Wandering through Zealandia, Wellington, NZ
Just a short 10min drive from central Wellington (or with the free Zealandia shuttle) nestled amongst the bushland, is a nature sanctuary to delight any nature lover — whether you grew up in the New Zealand bush or you’re an international visitor. It’s a bird and nature lovers delight.
Zealandia has a massive fence that helps keep predators out of the sanctuary and since it being put in place, more and more wildlife have come to breed here.
I went on one of the free 45 minutes tours that the volunteers provide which gave me a bit of insight into the different birds and tuatara’s.
One of the only reptiles left on the planet, the Tuatara come in various colours, sizes and ages and are easily found in the bushed fenced areas for visitors to see. There are many more that the typical visitor won’t see roaming free in the wild too.
They are known as ‘living fossils’ being the only living member of the dinosaur family. If you’d like to check out more about the Tuatara, I’ve added links at the end of this blog post.
Zealandia is home to just 2 Takahē. They are much bigger than the Pukeko (stupid birds that walk into cars). The Takahē have beautiful blue/green feathers and big red beaks, they look so placid and friendly here with so much space to keep them roaming happily.
They are your typical New Zealand flightless birds (we like those, hence why the Kiwi is our national bird) and are critically endangered.
While the Kaka is nationally vulnerable, they thrive at Zealandia. They have feeder spots for the Kaka, with sugar water and parrot food that the smart birds can figure out how to feed themselves. They are pretty smart birds and rather pretty when they spread their wings!
These small green parrots love the camera and make a lovely chatter. They aren’t too common, but pretty easy to find in the right spot in Zealandia. For those who don’t know the Maori language, Kākāriki means ‘small parrot’ and is also used for the colour green, so it’s the perfect name for these friendly birds.
The Hihi and Saddkeback
Both of these little buggars are so quick, it was pretty difficult to get a decent photograph! They both make incredible bird calls though! The saddleback was extinct from the mainland for 80 years, now they are thriving at Zealandia! The hihi is also nationally endangered. The have feeder areas that you can spot both these birds from time to time if you’re quiet.
The Tui and Pāteke
Found all over NZ, the Tui sings a lovely song to passers by.
Meanwhile Zealandia is also home another native bird, in the form of a small duck, half the size of a mallard called the Pāteke.
Zealandia was a great day out and it’s incredible that so many volunteers give up their valuable time to show the public around the sanctuary. It is the sort of place you could go to multiple times, because there are so many different walking tracks. There is a lovely cafe at the entrance/end with a museum too to enjoy a little bit of relaxing after a lot of walking.
I’ll definitely be keeping a night tour with the kiwis in mind next time I’m down in Wellington!
If you’d like to find out more about visiting Zealandia in Wellington, New Zealand, check out their website here: https://www.visitzealandia.com/
For more information about Tuatara’s check out: http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/reptiles-and-frogs/tuatara/