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Top 10 things to do at Zealandia
ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary
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Top 10 things to do at Zealandia

If you're looking for fun things to do in Wellington, look no further than Zealandia! Whether you’ve been 100 times or never there’s always something new to do and see at this Wellington attraction.  

To get you started, here’s our list of the top 10 things to do when you visit:  

#1 Chase a view and explore the far reaches

What do you fancy? Lush bush as far as the eye can see? Ocean views? Ferns galore? We have it, you just have to look for it. Most visitors explore just the lower third of the sanctuary! Grab some sturdy footwear, snacks and water and trek out to the far reaches of the valley. The views and serenity will be the reward.  

Photo credit: Hayley May


#2 Find ancient tuatara 

You might think you’ve stepped into Jurassic Park when you see tuatara basking in the sun. These living fossils have barely changed since they were roaming the earth with dinosaurs. See who can spot movement first – these zen masters are notoriously chill and only if you look hard and long enough will you see a twitch or breath. 
Photo credit: Janice McKenna
Kaitiaki Ngāti Koata


 #3 Learn from a nature guru

Exploring on your own is great, but the ultimate way to experience Zealandia is to join a nature guru for a guided day tour. Their knowledge of wildlife and birdsong means you will discover even the rarest of species inside the sanctuary, like kākāriki. These bright green birds are sometimes hard to spot on your own as they flit through the lush green foliage!

Photo credit: TM Davidson


 #4 Meet a takahē 

There are now around 400 takahē in New Zealand. Seeing takahē at Zealandia is a unique opportunity, as most of these carefully protected birds live on off-shore islands or in remote mountain reserves.  As far as activities in Wellington go, this is extremely unique!

Photo credit: Brendon Doran


#5 Munch on brunch or lunch

With views over the sanctuary, our Rātā Café is “cuisine with a conscience”. One of the top activities in Wellington is to eat and here at Rātā every bite of our free-range and locally-sourced food supports conservation. Alternatively, bring a picnic and find a sunny spot on the grass or rest up on a picnic table in the sanctuary. 

Photo credit: Zealandia



#6 Be charmed by kākā 

We dare you to watch the kākā feeders at feeding time and resist grinning at the cheeky parrots’ antics. The symphony of screeches and whistles is matched by swooping and playing as the kākā compete to grab a pellet or swig of sugar water. The kākā feeders can’t be missed, they also attract a range of other manu like tūī and pāteke/brown teal duck, hoping to nab a few crumbs or steal a sip of sweet sugar water. 

Photo credit: Judi Lapsley Miller



#7 Experience Wellington's nightlife

A different kind of party gets started at Zealandia after dark. Think you've seen enough wildlife during the day? Think again. Little spotted kiwi, giant wētā, glow worms and gherkin slugs emerge as darkness descends on the valley.  Go exploring with a knowledgeable guide and enjoy a steaming cup of kawakawa tea after your nighttime adventure. 

Photo credit: Tom Lynch



#8 Walk across a 113-year-old dam 

The Upper Dam, positioned precariously over the Wellington Fault, is the first largescale concrete gravity dam in New Zealand. During its construction a 200 metre-long flying fox was strung on steel wires across the valley from one side to the other, for transporting a box filled with concrete across the dam to the required position, where a worker would empty it out. History not your thing? You'll love the 360-degree views of this Wellington attraction.

Photo credit: Janice McKenna


#9 Stand still and listen 

While there are 32km of trails to explore, one of the best ways to soak in the birdlife is to stop and listen. You’re more likely to notice the tīeke rustling in the leaves to the side of the trail, toutouwai/robin sneaking closer to your feet to snack on bugs, the high-pitched tweet of titipounamu/rifleman, and the fresh smell of the regenerating forest.

Photo credit: Janice McKenna



#10 Explore local art and crafts

You'll find locally designed art, jewellery, homewares, books, clothes and more at our shop. Best of all, you are contributing to Zealandia's vital conservation work by shopping here.

Photo credit: Zealandia



Whether you're exploring on your own, enjoying a day tour, or you come back to adventure under the cover of darkness, you won't run out of fun things to do. To reap even more benefits and show your love for native wildlife, become a member! Unlimited free entry for a year plus heaps of benefits and exclusive events.

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