch-scritch of tree weta, the skraark of kaka and the rustling of the bush as nocturnal creatures start their nighttime activities.

  • Night Tour Transport: Transport is available on request for custom/private tours. For all other tours, Zealandia can assist with booking transfers with local taxi companies (about $20 per taxi, one way) or with public transport information.
  • Hours: Night tours run every night after sunset (booking essential).

Rata Cafe

With views across the lower lake, Rata is one of the best spots in the city to enjoy a leisurely lunch! Rata offers a variety of quality counter food and menu options as well as a selection of boutique wines and beer, and picnic items. The perfect location to unwind or recharge the batteries after your Zealandia visit, while you help to save our wildlife one sip or bite at a time. Rata is child-friendly and a proud member of Conscious Consumers.


Free shuttle

Zealandia's 11-seater shuttle picks up Zealandia visitors free from the Wellington i-SITE Visitor Centre, before picking up from the top of the Cable Car on the way to Zealandia. Return services are available.

The service is available during the day only.

  • Departs Wellington i-SITE at 9.45am, 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm
  • Departs top of the Cable Car 10 minutes before and after the hour between 9.50am and 2.50pm. 

International recognition

Zealandia won the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award 2010: Best for conservation of wildlife and habitats. We have been voted one of the top 25 eco-restoration projects in Australasia and are one of only 75 organisations in the world included in the Guardian Green Travel List 2010.


Offers and events

We often run special offers and exciting events. Check out the latest on our website: www.visitzealandia.com/events.


Accessibility

  • The Exhibition is fully wheelchair-accessible.
  • The Sanctuary Valley offers some easy grade, no-step tracks suitable for wheelchairs or the vision impaired.
  • As the valley is a wilderness area, it is requested that vision impaired and people in wheelchairs have a companion with them.
  • Two mobility scooters are available on request.
  • Guide dogs are permitted but please call ahead to let us know you're bringing one.
  • There is a large car-park with disabled parking available.
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Disclaimer

This information is provided by third parties and should be used as a guide only. Please contact the provider to confirm any details.