See & Do
A young family stop along a gravel path to admire a bird flying through the lush green trees of Zealandia.

Get close to nature in Wellington

People enjoying a Zealandia twilight tour, surrounded by bush and led by a tour guide.
Three people sit on a wooden bench at the Wellington Zoo and pet three Capibaras who are eating leafy greens.
An adult and three children walk along the forest path at Ngā Manu Nature Reserve in Kāpiti Coast.
A person feeding fish in a pond of a small wooden wharf at Staglands.
Looking up into the trees at Adrenalin Forest as a child balances across a wire between two tress.
A child on an adults shoulders pointing to the trees at Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre.
Looking through a flower garden as two people walk along a path in the Botanic Gardens.
A parent holds their child in their arms with cherry blossom trees in bloom behind them.
A small ferry boat docked with ramp extended as passenger get ready to disembark.
People enjoying a Zealandia twilight tour, surrounded by bush and led by a tour guide.

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne

53 Waiapu Road, Karori, Wellington

The world’s first fully fenced ecosanctuary, Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne, is an incredible slice of the wilderness a few minutes’ drive from Wellington’s CBD. Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 greatest places in the world, Zealandia’s 225 hectares of regenerating forest and birdlife is a must-visit. The urban sanctuary is responsible for the reintroduction of 18 native species into the region, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.

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Three people sit on a wooden bench at the Wellington Zoo and pet three Capibaras who are eating leafy greens.

Wellington Zoo

200 Daniell Street, Newtown, Wellington

Set into the hills of the city-fringe suburb of Newtown, Wellington Zoo is a thoroughly modern institution. It leads the way as the first carboNZero-certified zoo in the world.

With 500-plus animals spread across 13 hectares Wellington Zoo may be small by world standards but it’s big on heart, sustainability, welfare, and conservation. Its Close Encounter programme where you get to see animals in close quarters is both educational and memorable.

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An adult and three children walk along the forest path at Ngā Manu Nature Reserve in Kāpiti Coast.

Ngā Manu, Kāpiti Coast’s nature reserve

74 Nga Manu Reserve Road, Waikanae, Kāpiti Coast

One of the largest remnants of coastal lowland swamp forest on the Kāpiti Coast, Nga Manu is home to a variety of native fauna and wildlife. Since the 14-hectare opened to the public in 1981 Ngā Manu has partnered with DOC breed-for-release programmes. It has helped re-establish at-risk species of birds and reptiles in the wild. There are many tours available where you can see native birds, reptiles, and eels up close.

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A person feeding fish in a pond of a small wooden wharf at Staglands.

Staglands Wildlife Reserve

2362 Akatarawa Road, Upper Hutt

Nestled in the Hutt Valley’s beautiful Akatarawa Valley, Staglands Wildlife Reserve offers a rare opportunity to interact with the local fauna on its own terms. Here, 10 hectares of bush, farmland and wetlands have been sensitively cultivated into an idyllic home for some of New Zealand’s endangered species. This natural and genuine experience blends tourism, conservation, and education into a great experience for all.

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Looking up into the trees at Adrenalin Forest as a child balances across a wire between two tress.

Adrenalin Forest

Okowai Road, Aotea, Porirua

The Lower North Island’s only outdoor adventure park is set to challenge you mentally and physically while soaring among giant pine trees. It’s the perfect place to test your limits. Walk across a high-wire or suspended boardwalk up to 31m off the ground or take an exhilarating ride on a zipline. Whichever challenge you tackle you’ll always be in the safest of hands with Adrenalin Forest’s world-leading instructors and their equipment.

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A child on an adults shoulders pointing to the trees at Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre.

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre

85379 State Highway 2, Mount Bruce, Wairarapa

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is an unfenced breeding sanctuary for native wildlife. Located on the border of the Tararua and Wairarapa regions, the 942-hectare site is home to a dense lowland podocarp forest. That forest is home to native wildlife including birds and reptiles. Pūkaha has contributed to the recovery of several endangered native species including kōkako, kākā, whio, pateke and shore plover. The aviaries on-site hatch kiwi, kākā and kākāriki for release back into the wild.

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Looking through a flower garden as two people walk along a path in the Botanic Gardens.

Wellington Botanic Garden ki Paekākā

101 Glenmore Street, Kelburn, Wellington

One of the country’s oldest gardens, Wellington Botanic Garden encompasses 25 hectares. You’ll find specialised plant collections, colourful botanical displays, unique landscapes, a protected native forest, and spectacular views over Wellington City. It is a vast tract of land that has offered relaxation, playtime, shade, and education about flora and fauna for over 150 years. Only a few minutes walk from Parliament, the gardens are accessible and offer activities for the whole family.

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A parent holds their child in their arms with cherry blossom trees in bloom behind them.

Aston Norwood

1747 State Highway 2, Kaitoke, Upper Hutt

Set in five hectares of magical gardens, Aston Norwood is home to boutique accommodation, a quaint café, and garden centre.

Best known for its cherry blossom trees, every spring Aston Norwood bursts into life as ‘Blossom Valley’. Thousands of visitors flock here to stroll through the gardens under a canopy of candy-floss pink cherry trees.

With fresh scenery every season, you can visit Aston Norwood all year round. The idyllic gardens offer a peaceful spot to unpack a picnic, or you can enjoy high tea in the café overlooking the grounds.

Aston Norwood — Facebook
A small ferry boat docked with ramp extended as passenger get ready to disembark.

Mātiu/Somes Island

Meridian Building (waterside), 55 Elizabeth Lane, Queens Wharf, Wellington

Mātiu/Somes Island is only accessible by East By West Ferries’ scheduled services or by private boat or kayak. Ferry services run from Queens Wharf and Days Bay seven days a week.

The 24.8-hectare island is a great place to spend the day. Its harbour location made it perfect for New Zealand’s first inner harbour lighthouse. It has also been a human and animal quarantine station, a prisoner of war camp, and a military defence position.
Steeped in local history from early Māori settlement, Mātiu/Somes Island is now predator-free, full of birdlife, native flora and fauna. If you’re lucky you might even spot native tuatara reintroduced to the island.

There are loop tracks and easy walks to enjoy 360-degree views of Wellington harbour. You can even stay overnight on the scientific and historic reserve looked after by DOC.

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