Zealandia

Top choice wildlife reserve in Wellington
Image by Oliver Strewe / Getty Images

This groundbreaking ecosanctuary is nooked into a valley in the hills about 2km west of downtown Wellington. Living wild within the fenced, predator-free habitat 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. Buses 2 and 21 stop nearby, or see the Zealandia website for info on the free shuttle.

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