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In the suburb of Karori, just 2.5 kilometres from the Wellington central business district, you'll find a 252 hectare (one square mile) paradise of pest-free wilderness.
The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is a world-first conservation attraction, where a unique and natural area is being patiently restored. As an early water catchment area, the Karori Valley was largely protected from the perils of suburban sprawl.
When the area was no longer required for Wellington's water supply, the vision emerged to recreate a natural environment - exactly as it would have been centuries ago, but right inside a major city.
A purpose-built 8.6 kilometre perimeter fence keeps out introduced mammalian pests, such as stoats, weasels, possums, rats and cats. An eradication programme has removed all traces of these pests from within park. Rare and endangered birds - like the little spotted kiwi, saddleback, stitchbird and kaka - have been released into the park. Here they thrive on the increasingly abundant natural food sources.
Stroll around natural forest, lakes and historical buildings at your own pace, or book a guided tour during the day or night. You can walk across a unique historic dam, see a 19th century goldmine carved deep into the hillside, take a scenic ride on an electric boat or picnic on the lawns by the wetlands.
The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is easily reached by public transport. There are buses every fifteen minutes from the city. Get off the bus at the first stop after the Karori Tunnel, and walk for five minutes to the end of Waiapu Road. Plenty of free parking is available for people travelling by car.