A horticultural hot spot of color and sweet fragrances features native plants, rare trees and glowing insects.
A 62-acre (25-hectare) site on the side of a hill, the Wellington Botanic Garden fills its grounds with thousands of plants and flowers from hundreds of species. They include roses, begonias, exotic herbs, camellias and more than 50 conifer species. The pastoral environment is embellished with fountains, sculptures and carvings, and a duck pond.
Head for the Main Garden near the Founders’ Entrance Gates. This is where you will find the duck pond and floral displays that change with the seasons. One of the best times to enjoy this garden is during spring when more than 25,000 tulips are in bloom.
Step into the Native Forest, one of Wellington’s oldest reserves of indigenous flora. These remnants of native forest predate the European settlement of Wellington and include the garden’s oldest tree, a gnarled hīnau that’s more than 200 years old.
Wander through the three rock gardens and enjoy the sights and smells of the 3,000 roses in the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. Meander along the self-guided walking trails. There are several to choose from. Print and braille brochures for the Solander Trail and the Sensation Walk can be picked up from the Treehouse Visitor Centre.
If you need to keep young ones occupied take them to the children’s play area. It has slides, swings and an enclosed section for toddlers.
One of the garden’s most intriguing attractions is its glow worms. They can be seen at night by the duck pond, especially after it’s been raining. To learn about these fascinating creatures, take one of the guided tours that are available throughout the year. Visit the Botanic Garden’s website for details.
Wellington Botanic Garden is just a few minutes’ drive from the city center. A cable car from Lambton Quay arrives every 10 minutes at the top of the garden, which is also served by two bus routes. If you are going to drive there is a public car park inside the garden, with free parking for two hours.
The garden is open daily from dawn until dusk.