Nature and wildlife in Wellington

A mixture of rolling green hills, lush forests and sparkling beaches, there is plenty to see for those who love nature & wildlife in and around Wellington.

Here, you can explore inner city beaches, enjoy the privilege of seeing endangered native birds up close and take a ferry ride across the Cook Strait. The Wellington region mixes natural beauty and birdlife with a bustling, charming harbour side city. It’s a great place to experience unique landscape and wildlife while still indulging in delicious food and wine and enjoying the arts and heritage the city is famed for.

Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre

Located a few hours’ drive into the rolling hills behind Wellington is Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre. Here, cheeky native birds will have you laughing out loud and reaching for your camera. One of the most poignant experiences is a visit to the kiwi house, where you can see New Zealand’s most famous kiwi – Manukura, one of a rare species of kiwi notable for her perfectly white feathers. Manukura is curious and lively; often strutting about the kiwi enclosure oblivious to the visitors trying to catch a glimpse of her behind the glass. If you’re visiting between September and April, baby brown kiwi chicks can be seen in the kiwi nursery where they gain strength till they are strong enough to be let into the wild.

Stretch your legs in the trails that wind through lush native forest to spot rare birds like saddlebacks, stitchbirds, kokako and kakariki flying about their leafy homes. Watch lively wild Kaka (bush parrots) swoop in and out of the forest when it’s feeding time, and chat to passionate conservation staff about the breeding programmes taking place to save New Zealand’s endangered birds.

Mount Victoria and the Bays

Perched on the edge of Wellington Harbour is Mount Victoria, a green oasis amongst the bustling cityscape. Recently, Mount Victoria provided a filming location for the first movie in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Here, only minutes from downtown Wellington, Hobbits dodged Black Riders, hiding under dense forest undergrowth.

Wellington harbour itself is home to a number of pretty bays, providing a number of places to admire the sea views. Oriental Bay is just minutes from the city; its golden sands a popular spot for walkers, joggers and families. In the east lies Scorching Bay – one of the prettiest in the harbour – a beautiful spot for a stroll or a picnic. Island Bay is in the south and is home to houses and remnants of times gone by.

Cook Strait

The inter-island ferries depart from Wellington harbour, whisking passengers through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds and on to the tiny port town of Picton. One of the prettiest ferry journeys around, you’ll cruise through Wellington Harbour before heading across the Cook Strait and past the drowned valleys, islands, coves and bays of the emerald-coloured Marlborough Sounds.  

At MoaTrek, we weave the very best experiences and places New Zealand has to offer into our small group tours. Many of our itineraries include the spectacular nature and wildlife on offer in the Wellington region – seeing rare little Manukura at the wildlife centre is an unforgettable experience; as are the pretty bays in Wellington Harbour and the inter-island ferry crossing. We’d love to have a chat about your New Zealand vacation - learn more on our website, or contact us now.