The Wellington Botanic Garden is one of the main attractions in New Zealand’s capital city. Nestled into the hills of the city between Thorndon and Kelburn, the gardens are a place for both tourists and locals alike.
Highlights of the gardens include the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, the Treehouse Visitor Center, a sculpture trail, the Begonia House, and seasonal flower displays.
Beyond the display gardens, you’ll find native forest and lots of walking trails to explore the 25 hectare grounds. Other features of the park include playgrounds, a duck pond, beautiful lawns for lounging and picnics, and plenty of viewing points looking out onto the Wellington Harbor.
Since the Botanic Garden is situated on an incline, visitors often take the cable car uphill from Lambton Quay. The main path downhill through the gardens begins at the Cable Car Lookout. Alternatively, you can start at the main gate on Glenmore Street and follow the main pathway uphill if you don’t want to take the cable car.
There are multiple paths you can follow, whether you start from the top of the hill or from one of the other 7+ entrances. The main pathway includes most of the main display gardens, while the other paths give you a chance to see more of the native forest, trees, and park settings.
If you only have one visit, I suggest following the main path all the way to the rose garden, and then doing part of the bush walk if you have extra time.
Wellington Botanic Garden
I began my visit from the Wellington cable car, first following the Kowhai walk to see the observatory. After moving on to the main path, I had a leisurely walk downhill. While the display gardens are beautiful, what I liked most about the Wellington Botanic Garden is the trees and forested areas.
At the Treehouse Visitor Center, you can walk around the deck and find the name of all the trees within view. This is also a great view point, as you can really see the hills surrounding you. Once you step off the main path onto one of the bush walk paths, you’ll find things become a little quieter.
Lady Norwood Rose Garden
If you are following the main path, you’ll first see the rose garden from above. When the roses are in bloom, it’s a breathtaking sight. The garden contains over 300 varieties of roses–my favorite name is the “Happy Wanderer” (obviously). The gardens were named after Lady Norwood, husband of a former mayor of Wellington.
The Begonia House
The Begonia House sits in front of the rose garden, and this is where the conservatory is located. I love conservatorys, so this was one of my favorite parts of the Wellington Botanic Garden. The lush display of tropical and temperate plants warranted the 100+ photos I took inside. Near the lily pond is the coolest plant I’ve ever seen: a staghorn fern, native to parts of Australia.
Location: Entrances from Glenmore Street, Salamanca Road, & top of the cable car
Hours: Garden grounds open dawn to dusk; various hours for the Begonia House, cafe, & visitor center
Admission: Free entry
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