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Zealandia (Karori Sanctuary)

Zealandia is one of the best places to see and hear New Zealand’s native wildlife in its natural environment. Its fenced sanctuary valley protects endangered birds, reptiles and insects plus offers over 30km of walking tracks and guided tours free with admission. A fascinating indoor exhibition explains why NZ’s natural heritage is so special and how it can be saved. Night tours can be booked for your chance to see little spotted kiwi in the wild. See Zealandia’s website for further information.

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Otari-Wilton’s Bush

Otari-Wilton’s Bush is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants. Otari consists of 100 hectares of native forest and five hectares of native plant collections. It is classified as a Garden of National Significance. Also see Wellington City Council’s website for further information about Otari.

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Oruaiti Reserve (Breaker Bay / Point Dorset)

Oruaiti Reserve is a prominent, undeveloped, coastal escarpment at the entrance to Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour). Enjoy stunning views south across the harbour, up the Hutt Valley and across to the Pencarrow Heads and the Lighthouse. Also see Wellington City Council’s website for further information on Oruaiti Reserve and the management plan for the Reserve.

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Makara Coast and Estuary

Wild, windswept Makara on Wellington’s rugged west coast is an iconic site for people around the region. Follow the winding road past the wind turbines, walk the foreshore or explore one of the many tracks on the beautiful Makara coast. A range of shore birds can be seen on the shore, while the estuary is an important feeding and spawning ground.

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Khandallah Park and Mt Kaukau

Mount Kaukau is the highest point overlooking Wellington Harbour. To the east you will see the Rimutaka Ranges, the city and harbour. To the north the Tararua Ranges. To the south Mt Tapuae-o-Uenuku, a beautiful 2885m mountain in the Kaikoura Ranges (South Island) is visible.

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Makara Peak

Makara Peak has become Wellington’s premier mountain biking destination containing 30km of tracks, and only 15 minutes drive from downtown Wellington. Makara Peak’s hilltops are clothed in manuka/kanuka shrub land transitioning to native tree lined gulllies and on to a restored stream aquatic habitat. See the Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park website for more information.

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Trelissick Park

Trelissick Park contains 20 hectares of native bush and a wide variety of native tree species and native birds. It is located in Ngaio Gorge and includes Kaiwharawhara and Korimako streams and a number of walkways. Trelissick Park Group is very active in the protection of the area.

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Miramar Peninsula

Thanks to the Greater Wellington Regional Council, the Miramar Peninsula is the only area of Wellington that is possum-free. Already the benefits are obvious, with the numbers of tuis increasing 100 fold since the Council’s work began. With the 70 ha Watt Peninsula on the northern tip of Miramar to be protected as a reserve, Forest and Bird’s dream of a pest-free mainland island (Like Zealandia but wityout the fence) is closer to reality.

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Long Gully Bush

Long Gully Bush is a triangle  of native bush that runs from Zealandia down to the South Karori Road.  At just over 100 ha, it is the largest block of private protected land in the city.  It is mostly owned by the Wellington Natural Heritage Trust with the rest co-managed with neighbours.  The Trust was formed by a group of prominent Wellington environmentalists  in 1999 to buy the core of the property, when the City Council declined to do so.  Since then the Trust has constructed a fence to protect it from goats and employed the Regional Council to control pests.  Many Zealandia-sourced birds have been seen in the bush, including the saddleback

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