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Otari-Wilton’s Bush offers the unique botanical experience of native New Zealand plant species, hybrids and cultivars from across the country, in one location. Here you can see a range of plants from New Zealand's mainland and off-shore islands in a series of collections of over 1,200 native plants.
Covering 100 hectares of the Kaiwharawhara Stream catchment, this unique area includes the only remaining original broadleaf-podocarp forest in Wellington City.
The Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture (RNZIH) New Zealand Gardens Trust has declared Otari-Wilton’s Bush a 6-star Garden of International Significance, the only one dedicated entirely to native plants. The garden has also been awarded the Green Flag Award from Recreation Aotearoa for its prestigious community value.
Otari-Wilton’s Bush has four main roles:
The Lions Otari Plant Conservation Laboratory provides staff with facilities to conduct essential research into propagation and long term storage of New Zealand’s threatened plants. Options for long term storage include conventional seed banking (storage at -18°C), cryopreservation (storage at -196°C in liquid nitrogen) and tissue culture (plant tissue in sterile conditions).
Plant conservation work at Otari-Wilton’s Bush is done in collaboration with partners including Department of Conservation, Victoria University Wellington, The New Zealand Institute of Plant & Food Research Limited and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
The plant collections were started in 1926 by noted New Zealand botanist Dr. Leonard Cockayne. He aimed to set up a collection of solely New Zealand native plants, displayed in family groups or as re-created ecosystems representing different areas of New Zealand. Almost all the plants have been grown from cuttings or seeds collected from their original habitats.
Otari-Wilton's Bush is about 5km from the city centre, at 160 Wilton Road (between Gloucester and Warwick streets).
All year | Dawn to dusk
Information Centre - Te Marae O TaneOtari-Wilton's Bush04 475 firstname.lastname@example.org Wilton RoadWellington, 6012
Contact us with your native plant puzzles or horticultural queries, email us at email@example.com.
Wheelchair-friendly paths run from the main car park to the Information Centre, over the Canopy Walkway, and to Cockayne Lookout. A step-free path runs from the Churchill Drive car park along the Kaiwharawhara streamside to the Troup Picnic Lawn. The Wilton Walkway from the car park through the Fernery and leading into mature podocarp forest, is also suitable.
Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a lead and you clean up after them. Dogs off a lead are a threat to native wildlife. Owners also need to be aware of the risk of secondary poisoning from possum bait.
Guided tours are available for groups of all sizes. Experienced guides lead tours tailored to each group.The Otari-Wilton's Bush Trust runs monthly walks for members and visitors. Check the events calendar for upcoming events.
Two electric barbecues are available at the Troup Picnic Area. These are free to use.
A self-guided Nature Trail starts at the Information Centre. Pick up a brochure at the start of the Canopy Walkway.
Otari-Wilton's Bush features about 11km of walking tracks through native bush and garden collections.Tracks are signposted. Forest trails are slippery when wet. Sturdy footwear is recommended.Learn more about the tracks and walking paths at Otari-Wilton’s Bush using our interactive StoryMap.
The Otari-Wilton's Bush plant collections contain about 1,200 species, hybrids and cultivars. The collections include plants from New Zealand's mainland and off-shore islands.Almost all the plants have been grown from cuttings or seeds collected from their original habitats. Learn more about the collections at Otari-Wilton’s Bush using our interactive StoryMap.
Bruce Manu, of Te Atiawa, carved the two waharoa gateways to Otari-Wilton's Bush from totara. The waharoa at the main entrance depicts unity and partnership and welcomes visitors to the reserve. The waharoa at the southern end of the Canopy Walkway depicts Tane Mahuta and the forest's guardians
The Information Centre displays information on Otari-Wilton's Bush history and botanic diversity. The centre is located just inside the main entrance on Wilton Road.There is seating for visiting groups, toilet facilities and a snack vending machine.
The Leonard Cockayne Centre is a medium size room that can be hired for meetings, seminars or workshops. From the deck you can look into the working nursery where plants are propagated before they are planted out in the wider garden. Public toilets are available.
Otari-Wilton's Bush is one of Wellington's best picnic spots. There are two main picnic areas - the North picnic area off Wilton's Bush Road, and the idyllic Troup Picnic Area on the Circular Walk.The Troup Picnic Area is an open space ideal for large groups and school visits. It has toilet facilities, tap water, and two single plate push-button electric barbecues (these run for 20 minutes - for longer cooking push the button again). Availability is on a first-in, first-served basis. Please note the barbecues may still be hot from previous usage.Although bookings are not required, large groups should advise the Treehouse Visitor Centre of intended visits.
Otari-Wilton's Bush is a haven for native birds including tui, kereru, silver eye, kingfisher, grey warbler, bell birds and morepork.Scientists and volunteers counted 1,367 different living species - animals, plants, fungi, protists, bacteria - in the bush and reserve areas during a 24-hour bioblitz in 2007. Their finds included a new species of cave weta and an Amanita fungus.
Self-guided activities at Otari-Wilton's BushKiwi Guardians at Otari-Wilton's BushToyota Kiwi Guardians is an activity programme for kids to learn about nature, earn cool rewards and go on epic family adventures!Explore a forest reserve that is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants. It's only 5 km from Wellington’s city centre.
Feed your hungry explorers at the Troup Picnic Lawn – the two barbecues are free to use but you’ll have to bring your own sausages.
Download the Otari-Wilton's Bush adventure map and check out what you can do. Note: Steps and uneven paths are part of the activity. For accessible options contact the Treehouse Visitor Centre, phone 04 499 1400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look out for the Guardian Post when you get there. On it you'll find a special code word - write it down and claim your medal.
We are the backdrop and host to a wide variety of events from school visits, to corporate away days, to weddings.
Contact us at email@example.com to make your booking today.
Note: all commercial activity requires a permit
Commercial operators (ie. tour provider, photographer) must have written permission to conduct business activities at Otari-Wilton's Bush. Contact the Treehouse Visitor Centre to secure permission.
Bringing your class to Otari-Wilton's Bush? We need to know! Contact the Treehouse Visitor Centre to book your group's visit. The booking covers health and safety hazards and allows us to manage garden activities, ensuring your group has a great visit. We've also created an environmental education kit for teachers to use with school groups at Otari-Wilton's Bush.
Planning a group picnic, team building or summer do? If your group is more than 20 people, you must make a booking. This helps to ensure you and the gang have the best experience possible. We don't want you to go to all the effort organising a great event and then have noisy tree work or hedge trimming right next to you. Let us help you have a great time.
A medium-sized room at the Leonard Cockayne Centre can be hired for meetings, seminars or workshops. You can hire the room for groups of up to 25 people seated; maximum capacity of 45 people.
To request a booking at this venue, refer to the following:
The centre is located just inside the main entrance on Wilton Road.There is seating for visiting groups, toilet facilities and a snack vending machine. A small meeting room can be hired for meetings, seminars and workshops (of up to 15 people) and is available Monday to Sunday, 4−10pm.To request a booking at this venue, refer to the following:
Otari-Wilton's Bush is one of Wellington's best picnic spots.
There are two main picnic areas:
The Troup Picnic Area is an open space ideal for large groups and school visits. It has toilet facilities, tap water, and two single plate push-button electric barbecues (these run for 20 minutes - for longer cooking push the button again). Availability is on a first-in, first-served basis. Please note the barbecues may still be hot from previous usage. Although bookings are not required, large groups should advise the Treehouse Visitor Centre of intended visits.
Please Note: This is a pack-in/pack-out site, with no rubbish bins on site, so please take your rubbish away with you to keep this space green. We encourage visitors to think about reducing waste, recycling, and revisiting overall consumption.
You can hold weddings on Cockayne Lawn at Otari-Wilton's Bush - it is available for ceremonies involving up to 100 people.To request a booking at this venue, refer to the following:
Keep to the tracks and take your rubbish home. The following activities are banned: