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Zealandia

Your best chance of seeing rare native species in the wild, this eco-attraction is a fenced valley that protects many native bird species.

Immerse yourself in primeval New Zealand inside a walled wildlife sanctuary. Zealandia’s 500-year vision is to restore its 555 acres (225 hectares) to how it was before humans arrived on the mainland. The eco-attraction, formerly known as Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, is home to some of the nation’s rarest insects, birds and reptiles, including the prehistoric lizard-like tuatara, the little spotted kiwi and the saddleback bird.

Zealandia sits in a valley within the city limits and is surrounded by a specially constructed fence, designed to keep out pests and predators. Before exploring the valley, spend a little time watching, reading and playing at the exhibition inside the Visitor Centre. There are two floors of multimedia exhibits and interactive displays that tell the stories of New Zealand’s natural history from prehistoric times up to the present day.

Go on a self-guided walk or join a guided tour of the sanctuary valley. There are 20 miles (32 kilometers) of trails, from wheelchair and buggy friendly flat terrain to more challenging landscapes. Most of the sanctuary’s animals live in the wild, but a few are sheltered in protective enclosures.  

Venture into the bush and wetlands after dark on one of the nocturnal tours. These torchlight treks take you through the valley in search of kiwi birds and other animals that are active at night. Listen out for some of the distinctive sounds of the wild including animals foraging for food and bird calls. The nocturnal tours must be booked in advance, and they have a separate fee. For details of all the sanctuary’s guided tours and suggested walking itineraries visit Zealandia’s website.

The eco-sanctuary is just over a mile (2 kilometers) from the city center and is served by a number of bus routes. There is also a free shuttle bus that picks up visitors on a first come, first served basis. You can find the timetable and a list of pickup points on Zealandia’s website. If you come by car, free parking is available.

Zealandia is open every day except Christmas Day.


Guide to Exploring around Zealandia


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Best Lodging Options Near Zealandia

See all 183 Properties near Zealandia
DoubleTree by Hilton Wellington $89
DoubleTree by Hilton Wellington

DoubleTree by Hilton Wellington

Corner of Lambton Quay and Grey Street, 28 Grey Street, Wellington, NZ
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Wellington hotel is located in a shopping district, just steps from Lambton Quay and Wellington Central Business District. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Wellington Waterfront are also within 15 minutes. Wellington Station is 9 minutes by foot.

    Oaks Wellington Hotel $77
    Oaks Wellington Hotel

    Oaks Wellington Hotel

    89 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington, Wellington
       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Te Aro, this luxury aparthotel is within a 5-minute walk of Courtenay Place, Cuba Street Mall, and Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand). Michael Fowler Centre and Wellington Cable Car (Lambton Quay Station) are also within 1 mi (2 km). Wellington Station is 20 minutes by foot.

      InterContinental Wellington $105
      InterContinental Wellington

      InterContinental Wellington

      2 Grey Street, Wellington
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in the heart of Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps from Lambton Quay, Wellington Central Business District, and Wellington Waterfront. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Cuba Street Mall are also within 15 minutes. Wellington Station is 10 minutes by foot.

        QT Wellington $90
        QT Wellington

        QT Wellington

        90 Cable Street, Wellington
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly Wellington hotel is located in the entertainment district, steps from Waitangi Park, Wellington Central Business District, and Wellington Waterfront. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Oriental Parade are also within 5 minutes. Wellington Station is 19 minutes by foot.

          Mercure Wellington Central City Hotel and Apartments $55
          Mercure Wellington Central City Hotel and Apartments

          Mercure Wellington Central City Hotel and Apartments

          130 Victoria Street, Wellington
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Te Aro, this hotel is steps from Cuba Street Mall and Wellington Central Business District. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Wellington Waterfront are also within 10 minutes. Wellington Station is 18 minutes by foot.

            The Thorndon Hotel Wellington by Rydges $49
            The Thorndon Hotel Wellington by Rydges

            The Thorndon Hotel Wellington by Rydges

            24 Hawkestone St, Thorndon, Wellington
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              This family-friendly Wellington hotel is located near the airport, within a 10-minute walk of Old St Paul's and Beehive. Wellington Cable Car (Lambton Quay Station) and Botanic Gardens are also within 1 mi (2 km). Wellington Station is 9 minutes by foot and Wellington Kaiwharawhara Station is 28 minutes.

              Stunning views and amazing central location $91
              Stunning views and amazing central location

              Stunning views and amazing central location

              Wellington, Wellington Region
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                This family-friendly Wellington condo building is within a 15-minute walk of Zealandia and Victoria University of Wellington. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Wellington Central Business District are also within 2 mi (3 km).

                Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman $45
                Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman

                Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman

                169 Willis St, Wellington
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Te Aro, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Wellington Central Business District and Cuba Street Mall. Wellington Waterfront and Courtenay Place are also within 10 minutes. Wellington Station is 18 minutes by foot.