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What to do with these steep hills?
At the end of the funicular, lies this wonderful garden. And, lets face it, what could they have done with it? It is too steep to build anything on it. And it even has been landscaped to accommodate for instance the (marvellous) rose garden. Enjoyed this garden at a beautiful summer's day.
- National/State Park
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
One of the world's best botanic gardens, this one offers a stunning array of plants and habitats from New Zealand and Australia. It has miles of beautiful hiking trails. This is a must-see for anyone visiting this city, especially nature lovers. It also contains a number of unique works of public sculpture by New Zealand artists.
- Arts and Culture
- Hiking and Walking
The Botanic Gardens is a relaxing place to walk and see a wide variety of domestic and foreign plant species. I would recommend a ride up on the cable car, and then walking back down into the city through the gardens. Admission is free.
a walk in a city oasis!
If you love nature, you cannot miss a walk in the Botanic Garden. I suggest buying a one-way cable car ticket, and going back downtown by walking through this amazing park. Going downhill is far less tiring! Walking the other way round means climbing the hill, and the road is quite steep!
By the way, wherever your visit starts from, do not forget a map or you are likely either to get lost or to miss something. The free maps available at the parrk entrance will guide you through pre-defined walks of different length.
I found a walk in the Botanic Garden very enjoyable, the park was not busy at all, and the late afternoon sunlight made it even more magical.
- Family Travel
I did the Botanic Garden the wrong way round
I entered at the Founders' Gates in Tinakori Road and walked uphill to the cable car and descended to Lambton Quay. (One way $2-50)
Please do it the other way around unless you want a workout.
I have always enjoyed this place although we always called it the Botanical Gardens and I was surprised to find today what it is really called.
I noticed they have guided tours regularly with some expert discussing herbs or conifers or whatever. Free but a koha (donation) invited.
Kids' playground, great views from the top, cafe, (at least one cafe), and a cable car museum (free entry - gift shop) with one of the really old cars that I used to ride as a kid. Oooooh flashback. Proustian moment.
The paths are smooth and wide and wheelchair and baby vehicle friendly - but do expect steep. This is Wellington.
The cable car is also wheelchair friendly. We had a wheelie tucked in safely on our ride down into the CBD.
Be Part of the Sundial of Human Involvement
Quite a nice and fun feature of the Botanic Garden, next to the Carter Observatory. You just have to stand at a certain spot, depending on the time of year, and hold your arms over your head (the human involvement ;-), and your shadow will allow to read the exact hour on an elliptic scale.
This sundial is a horizontal sundial which uses a series of fixed points located around the circumference of an ellipse. As said, a person is used to produce the shadow by standing on the time of the year marked on a figure of eight located in the centre of the ellipse.
This sundial is accurate to within a few minutes and no corrections have to be made for daylight saving because the bronze indicators on the granite columns are moved twice a year.
This sundial was constructed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Plimmer Family in Wellington.
There are two other sundials in the Botanic Garden: an Armillany Sphere on the Sound Shell Lawn, next to the Founders Entrance on Glenmore Street, and a standard horizontal sundial in the Herb Garden, located above the Lady Norwood Rose Garden.
Lady Norwood Rose Garden
I am a big fan of Rose Gardens because roses are such rewarding plants, flowering throughout most of the year, from early spring until early winter, and you can walk around and admire the huge array of colours and smell the ever-changing scents. And watch young sparrows bathing in dirt under the plants ;-)
This garden in Wellington's Botanic Garden, opened in 1953, is named after Lady Norwood, the wife of former Mayor Sir Charles Norwood. It is made up of 106 formal beds, each containing a different cultivar. Outside those beds you find collections of patio roses, David Austin roses and a trial area for new cultivars.
If I had to rate the rose gardens I know in New Zealand, however, I would rate Christchurch as number one, due to its magic location. The rose garden there is surrounded by high hedges, and you have access through arches, covered in climbing roses. So it has the feeling of a secret garden, isolated from the outside world. Here in Wellington there is a carpark nearby, and you see the cars moving. Not that it is noisy – just a little minus for the not so perfect atmosphere.
Photo 2 is a nearly aerial view of the rose garden, taken from a higher section of the Botanic Garden.
- Hiking and Walking
Take the Cable Car up and Walk down
The easiest way to explore the 25 hectare Botanic Garden is to take the Cable Car to the top entrance and then stroll back down to the city, as it is located on a steep hill between Lambton Quay and the green suburb of Kelburn.
The Garden was established in 1868, and the major conifer species you see today were planted then. The Garden is a mixture of protected native forest, confifer plantings and plant collections. For example, you can walk through an Australian Garden, a Camellia Valley, a Fern Dell, and lots more.
Major additions to the Garden were the Lady Norwood Rose Garden (1950), the Begonia House (1960) and the Treehouse Visitor Centre (1991). Whereas in Christchurch, for example, the daffodils convert the Botanic Garden into a sea of yellow blossoms in early spring, and rhododendrons and azalea do their magic in Dunedin, Wellington’s pride are the 30,000 flowering tulips in spring.
At the Begonia House you also find a shop and Garden café. The Visitor Centre includes an office of Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), a shop, a classroom and an exhibition area.
An interesting part of the Garden is the Bolton Street Memorial Park which is an old cemetery, bisected by a motorway.
Also the National Observatory of New Zealand, the Carter Observatory, is located in the Botanic Garden. When we were there, it was closed due to renovation.
Access to the Botanic Garden – other than by Cable Car – is as follows:
Bus to Karori (# 3), from, Lambton Quay, stop at Founders Entrance.
Walk from the Terrace through Bolton St Memorial Park – it takes about 15 min to the Rose Garden and a further 5 min to the main garden.
By car to the only public carpark next to the Rose Garden, access through Centennial Entrance, from the city centre towards Karori on Bowen St/Tinakori Rd/Glenmore St.
- Hiking and Walking
Lady Norwood Rose Garden and Begonia House
My mobility disadvantaged mother was a little worried when I suggested a stroll in the Lady Norwood Rose Garden and Begonia House so I nipped across the road and checked out availability of toilets, smoothness of paths etc. Check check check. Great.
PLUS - two free mobility devices!
I did laugh. I was going to talk her onto one of them - This is your future! - but when we got over there they were both taken. (Seems you have to ring up and book them.) And a son was trying to suggest to his mother that foot off the accelerator and a tiny bit of steering might help!
Ring - 499 4444.
The Lady Norwood Rose Garden and Begonia House
Oh I do love the Botanic Garden. I always have. We often went there when I was a kid and always arrived via the cable car. And roamed around, feral as.
But now I am living across the road from them and my slightly mobility disadvantaged mother was visiting so I took her to the rose garden and begonia house. Because they are designed to be enjoyed by the mobility disadvantaged. (More of that in the next tip.) The begonias amazed, as always (it is slightly too late for the roses to be seen at their best) and then I found out there is another section (I don't remember this as a kid) with a water lily pond. That was even warmer than the begonia house. I suggested to my mother (as there were benches dotted around) that a homeless person when the Wellington winter was doing its worst might do a lot worse than spend her days on a bench contemplating the water lily pond.
A great bad weather choice.
And there is a cafe attached.
And a shop. In which I found a delightful tui pin for $6-50. One of a range of NZ birds but I had to have the tui because I had just seen a tui in a pohutakawa tree right opposite our Parliament House (The Beehive) in the centre of the city.
My aunt tells me that is because of the great initiative the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary has undertaken. (More of that in another tip.)
Oh - also toilets with Disability Toilets emphasised.
Everything that opens and shuts as it were.
Well-kept Wellington Botanic Garden provides you a pleasant walk among various species of trees, bushes and plants. Lady Norwood Rose Garden is one of the highlights of the Garden. If you just need to relax, this is the place you look for.
- Hiking and Walking
"The Wellington Botanic Garden" is a real green oasis more or less in the middle of the city. It extends over 25 hectares in a hilly landscape with perfect views over the city and the harbour. The garden is easy accessible by the famous red cable car from Lambton Quay, but there are also entrances at Glenmore Street and Tinakori Road. Another access is by walking through Bolton Street Memorial Park to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden.
The Botanic Garden shows a lot of New Zealand and exotic flowers and trees, as for instance: succulents, herbs, camellias, magnolias, rhododendrons, ferns, trees and last but not least the famous roses.
We visited the garden a couple of times and always loved it to stroll around the walkways or to sit on a bench and just admire the lovely landscape. A perfect start is to take the cable car, have a cup of coffee at the cafe at the top and enjoy the marvellous view over the city and the harbour.
The entrance is free of charge.
On the website (below) is also a map of the Botanic Garden.
- Theme Park Trips
- Hiking and Walking
Located at the top of Wellington's famous Cable Car, the city's lovely gardens contain over 26ha of exotic and native plants, a begonia house, seasonal floral displays, a sculpture walk and native bush. The highlight is the award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden, with some 300 different types of roses bursting into bloom over the summer. Other gardens showcase ferns, rhododendrons, fuchsias, herbs and camellias. Several paths lead back down to the city, winding through native forest, pohutukawa trees and flower beds.
Also, you'll find the Bolton Street Memorial Park, near Lady Norwood Rose Garden, where many of the city's pioneers are buried.
Near the Kelburn terminus is the Carter Observatory and Planetarium - NZ's national astronomy centre. Visit their website @ www.carterobs.ac.nz for more information.
Gardens open daily. Free Walkway brochures are available from the Wellington Visitor Information Centre (101 Wakefield Street, Civic Square, Wellington).
• Treehouse (the Education & Environment Centre)
9am-4pm Mondays to Fridays
10am-4pm Saturdays & Sundays (September to April)
11am-3pm Saturdays & Sundays (May to August)
• The Begonia House
Open daily, except Christmas Day. Free entry.
• Carter Observatory & Planetarium
November - February
10am-5pm Sundays to Tuesdays
10am till late Wednesdays to Saturdays
March - October
11am-4pm Mondays to Thursdays
11am till late Fridays & Saturdays
Tip...one way to tour the Botanic Garden... catch the cable car up to the Garden, then wander down through the specialist gardens, native bush & lawn areas to historical Thorndon, NZ's oldest suburb.
- Family Travel
- Adventure Travel
Museum of Wellington and the Sea
The main reason for me to go here was to learn more about the Wahine disaster, 10 April 1968, when the inter-island ferry Wahine struck a reef and sank when entering Wellington harbour during a tropical storm. I've always been fascinated by ship disasters, ever since I first read about the Titanic at the age of 8. Growing up in Germany and going to Norway for holidays at least once a year, I've had my fair share of rough North Sea ferry rides, so I know how it must have felt like.
The Wahine dispaly features a small model collage of the disaster and a short movie, showing some of the heroic rescue efforts.
It was definitely worth going there.
- Museum Visits
Covering over twenty five hectares of hillside between Kelburn and the city centre, these gardens were established in 1868 and are well worth visiting at any time of the year. Highlights of a visit include the rose gardens, the sculptures, the peace flame garden and the soundshell where outdoor concerts take place on Sundays during summer.
- Family Travel
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Wellington Travel Guide
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