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Girl looks through huge binoculars at Zealandia

Turning back time with Zealandia 

Only 10 minutes out of Wellington Zealandia is flanked by a 8.6km long fence to keep predators out and help them realise their objective to wind back the time 1,000 years. For the less environmentally conscious of us it is a wonderful walk surrounded by bird song while knowing your donation is helping support this wonderful work.

There are many ways to get to Zealandia but the Cable Car has to be the most fun – particularly now the tunnels have been transformed into light shows.


Another of Wellington’s icons, the Cable Car’s leave frequently and traverse the hill up to Kelburn and the botanical gardens with ease. The only place in New Zealand that you can ride a historic cable car, it won’t break the bank with a return family trip costing just $19.

Once at the top of the Cable Car make sure you pause to take in the stunning view. Once you have done this (it should be mandatory), there is a free shuttle over to Zealandia (check on their website for times). Not only will you get friendly service on the drive – you will also learn more about the history of Zealandia and their vision for the future.

View of Wellington from top of cable car

Once inside Zealandia you will be given a map – which is helpful because there are so many paths to choose.

We started out with the electric boat. Being electric the boat glides smoothly and quietly through the water, allowing you to get up close to the shags and other birds on the water.


Once over the other side you are immersed in forest with the constant sound of birds singing and a peek every now and then of tuatara or birds.


There are Kiwi there but being nocturnal creatures we didn’t see any – there are special trips at Zealandia however that will get you closer.

Throughout the sanctuary there are lots of volunteers who will help you find your way around and help you spot some of the hidden reptiles and birds on the way.

An easy walk will take you up to the upper dam where you can walk along an impressive suspension bridge and look out over the valley.


We spent 2 hours here and could have spent longer. The walk is easy, although not always paved and entirely suitable for kids.


You will find them at the end of Waiapu Road, Karori and can find out more about them here.

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