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Zealandia Ecosanctuary
Zealandia Ecosanctuary

Zealandia Ecosanctuary

53 Waiapu Road, Wellington, New Zealand, 6012

The Basics

There are multiple ways to trace the development of New Zealand’s natural history in Zealandia. Take a guided walking tour through the predator-proof, 550-acre (225-hectare) sanctuary, home to endemic birds such as the kakariki, tui, takahe, and kaka, as well as a variety of frogs and lizards plus the rare green gecko and tuatara. Visitors can learn to spot highly endangered birds by their distinctive features, birdsong, and behaviors.

Discover what Aotearoa/New Zealand was like before human impact and see extinct species such as the moa and Haast’s eagle via multimedia exhibits. Entrance fees are typically included with bookings of small-group walking tours. Twilight tours offer visitors a chance to witness diurnal birds nesting down for the night, while nocturnal species such as the ruru (morepork) awaken. Visit after hours to experience Zealandia’s Sanctuary Valley at night, and you may glimpse the little spotted kiwi.

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Zealandia Small Group Eco Wildlife Night Tour
Zealandia Small Group Eco Wildlife Night Tour
star-4.5
$55.36 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Never thought I wd see...
Never thought I wd see kiwi in the wild … and we saw three! Perfectly paced evening in a very special environment.
Sally_D, May 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Wellington

star-5
Kiwi spotted!
lizzee, May 2022
Zealandia Small Group Eco Wildlife Night Tour
We saw a kiwi on the grass at the start of our tour - it seemed unconcerned about having an audience and let us get up quite close!
star-5
Perfect evening in the sanctuary
Julianne_L, Apr 2022
Zealandia Small Group Eco Wildlife Night Tour
Turns out that dusk is a perfect time to be there. Our sharp-eyed guide and spotter found lots of night-time treasures for us, including Maud Island frogs and kiwi. Highly-recommended.
star-5
Excellent
Brian_S, Mar 2022
Small Group Daytime 2-Hour Eco Wildlife Tour at Zealandia
It was great to get Up close to native birds and tuatara. The guide was very knowledgeable and friendly.
star-5
Fantastic guided tour
Susan_L, Jun 2021
Small Group Daytime 2-Hour Eco Wildlife Tour at Zealandia
Grant (1pm Thurs 24/6/21) was an excellent guide. He knew where to look to see numbers of birds (10) , recognize bird song and spot the bird. Was awesome. Saw birds we had never seen in live form.
star-5
So worth it
Emily_K, Mar 2022
Zealandia Small Group Eco Wildlife Night Tour
We saw so many native species including like 10 tuatara and a little spotted kiwi it was a fantastic experience and well worth it
star-5
Wonderful!
Helen, Mar 2020
Zealandia - Twilight Guided Eco Wildlife Tour
This was an amazing experience - best of both worlds (daytime and night time). We saw so much and Ash, our guide, was knowledgeable, patient and an excellent presenter. Anyone visiting Wellington should include Zealandia, and a tour, in their itinerary.
star-5
Twilight delight
Clive_B, Mar 2020
Zealandia - Twilight Guided Eco Wildlife Tour
Excellent guided tour at twilight as the birds were starting to roost in their trees for the night. Very knowledgeable guide called AJ took us round the park. We saw tuatara moving around (usually stationary waiting for a meal to fly past) and two small spotted kiwis foraging for food with their long bills plus many other birds. Great tour.
star-4
Best outdoor education experience
Marilyn_C, Apr 2021
Small Group Daytime 2-Hour Eco Wildlife Tour at Zealandia
Impressive vision, enjoyed every minute. Bonus that Zealandia experience is so accessible to all in and around Wellington.
star-5
Worth doing guided tour
Stephanie_H, Jan 2021
Small Group Daytime 2-Hour Eco Wildlife Tour at Zealandia
We was a tuatara . The whole experience was incredible. Definitely recommend the guided tour. Easy walking too
star-5
Awesome
Vanessa_M, Dec 2020
Small Group Daytime 2-Hour Eco Wildlife Tour at Zealandia
Great place awesome guides kids loved it! Really educational or all of us. Tuatara we’re a hit as we’re takehe
star-5
Fabulous guided tour
Mary_C, Dec 2020
Small Group Daytime 2-Hour Eco Wildlife Tour at Zealandia
I had a fabulous guide, who was so helpful, and showed me so many special things. I also loved the boat trip.
star-5
A "Must do" when visiting the Wellington area (or anywhere nearby).
Kevin_K, Mar 2020
Zealandia Small Group Eco Wildlife Night Tour
A wonderful evening. Our guides were VERY knowledgeable and also fun and endearing. A small group (Max. 12) is the perfect size. Well paced and consideration given to those a bit slower walking. It was like 3 tours in one because we also got to see glow-worms and a huge eel. This is also a really feel-good environmentally positive thing that is being done... so you should definitely feel good supporting Zealandia.
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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Zealandia is a must-visit attraction for natural-history buffs, birders, and families with children.

  • General admission is self-guided, while tours range from 1.5 to 2.5 hours in duration.

  • A significant area of the sanctuary is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.

  • Refuel at the park’s café overlooking the lake; the menu is organic and sustainably sourced.

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How to Get There

Located at 53 Waiapu Road, the Karori wildlife sanctuary is just over a mile (around 2 kilometers) from downtown Wellington. Buses stop at the end of the road, about a 2-minute walk from the entrance. It’s 10 minutes by taxi, 20 minutes by bike, and around 30 minutes on foot via the top of Wellington Botanic Garden. Alternatively, a free shuttle picks up Zealandia visitors from the i-SITE or the end of the Wellington Cable Car.

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When to Get There

Zealandia is open daily for general admission 10am–5pm, except on Christmas Day. Last entry is at 4pm, with the exception of night tours, which depart around dusk. Twilight tours run October–March, while kids’ night tours run April–September.

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Rare Sighting Little Spotted Kiwi

Wildlife conservation and ecological restoration at Zealandia is overseen by the Karori Sanctuary Trust, which has managed to restore the only wild population of little spotted kiwi found on the mainland. With just 40 birds originally transferred from Kapiti Island starting in 2000, current estimates place the elusive and almost extinct flightless bird at more than 140 at Zealandia. Chances of seeing them or hearing their calls are best during a night tour.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Zealandia Ecosanctuary?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Wellington?
A:
As well as visiting the Zealandia Ecosanctuary, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: