It’s time to discover Wellington’s wildest places.
There’s magic, adventure and Wild Things to find. Experience the wild side of Wellington at ten of our most spectacular and enriching outdoor locations. Explore our adventure map and see which Wild Things you can find! Don’t forget to share this site with someone whose own little wild things would love a day out in Wellington’s wildest places.
Nga Manu Nature Reserve
Nga Manu Nature Reserve contains the largest remnant of original lowland coastal wetland forest on the Kapiti Coast. Along with tuatara, kiwi and silver ferns, Nga Manu has a range of over 700 different plant species along with heaps of native animals including morepork, kea, kaka, water fowl, fantails, kereru – not to mention the hungry eels! Walk, watch and feed the birds and eels – and yourself in a range of picnic and BBQ areas.
Staglands Wildlife Reserve
There may be no better place for the kids to get ‘hands on’ with nature than this extensive reserve, offering a vast array of experiences. From aviaries, trout pools, stables, deer parks, forest wetlands and meeting the young animals, guinea pigs and rabbits in the stables – Staglands is a day out that the family will not forget.
Battle Hill Farm Forest Park
Battle Hill Farm Forest Park offers walks, mountain biking, horse riding through ridgetop paddocks, wetlands, native bush and forest. Also the site of a working farm, you can explore a range of easy to challenging trails and walkways. Take your tent for an overnight stay, pack a picnic and feed the hungry eels!
The only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants, this extensive reserve includes untouched native forest, five hectares of specialist plant collections, and some of Wellington’s oldest trees – including an 800-year-old rimu. From hill walks, fern valleys to bush streams, there’s a mix of trails to suit every level of walker – and great family spaces to enjoy Wellington’s natural beauty.
ZEALANDIA is a ground-breaking conservation project nestled in the hills of Wellington. The 225 hectare ecosanctuary is home to some of New Zealand’s most rare and extraordinary creatures, including tuatara, takahe, saddleback, kaka, and little spotted kiwi, all thriving together in the wild. With an interactive exhibition, sustainable café, and friendly volunteer guides, ZEALANDIA is a great place to get your wild things out!
Wellington Zoo is great place to connect with animals and learn about how you can help to care for our environment to save animals in the wild. Bring your wild things out at the new precinct Meet the Locals He Tuku Aroha and join the Zoo’s celebration of New Zealand’s unique natural environment.
Wellington Botanic Garden
Wellington Botanic Garden is 25 hectares of unique landscape, protected native forest, conifers, specialised plant collections, colourful floral displays, and views over Wellington city. Head up and down on the Cable Car, take the bus or park right outside – and enjoy a huge variety of walks, indoor and outdoor gardens, as well as one of Wellington’s most spectacular children’s playgrounds.
One of Wellington’s most spectacular natural places, Matiu/Somes Island is a tranquil retreat for wildlife and visitors alike. Over 30 years of extensive regeneration and predator removal has created a sheltered environment for native wild life, weta, tuatara, skinks and geckos – and the little blue penguin. A gentle walking track takes you around the 24.8 hectare island – including the country’s first lighthouse.
Kaitoke Regional Park
Nestled in the foothills of the Tararua Ranges, Kaitoke Regional Park features centuries-old rata, rimu and beech forest, tranquil river pools, and spectacular views that inspired ‘Rivendell’ in the Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. Overnight camping, bush walks, tramping, swimming, horse riding, and mountain biking are all encouraged – or you can just unwind with friends and family while discovering a truly unforgettable location.
Pukaha Mount Bruce
Pukaha Mount Bruce is home to the world’s only white kiwi in captivity, Manukura, who lives in our kiwi house. See native NZ birds up close such as kokako, takahe and hihi. Enjoy the daily eel feed at 1.30pm and the kaka circus at 3pm. With our great café, indoor exhibition and kiwi house there are things to keep families busy rain or shine.