Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary

Visitors to Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne will quickly learn why it was named one of the 100 most incredible places in the world by Time magazine. The world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary is an incredible slice of wilderness and is just ten minutes from Wellington central.

Zealandia is a pioneering sanctuary enclosed within an 8.6km predator-proof fence designed by Karori Sanctuary Trust to keep out mammalian pests such as possums, rats and cats. Zealandia’s 500-year vision is to turn back the clock on Wellington's native environment, restoring the sanctuary valley to the way it was before the arrival of humans and the introduction of animals.

Come and explore part of the sanctuary's 225 hectares of natural area at your own pace or be led by a knowledgeable guide. By day, search for rare birds like the tīeke/saddleback, and spot prehistoric reptiles like the tuatara relaxing in the sun. By night, discover nocturnal wildlife and search for the bioluminescent creatures that will light your path. You’ll be mesmerised by Zealandia ecosanctuary’s after-dark transformation.

Visit Zealandia in Wellington on the North Island of New Zealand, and expect the unexpected.


When to Visit Zealandia Sanctuary

Zealandia is open every day except Christmas Day.

Dawn tour available: May to August on the weekend

Be greeted by the sound of a resident native bird, the tīeke, announcing the start of a new day at the Zealandia ecosanctuary. Keep your eyes peeled for glow worms and the little spotted kiwi hiding amongst the native trees.

Day tours available: Daily

Take an immersive stroll to witness the incredible native wildlife as your guide uses their knowledge of birdsong, habitats, and native flora to find species such as tīeke, whitehead, kākā and kākāriki.

Twilight tours available: October to March

Experience the natural beauty of the lush forest at twilight. Watch the native birds return to their nests and listen for the first sounds of nocturnal birds, such as kiwi and ruru.

Night tour available: Nightly

Buy a nightly guided tour ticket to explore Zealandia wildlife sanctuary after dark. Your guide will lead you by torchlight in search of some of the distinct sights and sounds of New Zealand’s native forest. Watch out for rare animal species such as wētā, the Maud Island Frog and tuatara.


How to Get to Zealandia

Zealandia is only 20 minutes’ drive from Wellington International Airport, along State Highway 1, and a ten-minute drive from the central city.


Zealandia offers a free shuttle service picking up and dropping off visitors from outside the city i-SITE and from the Wellington Cable Car lookout.


The public bus stops at the end of Waiapu Road, just a two-minute walk from Zealandia ecosanctuary.

Cable Car

Take the Wellington cable car from Lambton Quay to the top of the Botanic Gardens. From there, you can walk 20 to 30 minutes to the sanctuary or take the free shuttle.


Exploring the Wildlife Sanctuary

Self-guided tours are included in the general admission ticket, giving you access to over 32km of biodiversity-rich tracks. Search for some unique native birds, reptiles, invertebrates and native plants within the fully fenced ecosanctuary that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

We imagine you’ll work up an appetite during your journey of discovery. You can bring your own water and snacks or enjoy some delicious food with stunning views over the sanctuary at Rātā café.-


Hire a car for your trip with Omega Rental Cars

Omega Rental Cars has two convenient Wellington locations. If you’re flying in, pick up a late-model, high-quality rental from our airport location. Or visit our depot on Hutt Road, just 5 minutes from the city centre. We can even arrange a complimentary shuttle service. You’ll find Omega depots in major cities across the North Island and South Island of New Zealand. Book with us today!