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The overarching goal of Wellington eco-park Zealandia is to return the 225 hectares on which it sits to its natural state prior to the arrival of human settlers. The enclosed park was formerly known as Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, and is now home to some of the country's rarest and most elusive creatures, such as the flightless kiwi, the prehistoric-looking tuatara and the saddleback bird. Located within Wellington's city limits, the sanctuary perimeter is ringed by protective fencing, which is designed to keep out predators.
Before you launch into your exploration of the park itself, take the time to walk around the visitor centre. With two floors of multimedia exhibits on New Zealand's natural heritage, you'll get a great introduction to what you are about to see.
Now for a tour of the park; you can either take off on a self-guided tour or join one of the guided tours on offer. With over 32 kilometres of trails varying in difficulty, you can spend hours simply wandering amidst the local wildlife. The majority of the park's creatures live in the wild, though some are housed in protective enclosures of their own.
If you fancy something a little more adventurous, you could try one of Zealandia's nocturnal tours. These tours are conducted by torchlight and allow you to observe park inhabitants that are more active at night time. Take in the sights and distinctive sounds of animals foraging for food and calling out across the night during your journey back to nocturnal nature. These tours must be booked in advance and involve an additional fee. More information on walking tours, trails and guided tours can be found on Zealandia's official website, so check here before your visit.
Zealandia eco-park is located just 2 kilometres from Wellington city centre. It is situated along a number of bus routes, and there is also a free shuttle bus. Again, check the website for details of pick-up points and the shuttle schedule. If you decide to drive, there is free parking on site, and the park is open every day except for Christmas Day.
Get the most out of your visit to Zealandia. Here is a list of the best things to do:
Zealandia Nature Sanctuary Daytime Walking Tour is one of the exciting experiences on offer here.
Check out our Wellington things to do page to discover more activities while you're here.
Located near the airport, this family-friendly hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of St Paul's Cathedral, Old St Paul's, and Botanic Gardens. Carter Observatory and Courtenay Place are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Located in the heart of Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps from Old Government Buildings, Wellington Central Business District, and Wellington Waterfront. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Westpac Stadium are also within 1 mi (2 km). Wellington Station is only a 3-minute walk.
Situated in Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps from Lambton Quay and Wellington Central Business District. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Interislander Ferry Terminal are also within 6 mi (10 km).
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.
Located in Te Aro, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from Wellington Town Hall, Michael Fowler Centre, and City-to-Sea Bridge. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and St James Theatre are also within 10 minutes.
Located in the heart of Wellington, this hotel is within walking distance of New Zealand Film Archive and Cuba Street Mall. Also nearby are Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Courtenay Place.
Located near the airport, this family-friendly hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Old St Paul's, Wellington Zoo, and The Weta Cave. Wellington Cable Car (Lambton Quay Station) and Oriental Bay Beach are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Situated in Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps from Wellington Cable Car (Lambton Quay Station) and Wellington Central Business District. Cuba Street Mall and Westpac Stadium are also within 1 mi (2 km).