Image by Oliver Strewe Getty Images

This ground-breaking ecosanctuary is hidden in the hills about 2km west of town: buses 3 and 20 stop nearby, or see the Zealandia website for info on the free shuttle. Living wild within the fenced valley are more than 30 native bird species, including rare little spotted kiwi, takahe, saddleback, hihi and kaka, as well as NZ's little dinosaur, the tuatara. An excellent exhibition relays NZ’s natural history and world-renowned conservation story.

More than 30km of tracks can be explored independently, or on regular guided tours. The night tour provides an opportunity to spot nocturnal creatures including kiwi, frogs and glowworms (adult/child $85/40).