One of New Zealand’s oldest gardens, Wellington Botanic Garden is an escape from the clamor of the city, in the city. Right behind the Wellington CBD in Thorndon, this 62-acre (25-hectare) garden is full of native and exotic plants. Stroll along one of the many calm, tranquil paths and take some relaxing time away from the urban jungle.
The Wellington Botanic Garden showcases plants from all over the world. There are gardens dedicated to Australian plants and Southeast Asian camellias, tulips and succulents, European conifers and native hīnau (some of which have been there since before Wellington was settled in the 1800s). Highlights include the Lady Norwood Rose Garden—a sprawling formal rose garden arranged around a fountain, with more than 3,000 roses—and the Begonia House, a hothouse with a wide range of tropical flowers and tuberous begonias. Explore these gardens while walking the area’s many paths, which are suitable for people of almost all fitness levels. Bring the kids to the Discovery Garden, where they can learn about the plants around them and how to take care of their own environment.
Many travelers discover the garden’s many secrets on a garden tour, held on the third Sunday and fourth Monday of each month. Some small-group and bus city sightseeing tours stop here to experience the rose garden and Begonia House.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Wellington Botanic Garden is a must for nature lovers and those looking for a nature-filled respite from the city.
- Sit back with a coffee or an ice cream at the Gardens’ Picnic Cafe, located right outside the Lady Norwood Rose Garden.
- Explore the six striking statues along the Botanic Garden Sculpture Trail.
- Visit the Peace Garden, which holds a flame created by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, presented by the people of Japan in recognition of New Zealand’s nuclear-free movement.
- The garden is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. Mobility scooters are available; book in advance.
How to Get There
The Wellington Botanic Garden is easily accessible from central Wellington. To reach the top of the garden, take the Wellington Cable Car all the way to the top. To start from the bottom and work your way up, catch the number 2 Karori bus from Courtenay Place or Lambton Quay to Glenmore Street and get off at stop 5313.
When to Get There
The garden is open year-round but are at their most colorful in spring and summer, when plants are flowering and the weather’s humid enough for glow worms to come out at night, next to Pukatea Stream. Also during this time the garden hosts daytime and evening events such as free concerts, outdoor movie screenings, and light festivals.
Plants on Other Planets?
The Carter Observatory and the Space Place Museum are both located at the top of the Botanic Garden. There you can explore interactive exhibits, look through the Thomas Cooke telescope at night and see the stars, or watch a series of specially commissioned films in the Observatory’s full-dome planetarium.