Top 8 things to do at Zealandia in winter
Kiwi don’t hibernate in winter – so why should you? Pull on a jacket and a beanie and embrace the elements - there’s plenty to do in Wellington in winter. Kids can visit Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne for free during the July school holidays*! We have a coloring-in competition, activities, and workshops throughout the winter break.
Here's our winter activity inspiration whether you have kids in tow or are looking for something to do with mates.
Zealandia is a short 10-minute drive from Wellington CBD with plenty of parking or take our (heated) electric shuttle for free from the iSite or the top of the Cable Car.
#1 See birds flocking together
Only in autumn and winter will you see unusual species of birds flocking together. Species like pōpokotea/whitehead, pīwakawaka, riroriro/grey warbler and tīeke/saddleback group travel as an inter-species bird gang through the forest, chattering and foraging. Birds do this to reduce predator risk and focus more time on foraging than looking out for danger.
#2 Walk to the suspension bridge
If you’re looking for a short- to medium-length walk that isn’t going to muddy your shoes and keeps you close to the warmth of Rātā Café in case the weather takes a turn, then a stroll along Lake Rd to the suspension bridge is an excellent route This trail takes you past some Zealandia highlights including kākā and hihi feeders, tuatara dens and stunning views from the suspension bridge. With concrete and gravel underfoot and lush bush canopy overhead, you are protected from the worst of the elements.
#3 Experience a different kind of nightlife
The silver lining of winter’s early dusk is Zealandia By Night tours begin early evening, rather than late at night. With the damper conditions, you are likely to spot more gherkin slugs and spectacular glowworms. Plus, kiwi pukupuku/little spotted kiwi have a high rate of sightings in winter. Exploring by torchlight, you’ll soon forget the cold and a steaming cup of kawakawa tea at the end of your tour will warm you right back up. Zealandia members receive a 50% discount on night tours. Winter also brings Kids’ Night Walks – fun and adventurous experiences for families with young children. These shorter, kid-friendly night tours only run through April-September.
#4 Try our new winter menu
Winter means warm and cozy food! Our onsite café Rātā Café has a new head chef on board, and he is putting a twist on our old favourites and creating new dishes and cabinet food you’ll want to try out. If you’re looking for something lighter, we have new scone flavours every day – including a new favourite feta and kawakawa pesto.
#5 Search for magical fungi
Buried under the soil of trees and plants, a kingdom of life has waited all year to make an appearance. With the rain, comes the sprouting of a magical world of fungi in Zealandia. One day you might be wonderstruck by a bright yellow jelly-like wax cap nestled in a mossy log, the next you might be delighted to discover the dainty parasols of Diminutive Mycena.
#6 See a sanctuary sunrise
With a steaming cup of kawakawa tea in hand and rays of sunlight appearing over the hills, touching the canopy of native bush, the Zealandia At Dawn tour is worth the early wake up. Experience the awakening of the sanctuary at dawn during this special guided experience. Hear the first sounds of tīeke and hihi as they herald the start of a brand-new day. Dawn tours only run on weekends from May to August. Zealandia members receive a 50% discount.
#7 Check out something sweet in the shop or sample in our cafe
Kiwifruit & Kawakawa is the latest exclusive syrup flavour by Six Barrel Soda. Inspired by the wildlife and plant life in Zealandia, the zesty new flavour gives back to conservation, with $1 from each bottle sold donated to Zealandia. This limited-edition drink was released to sweeten your winter and won’t be on the shelves for long. Sample it as a hot or cold drink at Rātā Café and buy a bottle in the Zealandia gift shop or online.
#8 See a life-size moa
It’s big. It’s real-looking. It’s extinct but no less impressive. Keep warm and dry in the Zealandia exhibition, which tells the story of New Zealand’s natural history with interactive exhibits and a movie.
*Ts and Cs:
Offer available for persons aged 17 years and under and applies to tickets purchased between 9-24 July 2022. Children entering for free must be accompanied by at least one paying adult. Limit of 5 "child-free entries" per paying adult. Offer does not apply to school holiday programmes, school groups or community groups. Offer applies to Child General Admission only. Offer does not apply to memberships.