Visiting Staglands Wildlife Reserve

Staglands Wildlife Reserve is located in the beautiful Akatarawa valley less than an hours' drive from Wellington city. A trip to the reserve is perfect for visitors looking for fun things to do in Wellington for kids and adults alike.

The reserve comprises several different habitats which have been carefully sculpted from 25-acres of bush and farmland. The creation of Englishman John Simister, Staglands first opened to the public in 1972. With Staglands John has meticulously created idyllic natural homes for endangered, iconic and unusual species, and he hopes that by giving visitors the chance to view and interact with the birds and animals in these peaceful settings they may become more interested in conservation and protection projects. 

Staglands Deer Park

The Staglands Deer park and croft (photo credit Staglands)

On arrival, visitors receive a map which allows them to explore each of the different areas of Staglands and most paths are accessible with wheelchairs and baby carriages. Enjoy spotting Grey, Brown or Black Teal, Canada and Graylag Geese, New Zealand and Australian Shelducks, Mute Swans, Mandarin Wood Ducks and other wildfowl who have found a safe and protected breeding site in The Forest Wetland. Marvel at the incredible plumage of the different species of birds in the walk-through Toe Toe Aviary, and if you are lucky, one of the most brightly coloured residents, the nectar feeding Rainbow Lorikeet, might even treat you to a unique hair grooming service!

Enjoy relaxed encounters with silky bantams, guinea pigs, Kune Kune piglets and other creatures in The Stables area and The Deer Park, and be sure not to miss the magical Secret Garden, the goldfish pond and the wishing well. For the younger members of the family some of the best Wellington attractions might be Jock the giant Clydesdale, Daphne the donkey, Monty and Millie the Miniature Highland Cattle and Mork and Mindy the emus. 

Create a feeding frenzy in The Trout & Eel Pool and explore the abandoned Akatawara Bush Settlement and be transported back in time to get a unique glimpse into the lives of the early pioneers. Stroll along the boardwalks by The Tarn and climb the hill behind The Croft for a spectacular view over Staglands, there is plenty here for all the family to enjoy.

Your tour of Staglands begins and ends at the unique log cabin licenced café, made of local Douglas Fir. Here you can enjoy a delicious meal inside beside the open fire during colder months and there is also seating outside on the deck, and a picnic and BBQ area. Every day at 12.45pm the lunch time feed tour leaves from here which offers the visitor a chance to learn more about some of the creatures of the reserve from a knowledgeable ranger. The tour is included in your entry fee as is a spectacular river crossing off-road tractor trailer ride.

Bush settlement at Staglands The old bush settlement at Staglands (photo credit Staglands)

John's vision has created a wonderful Wellington attraction, and the Staglands Wildlife Reserve also forms an important part of conservation programs. Working with the Department of Conservation, Staglands is allowed to hold native birds and animals including the Blue Duck (Whio), the Kea, the Bush Falcon, the North Island Kaka, and the Brown Teal as part of the captive breeding program. These birds which are bred in captivity are used to educate visitors, and to develop husbandry techniques to promote the survival of the species. The program also provides a reserve of animals which can be released into the wild if there should be a decrease in the wild population, and is a project that Staglands works passionately on alongside other conservation groups.

Staglands Wildlife Reserve allows you to discover how you can help to preserve and protect the wonderful creatures of New Zealand, whilst having a great day out at one of Wellington’s best attractions. For visitors wanting to get the most out of their visit to New Zealand’s capital, hire a Wellington rental car from Omega Rental Cars and explore all the vibrant city has to offer at your own pace.