Zealandia Wildlife Sanctury
Updated: Jan 24, 2022
13th May 2017
Location: 53 Waiapu Road, Karori. There is limited free parking available at the ZEALANDIA Visitor Centre. Additional parking is available 500m away in the Birdwood Road carpark.
Zealandia is a wildlife sanctuary in the heart of Wellington. It is nestled in a valley in Karori and was built around the old Wellington Water Reservoir. The sanctuary is protected by a predator proof fence which runs all the way along the top of the surrounding hills.
At the entrance of Zealandia is an Information Centre that covers what you'll see in the park and a little bit about the natural history of New Zealand (the kid's loved this space). There's also a great kid friendly café upstairs.
Zealandia contains a wide variety of birds (40+ rare species), this includes the famous Takahē which was an absolute delight.
There are a number of walking tracks throughout the sanctuary. These vary from wide buggy friendly paths to more serious walks that include stairs and a climb to the top of the valley. Of course we took the longest walk which takes you around the circumference of the park (and isn't buggy friendly). Check out this visitors map for more detail.
The only real downside of Zealandia is that you have to pay for entry. For our family is was about $35 (but check out the website for up to date pricing). They also run a few events such as Babes go Bush and the Kids Night Walk.
There is usually an annual gold coin day, so if you keep an eye out for that you can save some cash. Just note that if you're seeking peace and tranquility it might not be your cup of tea. The entire population of Wellington seems to congregate at Zealandia on gold coin day.
Age of Kids: 2 and 4
Walking Time: 2 - 4 hours (depending on how much time you spend exploring)
Buggy Friendly: Yes
Amenities: Toilets and food at the Information Centre + another set of toilets just north of the lake. There are also lots of tables/seats around the sanctuary
Cellphone Reception: Yes