10 Nature & Wildlife Areas in Greater Wellington That You Shouldn't Miss

September 22, 2021 Margarita Chappel

Discover the best top things to do in Greater Wellington, New Zealand including Waikanae Estuary Bird Tours, Fensham Bush Reserve, West Wind Recreation Area, Rimutaka Forest Park, Te Rakau Birding, Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve, ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary, Wellington Zoo, Otari-Wilton's Bush Native Botanic Garden, Staglands Wildlife Reserve.

1. Waikanae Estuary Bird Tours

160 Weggery Drive, Waikanae 5036 New Zealand +64 4-905 1001 [email protected]
Excellent
89%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 9 reviews

Waikanae Estuary Bird Tours

A couple of hours is money well spent with Mick Peryer – a local celebrity and acknowledged author. His dry sense of humour fits in well with his extensive knowledge of the area and during his tour it is not uncommon to record over 25 species of bird on his patch and indeed some 63 species visit the estuary during a year.There are some stories of avian romance that can only be told by Mick and his preferred mode of transport is unusual but extremely photogenic.The tour costs $35NZ per head but includes transport around his preferred locations and is rounded off by a cream tea at his home high above the estuary which on its own is a sight to behold. Suitable for all ages and abilities Mick can on request accommodate largerre are some stories of avian romance that can only be told by Mick and his preferred mode of transport is unusual but extremely photogenic.The tour costs $35NZ per head but includes transport around his preferred locations and is rounded off by a cream tea at his home high above the estuary which on its own is a sight to behold. Suitable for all ages and abilities Mick can on request accommodate larger parties.

2. Fensham Bush Reserve

Upper Belvedere Road, Carterton 5791 New Zealand http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/reserves/fensham-reserve-carterton
Excellent
85%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 26 reviews

Fensham Bush Reserve

Reviewed By CycleKerry - Wellington, New Zealand

Terrific walk not far from Carterton. Well done Forest and Bird for maintaining easy to walk tracks wth a fantastic lookout over the Wairarapa.

3. West Wind Recreation Area

Opau Road, Wellington New Zealand http://www.meridianenergy.co.nz/about-us/west-wind/
Excellent
86%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 7 reviews

West Wind Recreation Area

4. Rimutaka Forest Park

Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt New Zealand
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 12 reviews

Rimutaka Forest Park

Reviewed By 767lindat - Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Wonderful place to take the family for a picnic/bush walk. River is safe for the little ones to swim and paddle. Numerous bush tracks of different grades to walk/tramp. Also a camping ground if staying for the weekend.

5. Te Rakau Birding

3626 Western Lake Road, Featherston 5773 New Zealand +64 6-307 7749 [email protected] http://www.terakaubirding.co.nz
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 4 reviews

Te Rakau Birding

Personal guided bird watching tours in the pristine natural environment of South Wairarapa.Spectacular scenery, diverse bird populations and decades of local knowledge and dedication to preserving habitat.

Reviewed By Kiwi_iwiK - Wellington, New Zealand

This was my second stay with Denise and Dougal in their unique and homely accommodation - this time with some friends when cycling the rimutaka cycle trail. As we were riding light, we took advantage of the food package - Wow! What a delicious treat! We arrived to the lovely smell of a home cooked stew waiting in the crock pot with a scrumptious home baked cake and high quality supplies for our breakfast and lunch the following day. The converted railcar accommodation is fantastic, and the chiminea with well stocked wood supply a bonus for fireside yarns late into the night in very big sky country. The ecostore products were also great for a nice hot shower at the end of the day's ride. All of us were most impressed and I will certainly be back again with the family or friends for accessible isolation at it's best!

6. Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve

Manly Street, Paraparaumu 5032 New Zealand
Excellent
83%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 6 reviews

Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve

Reviewed By 20carolj - Palmerston North, New Zealand

Awesome walk, started in Manly street and did loop around swing bridge only took 2 hrs including stops for photos. Lots to see whitebaiters and horse trekkers.Crossed 2 bridges and good to see more planting of natives. Good shot of Kapiti Island from beach entered on Manly street. Lots driftwood great for bbq’s. Also toilets half way on track and plenty places to stop and rest if need be.

7. ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

53 Waiapu Road, Wellington 6012 New Zealand +64 4-920 9200 [email protected] http://www.visitzealandia.com
Excellent
70%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2,744 reviews

ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

Imagine a lush forest full of rare native animals. Discover ZEALANDIA – an ecosanctuary home to over 40 rare native species and 32km of walking tracks. Explore the outdoors at your own pace or be led by a guide! Our nature experts will show you the best places to spot wildlife like kakariki, tuatara and takahe on a ZEALANDIA by Day tour. Relax at Rata cafe with delicious food made from sustainably sourced ingredients and admire the views over the lake. Browse locally designed art, jewellery, homewares, books, clothes and gifts at the store where the products you buy have purpose and help the sanctuary to operate. For something a little more adventurous, see how the sanctuary transforms after dark on a ZEALANDIA by Night tour and search for thousands of glow worms and over 150 kiwi. Experience this world-renowned conservation success that lies only minutes from Wellington’s CBD. As a not-for-profit, your visit helps us ensure the future flourishing of New Zealand’s native wildlife.

Reviewed By Ealgian - New York City, United States

I hope my comparison of Zealandia to Jurassic Park is not interpreted in a negative fashion. Growing up in the era of those films that gave me a deep appreciation for our natural world as well as the unique talent of human beings to mess up that natural world, it was the first comparison that came to mind upon visiting Zealand. There is truly no place like it on earth. The combination of science, engineering, and love for our planet and its creatures that Zealandia represents is infinitely inspiring. You will see and hear so many fascinating creatures here, especially birds. The tour guides will also share interesting facts about how the work of preservation is done, and the clever solutions people have devised to undo some of the damage humans have wreaked on NZ. If you take the night tour, there's a good chance you'll see kiwi birds (to see them for certain, highly recommend the Kiwi Birdlife Park in Queenstown).

8. Wellington Zoo

200 Daniell Street Newtown, Wellington 6021 New Zealand +64 4-381 6755 [email protected] https://wellingtonzoo.com/
Excellent
57%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1,501 reviews

Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo is New Zealand’s first Zoo, and Wellington’s oldest conservation organisation, caring for animals since 1906. The Zoo is a not for profit charitable trust and we're proud to be the world’s first carboNZero certified zoo. We are guided by our kaupapa Me Tiaki, Kia Ora! We must look after our environment, so all things will flourish. It is up to us collectively to make a difference for animals and the wild places they call home. See our website for entry prices and to plan your visit. If you have accessibility needs, you can find more visitor information on our website.

Reviewed By judemgard - Shrewsbury, United Kingdom

Reasonably priced and spot-on size-wise with approachable rangers and a wide range of animal environments this zoo is great in every way for kids. Take a full day and a picnic ( the food is great here but over-subscribed leading to lunchtime queues). There are water-fountains, playgrounds and picnic areas, the animals seem well-cared for and it is a treat for any animal lover. I kept losing the kids I was with but all OK and a measure of how much there is to explore. Roll on tagging!

9. Otari-Wilton's Bush Native Botanic Garden

160 Wilton Road, Wellington 6012 New Zealand +64 4-499 1400 [email protected] http://wellington.govt.nz/recreation/enjoy-the-outdoors/gardens/otariwiltons-bush/visitor-information
Excellent
67%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 277 reviews

Otari-Wilton's Bush Native Botanic Garden

Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton's Bush Reserve is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants. The Garden is a unique plant sanctuary and forest reserve and includes 100ha of native forest and 5ha of plant collections. Some of Wellington's oldest trees are here, including an 800-year-old rimu. It is classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture. Just a 10-minute drive from the CBD or take the no. 14 bus bound for Wilton and get off at the Warwick St/Wilton Rd stop. Tell the bus driver and they will be sure to stop.

Reviewed By Car0le88 - Manchester, United Kingdom

A friend took us on the Otari-Wilton Bush trails- first the circular then on to the yellow trail to see the 800 year old tree. The trails were amazing, quite a few steps up and once you get all the way to the top to see the tree, some interesting trails back to the carpark. Would love to do some more next time we visit NZ. Beautiful specimens of plants and trees.

10. Staglands Wildlife Reserve

2362 Akatarawa Road Upper Hutt, Wellington 5372 New Zealand +64 4-526 7529 [email protected] http://www.staglands.co.nz/
Excellent
70%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 762 reviews

Staglands Wildlife Reserve

Staglands Wildlife Reserve & Cafe is less than an hour from Wellington and a 'must see' attraction for anyone either living in or visiting Wellington. Staglands offers a unique experience for people of all ages to feed and freely interact with a wide range of native and exotic birds and animals in an environment that has been created with nature's materials. Open daily 9:30am-5pm. Adults $24, Children $12 (3 and under no charge)

Reviewed By job356

Staglands is set in a little valley, beautiful bush setting, this is a day out adventure, bring your lunch or enjoy the cafe, feed the animals, walk thru bird aviaries, so many other animals to enjoy, you can even go on a tractor ride, I’ll be back

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