Stitchbird at Zealandia, Wellington © Joao Inacio

Zealandia: the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

Zealandia, formerly known as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, packs an awful lot into a relatively small (less than 2.6 square kilometres) space.

Its location is remarkable: a totally protected natural environment within the environs of Wellington itself. Ten minutes from the CBD, to not put too fine a point on it. Step outside the fortress-like pest-exclusion fence and you’re back in suburban Wellington: step within and you’re in a wildlife paradise.

That fence, a world first, is critical to the wellbeing of the whole sanctuary; completed in late 1999 it then gave rise to a millennial mammalian move-out, where 19 unwanted species got turfed so as to protect the hundreds of others in, and being introduced to, the park itself. Deer and mice got gone, and the flora and the fauna continued their recovery.

What’s really on display here is a 500-year vision to restore the city’s forest and freshwater ecosystems to their original state. Now that’s a strategic plan.

Pre-human occupancy is the objective, though we are allowed visiting rights. We strongly suggest you exercise them, and yourselves, because this is a wonderful oasis in the urban desert.

Species of native trees too numerous to mention are regenerating and 18 species of native wildlife have been reintroduced to the area, six of which had previously been absent from mainland New Zealand for over a century. You can spot tuatara, tui and more: more birds, insects and other wildlife than you can shake a stick at. And don’t shake a stick, they’re friendly little guys here.

Worthy, wonderful, a wildlife walk that stretches to 30km of walking tracks. So get your boots on, but make sure you clean them thoroughly first. This is a pristine place.


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

More things I love about Wellington

Cartoonist Sarah Laing explores the things she loves about Wellington, from the random buskerings of Cuba Mall to the tropical respite of the Begonia House. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Things I love about Wellington

Discover the perfect place to be downright gothy (because Vladislav and Viego and What We Do in the Shadows) . . .  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Wellington Waterfront: where writers' words are cast

 John McCrystal pounds the pavement and takes in the Wellington Writers Walk on the waterfront, the envy not only of most other New Zealand cities, but also around the world. And so are its writers, including Katherine Mansfield, Robin Hyde, Bruce Mason, Maurice Gee and Patricia Grace. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Homegrown: serving up local musical treats for a decade

You’ve wandered among the wildlife at Zealandia, you’ve soaked up the citylife along the waterfront, observed bustling bureaucracy at the Beehive: now, you are ready to rock! Read the story . . . 

Wellington City Where to stay in

The Wellesley Boutique Hotel

Wellesley Boutique Hotel, Heritage's boutique Wellington hotel and conference centre, is located in the centre of the Wellington CBD, and is the perfe . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now

From $33.3
YHA Wellington City

5 Star Qualmark rated and Enviro Gold awarded hostel in one of the most central locations in Wellington. Here are some of the features our guests love . . . More . . . 

From $33.3

Book now

Book now

9 /10
From $140
ASURE 83 By The Sea Motor Lodge

LOWER HUTT / PETONE MOTEL Accommodation , Great location easy walking to cafes, restaurants and Petone shopping and immediately adjacent to beach. 8km . . . More . . . 

From $140

Book now

Book now

Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay

If location is everything, then this hotel in Wellington has it all. Located on Wellington's premier street, Oriental Parade, the Copthorne Hotel Well . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now