Travel to the Zealandia: Karori Sanctuary Experience for a two-hour guided tour. Just minutes from downtown Wellington, the 550-acre eco-sanctuary is tucked in a forested valley and protected by a unique five-mile predator-proof fence.
Join your Zealandia tour guide and discover the story of New Zealand’s natural history and conservation movement in a world class interactive museum. Your guide will then lead you through this extraordinary conservation area and show you some of New Zealand’s rarest species such as the saddleback and hihi birds, back from the brink of extinction, and the country’s national mascot, the little spotted kiwi.
Locals often refer to Zealandia as their own “Jurassic Park” because it’s the only place in mainland New Zealand where you can see the famous "living fossil" - the tuatara, whose Mâori name means "peaks on the back.” This unusual reptile is actually a descendant of the lizard-like reptiles that flourished over 200 million years ago. Today, over 200 of these prehistoric looking creatures live in this natural environment.
The Maud Island frog, the only frog species to hatch as fully formed froglets without going through the usual tadpole stage, also makes its home here, as well as over 20 species of birds found only in New Zealand, including the kaka parrot, the tui songbird and the kereru, a colorful pigeon.
During your leisurely walk, be on the lookout for the giant weta - at three inches in length, it’s one of the biggest insects in the world! Known as “the god of the ugly things” by the Mâori, these primitive insects have changed little in the last 190 million years.
Then, you'll reboard your motorcoach and drive to the Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton's Bush Reserve, the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants. Classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture, this unique plant sanctuary and forest reserve consists of 250 acres of native forest and plants.
One of the Reserve's main attractions is the canopy walkway. Rising over 59 feet above the forest floor, the 246-foot walkway links two garden areas.
Another scenic drive takes you through the heart of the city and back to your ship.