Compare Tours & Attraction Ticket Prices from Top Travel Sites
Zealandia is the first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary in the world located in Wellington created in 1999 to restore the biodiversity of 225 hectares of forest.
Visit the unique wildlife sanctuary, Zealandia
In the past, about 60% of Wellington region was covered with broadleaf forest, with a lot of Karaka, kohekohe, ngaio and nikau trees, some rewarewa and tawa, and a few of occasional podocarps like kahikatea and rimu. Things changed when the European settlement set large fires and burnt the forest in 1850 and 1860 as the land was used for farming. The farming area was extended until 1906, when the remaining area was purchased for water works. This is when the work to restore the forest began and the native trees began regenerating. In 1993, a study was carried out by the Wellington regional and city councils, and in 1994, the idea to create the sanctuary appeared. Then in mid-1995, the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust was formed in order to implement the proposed wildlife sanctuary.
If you are joining the day tour in the Zealandia, you will be taken to a walk to see the amazing rare wildlife of New Zealand that is known as one that has the most unique biodiversity and advanced conservation technique in the world. The walking guided tours will let you see the scenic sanctuary and witness the native wildlife living on the mainland. The tour will take about two hours and is available daily with the maximum capacity of 10 people per tour to ensure that you will get the optimum experience and learn about the unique ecological history. Through the tour, you will get the chance to see Kaka, Kakariki, Takahe, Tuatara, Tieke or Saddleback, Whitehead, Weta, Kereru, Hihi, and Bellbird.
Night tour in Zealandia will give you a different experience as you will walk through the sanctuary by torchlights to look for more distinctive sights and sounds of the native forest of New Zealand. You will be able to see many rare and endangered nocturnal creatures within the sanctuary. You will also learn about the natural history of New Zealand and the relation between the unique species and the Maori culture. The tour will take about 2.5 hours, and you will be given with a cup of hot kawakawa or bushman's tea that will replenish your energy after the walk. The night tour in Zealandia will give you the chance to see the Glow Worms, Ruru, Pateke, Longfin Eel, Little Spotted Kiwi, Maud Island Frog, Tuatara, Weta, Kaka, and Takahe.
If you are happened to visit the Zealandia between April and September, then you can take your kids with the minimum age of 5 years to join the Kids' Night Walks. The tour will be in a shorter duration that is about 1.5 hours with flat and easier walking tracks compared to the normal night tour. The program will give your kids the chance to see the rare animal of New Zealand that only comes out at night. As the starting hour can be different on each tour, it is better to check the official website when you are doing the booking.
The twilight hour is also believed as the magical hour, and here in Zealandia, you will be given the magical experience as you explore the sanctuary when the daylight turns to twilight. The guided tour will let you see when the birds are returning to the sanctuary, the sight of the beautiful sky, the changing sound of the birds, and even the first sounds of the nocturnal birds living within the sanctuary. The tour will take about 2 hours and will be started depend on the sunset time. During the Twilight Tour, you will be given the chance to see Kaka, Takahe, Tuatara, Kereru, Tui, Shags, Tieke, Pateke, and Hihi.
Within the Zealandia, visitors are able to enjoy the Rata Café that offers modern New Zealand cuisine with a native twist. The dining experience will be different as you will be surrounded with the amazing view and the natural birdlife. The café is also practicing to be sustainable with using organic product grown with the compost comes from the food waste. The cafe is open every day except on Christmas Day, and every Wednesday at 10 AM, there will be a storytelling session for kids that last for about half an hour and can be joined for free.
How to Get Tickets?
It is recommended to buy tickets online on its official website to book you a spot in the tour because each tour can only be joined by a small number of people. This way, you can also check the availability of the tour that you want to join because not all tours are available daily.
How To Get Around?
To get around, you will have to go by foot. However, people with wheelchair can still join the tour even though it is outdoor. Zealandia can also be enjoyed by people with other impairments.
What Should I Wear?
There is no recommendation on what to wear to visit the Zealandia. However, it is better to wear comfortable clothes because you will be walking on track. If you are joining the night tour, then wear warm clothes. Don't forget to check the weather as well as the tour is held in outdoor area.
Best Time to Visit
It depends on what tour you want to join, because some tour only available between April to September, while the other is available from November to March. You can check the schedule on the official website of Zealandia.
New Zealand Dollar
Will I Need a Guide?
The sanctuary of Zealandia is a guided tour to make sure you can learn about the natural wildlife. The guide is already included with the admission.
How To Get There?
To reach Zealandia, you can take the public bus and stop at the end of Waiapu Road that is only about two minute walk from the sanctuary. You can also use the cable car from Lambton Quay to the top of the Botanic Gardens or go to the city i-SITE and ride the free shuttle provided by the sanctuary.