Zealandia Eco Sanctuary

Zealandia is the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, which is a huge 225 hectare’s where they have reintroduced over 20 species of native wildlife back into the area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.

Our son Marcus who has ASD has a huge passion for NZ Native Birds, he absolutely loves them and can name most of them by sight. So in July 2019 when we surprised him with a trip to Wellington, we made sure we included a trip to Zealandia Eco Sanctuary .

Zealandia is the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, which is a huge 225 hectare’s where they have reintroduced over 20 species of native wildlife back into the area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.
Inside the sanctuary building their is the most incredibly informative display area telling about the the land and animals. You get to listen in on a very informative talk and check out all about the history behind the land the sanctuary was developed on.

Make sue if you have kids, grab one of the kids Fauna and Flora Hunt sheets before you head in, they are a great way to keep the kids engaged and something fun for them to do. Once you have passed through the Bio Security area and head in to the sanctuary, I strongly suggest waiting as the wee jetty by the Valve Tower for the boat.
This wee boat is just a gold coin donation and will take you for a ride up to the top of the dams lake. Along the way the conductor will talk to you all about the dam, tell you all about the birds you see along the way including the incredible shags. They will also give you some awesome information about a lot of the plants in the area, its well worth the trip.

Once you get off the boat it is just a small stroll to what was the highlight of the sanctuary for me!! seeing the Takahe up close walking around right in front of you !! it was just incredible !! I was blown away with how big they were in real life, these magnificent birds were truly spectacular.

From their we followed the recommended route around the sanctuary. This brought us around passed the Weta motels and through some beautiful bush areas. Even though it was raining on the day we visited it did not dampen it at all. Their was so much wild life to see every where you looked, the bird life was just incredible ! we were so engaged with our surroundings we actually forgot to whip out the camera to snap a lot of the wild life we were seeing.
The kids ticked off all the Flora an Fauna they seen along the way, Marcus loved spotting all the different birds. He even started to take a count of how many of each bird he seen.

Their was some really neat interactive displays along the way, and lots of beautiful bush and flora to admire.
At the top of the sanctuary is the upper dam, even on the overcast day that we visited it was still an awesome sight.
Heading back down the sanctuary on our way out we looked over the side of the fence to see if we could spot any Tuatara’s. By that stage the rain was starting to set in and so we thought their was no chance of seeing one but as soon as we looked over the fence this wee dude was looking back at us.
It was an incredible morning well spent exploring, the sanctuary is well laid out even included wee step stools for kids to stand on to get good views over the fences.

I would definitely recommend visiting Zealandia if you are ever in Wellington, especially if you have a interest in NZ wildlife. The recommended route track is very easy walking that even young children would be more than capable of. We spent about 2 1/2hrs exploring but could have easily spent longer.

Their is also a fantastic cafe on site, so you could quite easily spend the morning exploring then finish it off with a nice bite to eat at the cafe.

Munchkin Review 

"the boat ride was so much fun and the Tuatara was sooooo cool" Meika O'Donnell aged 6

Kiwi Guardian Link

Adventure Notes

Location

What to Bring

Walking shoes, Rain jacket in cold months, Water bottle and coins for the wee boat.

Time and Distance

I would allow at least half a day to explore.

Munchkin Info

Not pram friendly.

Cost

Cost at time of trip (July 2019) : Family pass consisting of 2 Adults and up to 3 kids $110

Other Info

No Dogs

Facilities

- Toilets
- Cafe
- Gift Shop

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