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Welcome to Wellington Botanic Garden! With 25 hectares of beautiful garden and 150 years of history, we have been recognised as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture, as well as an important Heritage Area by Historic Places Trust.
The Wellington Botanic Garden is a series of curated collections designed and cared for by our on-the-ground team of dedicated staff.
We have an amazing range of beautiful, botanical plant species to see from all over the world as well as collections that pay tribute to New Zealand's natural heritage.
There’s always something new in bloom!
The area where the Botanic Garden now sits has been an important site for generations. When Europeans arrived, there were already well established pā at Pipitea and Kumutoto. The people of Te Ātiawa from Pipitea Pā used the Botanic Garden for ngākinga (food cultivation), collecting native plants for construction, food, fibre, and medicine, and birds for food.
Te Ātiawa used large areas of the garden, and nearby hill Te Ahumairangi, for their own use and for trading until they were displaced from their pā in the mid-1800s.
In 1844, the New Zealand Company set aside a 5.26 hectare strip of land to start a botanic garden reserve. At that time the area was covered in dense podocarp forest including rimu, totara, and mataī.
The official Wellington Botanic Garden was established in 1868, with the Botanic Garden Bill passed in 1869. The management of the gardens was passed on to the New Zealand Institute.
Wellington City Council has managed the Botanic Garden since 1891.
The Botanic Garden is minutes away from downtown Wellington and is easily accessed.
There are many entrances to the Garden including from Glenmore Street, Salamanca Road, Upland Road and the Cable Car. The only public vehicle access is through Centennial Entrance on Glenmore Street.
The main entrance to the garden is on Glenmore Street.
The Botanic Garden currently has a silver rating from Be. Accessible. Contact us to help plan your journey.Generally, the Botanic Garden is quite hilly, but the following areas are wheelchair friendly.
A mobility scooter and a wheelchair are available free of charge from the Treehouse Visitor Centre, and may be booked in advance by calling 04 499 1400.
Year-round | Dawn to Dusk
Summer hours (September to April):
Monday to Friday | 9am - 4pmWeekends and Public Holidays | 10am-3pm*Closed Christmas Day
Winter hours (April to September):
Monday to Friday | 9am - 4pmWeekends and Public Holidays | closed*Closed Christmas Day
Year-round | 9am - 4pm*Closed Christmas Day
Year-round | 8.30am - 4pm*Closed Christmas Day
Year-round | 9am - 4pm*Closed during school programmes
Find out more at our Treehouse Visitor Centre,Wellington Botanic Garden
Explore our popular glasshouses to see tropical and temperate displays, including seasonal displays of orchids, tuberous begonias, cyclamen, ornamentals, and so much more. The warm and humid tropical end also features a lily pond containing aquatic plants.
Visit the historic Bolton Street Cemetery, taking in the notable graves and beautiful heritage gardens along the way. End your walk near the Beehive parliament building and the Bolton Street Cottage. There is also a small Chapel Museum containing exhibits and a list of the 8679 people buried at the cemetery.
There is simply no better way to experience the hidden charm that Wellington has to offer than to take this 5-minute ride from the heart of city centre, up through the hillside terraced houses of Kelburn to the top of the Wellington Botanic Gardens. Take a one way ticket up the hill, and enjoy a leisurely stroll through our botanic collection ending with a cuppa at the Rose Garden.
The Cable Car Lookout offers a 180-degree view of Wellington City and harbour, a great way to get oriented in the city. Take a ride up the up the hill, ogle the view over the city and Cook Strait, then wander back down through the greenery of the Wellington Botanic Gardens.
Located in the original winding house for the cable car system and set over two floors, the museum houses the winding mechanism operational from 1902 until 1978. It’s also home to two of the original grip cars that operated on the line, tells the story of the history of Kelburn Village and has great interactive displays for the whole family to enjoy.
Step back in time see how Wellington’s most iconic transport system has developed.
The perfect stop for treats at the top! An ideal location for breakfast, brunch, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea or just a good beer or glass of wine on any Wellington day. They also offer a remarkable event space with panoramic views over Wellington.
The Discovery Garden is a fantastic living classroom where curious minds can explore and learn about the natural world. Come and discover the surprising uses of plants - for food, fibre, medicine, and construction.
For schools wishing to book a session with the education team learn more here about what we offer and how we can meet your local curriculum needs.
The Discovery Garden is closed to the public during booked visits.
Dogs are welcome as long as they are on a lead and you clean up after them. The closest off lead areas are on Te Ahumairangi Hill and above the Terrace tunnel.
A Botanic Garden favourite located in the Main Garden. Sit on a bench surrounded by historic trees and watch the ducks swim by a turreted gazebo.
Please don't feed the ducks human food and that includes bread. We offer kibbled corn duck food at the pond or at the Treehouse if you would like to feed them. There is no charge but a suggested koha of $2 is appreciated.
CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR UPGRADES
The play area will be reopened to the public in February 2024, weather permitting.
Instead, head to a play area nearby, like Kelburn Park on Salamanca Road, or Creswick Terrace Reserve and Glamorgan Street Reserve in Northland. You can also download our self-guided 'Buzzy Bee' activity booklet and explore the gardens.
Fragrifert is renowned for beautiful original perfume, crafted by an artisan perfumer. Their range of unique fragrances offer a range of scents from New Zealand florals to alluring seasonal inspired perfumes. Buy their perfumes online or visit the Fragrifert perfume shop in Wellington.
Look for glow-worms in the Main Garden, from the Duck Pond up to Glen Road alongside Pukatea Stream with a guided tour. They are only visible at night and the best time to spot them is in spring, after rain.
Guided glow-worm tours are available at various times throughout the year.
Located on the top of the Gardens you'll find our local community practice for all of your everyday health care needs. Kelburn Northland Medical Centre are general medical practitioners offering friendly, high quality medical and nursing services to the residents of Kelburn, Northland and surrounding suburbs.
The adjoining pharmacy offer medicines, beauty, skincare and gifts as well as a range of other services.
The Kelburn Village is a short 5 minute walk from the top of the cable car. A cute bustling village with some essentials, boutique stores, and op shops. There are some quirky cafes, take-aways and restaurants including the Kelburn Village Pub. There is also a hairdresser, barber and beautician.
This award-winning garden has 110 formal beds, each representing a different variety of rose. It includes newly released roses and traditional favourites. The design is geometric with colonnades on three sides, creating a striking contrast to the backdrop of bush and sloping lawns.
The Peace Garden's flame comes from the fires created by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. The people of Japan presented the flame to New Zealand in recognition of our efforts against nuclear weapons.
Nestled in the the Lady Norwood Rose Garden you'll find The Picnic Café. The perfect place to stop for a snack, drink or an ice-cream. They have a vast menu of stunning meals and a mouth watering cabinet filled with sweet and savoury goodies.
Explore the gardens and find many large scale artwork dotted throughout the gardens. Follow the sculpture walk loop path or head to the main gardens displays where you can find three stunning pieces which are for sale. Contact the artists directly for more information.
There are many self-guided walks - the Downhill walk from the Cable Car to the City, the Waipiro and Pukatea bush walks, Sculpture Trail, Kowhai Walk, and Sensation Walk. Our newest trail focuses on Biosecurity in collobation with Plant & Food Research.
Brochures for the Solander Trail, Sensation Walk (in print and Braille), and Biosecurity Trail are available from the Treehouse Visitor Centre and below. Find directions for the other walks on the Botanic Garden brochure map.
Visit Space Place where they share the stories of our New Zealand skies through multimedia exhibits, interactive galleries, the historic Thomas Cooke telescope and a digital, full-dome planetarium. Learn about planets, stars, constellations and galaxies and New Zealand’s contribution to astronomy and space sciences. Complete your trip through the galaxy, look back in time to our history of exploration with the transit of Venus and Māori starlore.
Located 5 minutes from the bottom of the Gardens, the Thorndon Village is filled with quirky antique stores, art galleries, florists and cafes. Either the Sprig and Fern or the Shepherds Arms are great spots for a cold beverage and a bite to eat before taking a stroll along the street to peruse the little boutique speciality shops.
With a view of the tree-tops, the Treehouse Visitor Centre offers a rest-stop with a lookout in the middle of the garden. Our friendly staff can help you with information on the garden or surrounding areas of Wellington City. You will also find our Botanic Garden shop here where you can browse a wide range of New Zealand gifts, practical garden products, accessories, books, cards, hand-made jewellery, and branded products. Purchases at the shop help grow the garden.
Monday - Friday: 9am - 4pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 10am-3pm (September to April, closed over winter)
Closed Christmas Day
We are not accepting new volunteers at present, you can however volunteer to help at the Wellington Gardens by joining some of our partner groups.
There are several active groups of volunteers who make an essential contribution to the Wellington Gardens. While some donate a few hours each month, other volunteers are in the Garden weekly.
Volunteers help in many different ways. Their time and effort range from hosting, representing Wellington as city ambassadors and even leading guided tours.
Please get in touch with them directly to offer your time.
Our gardens are home to a dazzling array of plants and animals! They are fantastic habitats for a diverse array of endemic, native and introduced birds - Wellington is one of the few cities in the world where native biodiversity is increasing.
Pick up a copy of our Bird Watchers Guide at the gardens or download below – it is available in both English and Te Reo Maori. Can you spot them all?
Catch a free shuttle bus to Zealandia pick up ZEALANDIA from the top of the Cable Car. The timetable is subject to change and shuttles may depart earlier than scheduled if full.
The Alpine Rock Garden is part of the main route through the gardens. A perfect example of an environmental Collection—Australian, European, and African bulbs are interspersed with complementary rock garden plants to create a year-round display. As the plants peak in short windows, these gardens are a different experience every time you visit. The beautiful shape of the oak tree draws your eye to see the full extent of the rock garden.
When little else is flowering in the garden, the Australian garden shows a beautiful range of Australian plants suitable for our Wellington environment. With links to Southeast Australia (NSW) you can see the similarities and differences of New Zealand plants and our Australian neighbours.
Take a scenic walk along the lime paths, admire the eucalyptus trees, and enjoy scents of boronia wafting through the air. If you're a lover of native fauna it's a great place to see nectar feeding birds and bees bathing in pollen.
The Begonia House is a Victorian inspired conservatory, which showcases Begonias alongside other plants from December to April. Throughout the year seasonal floral displays complimented by contrasting foliage plants are shown in colourful formal displays.
Escape to a warm and tranquil environment and become immersed in a lush, tropical space. Get up close and personal with the weird and wonderful exotic plants.
Located in a sun trap you'll find an assortment of cacti and succulents that can be grown in Wellington. These displays transition into Mediterranean style planting further down the bank.
By displaying these plants in an ideal environment for their health and aesthetics, the sloping landscape allows for good drainage and no frost settling. The stone mulch shows off the physical diversity of the plants and highlights their unique shapes.
A sloping but restful gully garden landscaped with specimen camellias, mainly cultivars, that provide stunning spring, autumn, and winter floral displays beneath a canopy of native deciduous trees.
Part of the original gardens, the Camellia Gully has a Victorian feel as you walk through the collection. The brick steps, walls, and historic buildings show off the features of the era.
Te Kaapuia o Te Waoku - We are all part of nature.
The Discovery Garden is a fantastic living classroom where curious minds can explore and learn about the natural world. Come and discover the surprising uses of plants for food, fibre, medicine, and construction. This is our base for school programmes.
Dedicated to sustainability, interconnectedness, culture, community, creation, exploration and education, the Discovery Garden is a space devoted to connecting people to plants.
Please note the Discovery Garden is closed to the public during booked visits.
Just along from the main floral display beds, tucked into a lush vibrant perennial garden, is the duck pond. A favourite destination for visitors with young children or just young at heart who delight in feeding the ducks.
The well-established native tree framework encloses the duck pond and the gazebo on the water evokes nostalgia. Built in 1996 and modelled to be a replica of the Karori Reservoir at Zealandia.
An adored spot for small weddings and photography.
Visible from Glenmore Road overlooking the main entrances, the dwarf conifer collection creates a striking welcome to the Wellington Botanic Garden.
The Dwarf Conifer Collection showcases a variety of form, texture, and foliage colour displays with immense diversity among the many conifers that can grow within Wellington.
In stark contrast to the hot, dry, exposed Cacti and Succulent Collection, The Fernery is cool, moist, and green.
This is an important collection for visitors and locals alike, showcasing Ferns from around the world along with ferns that are a major part of New Zealand's native flora and national culture.
Follow the meandering gravel path into the aptly named Fragrant Garden where you can sit and enjoy the surrounding aroma from the garden’s flowers and foliage. Enrich your senses with our most aromatic collection.
The Fragrant Garden is a hive of activity for bees and bugs that are the pollinators for many of our scented flowers. Find a quiet seat in the dappled shade to enjoy the surroundings.
The Glenmore Meadow is a transitional space from the West Entrance to the Main Gardens and features a specimen gingko tree.
This lawn has an English meadow feel owing to the gorgeous display of spring daffodils and bluebells and buzzes with bees.
This collection at the Cable Car Entrance is unique with its visually strong and attractive landscaped area. Full of diversity, form, texture, and movement showing, the Grass Collection perfectly captures the Wellington wind swept aesthetic.
Steeped in Māori traditional weaving history and closely linked with the early history of the Botanic Garden, this is a true ethnobotanical collection.
Harakeke/flax is featured to promote awareness of flax varieties commonly used for their fibre, dye, and medicinal qualities.
The Herb Garden is practical collection with practical application. Learn about the uses of herbal plants and what grows best in Wellington. Indulge your senses with the sound, sight, touch, smell, and even taste of plants from this quiet and secluded area.
With a lookout to view the beautiful aerial layout of the Rose Garden and enjoy the panoramic view of the harbour and city this truly is a spot is not to be missed.
Before you continue your journey sneak behind the lion fountain to see (and hear!) some busy, buzzing pollinators.
Horseshoe Bend is a tranquil track with a 360 view from top to bottom. Be enveloped in the stunning spring and autumn displays this nook has to offer. Sounds of the water trickling from the stream will fill you with calm as the bustle of the city disappears in this hidden gem.
Hydrangea Gully has vibrant and varied blooms throughout summer into autumn. Each collection displays large shrubs, varieties of lacecaps, mop, panicle, and climbing hydrangeas.
Hydrangeas feature in two prominent areas off the Downhill Path. Find them on William Bramley Drive and Myrtle Way.
James Hector Pinetum is an attractive landscape of towering trees and different forms of textures through bark. You will find yourself immersed in the wilderness with the feeling of serenity in the wide-open spaces surrounded by nature. In spring displays of heavily scented freesias emerge.
This is one of the highest points in the Botanic Garden and overlooks Druid’s Hill, bush remnants, and the suburb of Northland. Visit the governor general’s memorial plantings while you’re there.
Get up close and personal amongst the Kauri Rock Garden. As you make your way down experience the transition from hot sunny Cacti Succulent Collection to shady damp Fernery. This garden features a ‘goat track’ and is a bit steep, wonderful for an adventure through the plant life.
The Lady Norwood Rose Garden (1953) has more than 300 varieties of roses, showcasing new and traditional favourites with a mixture of bush and climbing roses. While in bloom they showcase stunning individuality with an array of colours and scents in a Victorian style display. The roses are at their best November—March.
Seasonal rose pruning demonstrations occur. Note that this garden uses limited chemicals and has several trial beds.
Surrounded by the Peace Flame, the Dell, the Herb Garden, the Begonia House, and the Picnic Café, it's no wonder the Rose Garden is such a vibrant, popular spot with locals and visitors alike.
The Ranger’s Cottage can be seen nestled in the bush behind the Begonia House.
Hop across the stepping stones and view the native streamside planting. Find yourself in the depth of the gully in this transition to the Pipitea Bush area. This is a great place to get connected to nature with its hidden streamside experience.
In 1994 the Peace Flame was presented by Hiroshima City in recognition of Wellington's contribution to the nuclear-free movement. This flame was lit in Hiroshima from the fires caused by the atomic bomb.
Tucked behind the Rose Garden this calming spot is often overlooked. Its waterfall is a beautiful feature of the landscape making the Peace Garden a perfect spot for weddings and photography, or simple contemplation.
A park-like woodland walk through historic pines, huge eucalyptuses, and rhododendrons.
A popular area for local birds. View snippets of Thorndon through the trees.
Use this path for a contrasting, scenic route to the Rose Garden from the Main Gardens. Rest at the top to take in the beautiful aerial layout of the Rose Garden and enjoy the panoramic view of the city and harbour.
Striking vibrant reds on display in the Red Garden. This collection is made up of primarily red flowering plants using mixed perennial planting. The plants in this garden are matched by environmental conditions and sociability. From spring through late autumn a succession of 'layers' emerge creating an intricate texture of foliage and flower.
A different experience every time you visit as these plants peak in short windows of time.
The Rock Garden is a celebration of delicate plants, with unique forms and splashes of colour. Look closely to appreciate their uniqueness to this environment of small rock spaces.
The ever-changing Display Garden will always provide you with something new to see. Rotating displays all have their own unique story to tell through colour and form.
In the area you will find other gems such as the Joy Fountain, Gazebo/Summerhouse, and sculptural art. The Display Garden and its surrounds are an accessible part of the gardens suited to all people of all ages, with flat paved paths.
This area of the gardens is also used to host some of the garden’s most popular and beloved events: Tulip Sunday, Gardens Magic and the Spring Festival.
A relaxing backdrop to the Soundshell Lawn. The gentle purple colour scheme is complementary rather than contrasting, and the structural ball shaped flower heads of echinops, dahlias and artichokes standout against the hazy structure of miscanthus, aster and Salvia leucantha.
The border is planted densely with medium to tall perennials creating a lush and luxuriant texture that rises steeply front to back. The diagonal drifts draw the eye up and along the border as it curves away, giving a sense of enclosure to the lawn. The wind and low sun showcases the miscanthus in autumn.
Just before the Duck Pond is Stonebridge Gully, a cooler, darker, more sheltered area that provides a contemplative space and conveys the environment in which a woodland garden thrives.
Enjoy a woody floral display from late spring to midsummer through streamside planting with ecological benefits to stream life.
Nestled next to the Treehouse Visitor Centre is the Threatened Species Garden, demonstrating New Zealand's vulnerable native flora. Walk down the path to get up close and personal, or view from above on the Treehouse balcony. The Threatened Species features interesting and uncommon adaptations and forms; seeing these plants endure is both inspiring and educational.