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, tūī 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.

Explore more...


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

Heritage and history

Wellington Waterfront: where writers' words are cast

The Wellington Writers Walk on the waterfront, the envy not only of most other New Zealand cities but also around the world.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Activities

Wellington: culture, activities and the weather

From ballet to fashion to art to birds to parliament to gardens – Wellington's got it all (just try to get it on a good day). Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Heritage and history

Wellington: the coolest capital

If you want real drama, come here by air when Wellington’s on song. For our beloved capital city is synonymous for most Kiwis with wind. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Activities

Kāpiti Island Nature Reserve: an accessible island sanctuary

Reckon on a kākā landing on your shoulder or a weka scurrying over your feet, all to the calls of kākāriki, bellbird, robin and saddleback. Read the story . . . 

Wellington City Where to stay in

Wellington's Kiwi Holiday Park Visit website

More than an average camping ground, Harcourt Holiday Park is a unique combination of motels, tourist flats, cabins and on-site caravans spread out in 4.5 . . . More . . . 

4.3 /5
Park Hotel Lambton Quay Visit website

WELCOME TO PARK HOTEL A place to stop, rest, relax and take time out. Centrally located for work or play, Park Hotel is a contemporary . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now

4.1 /5
Asure Bucket Tree Lodge Visit website

The Bucket Tree Lodge is Tawa's only Motel and is situated in Willowbank Reserve occupying a site of historical significance in Wellington. . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now

Southgate Motor Inn Visit website

Southgate Motor Inn - affordable and luxurious - adding another dimension of style and sophistication to Wellington's accommodation scene. Situated opposite Wellington Hospital and set . . . More . . .