252 Days on the Road
Ok, yesterday we lied. It turns out you don’t need to travel 45 minutes out of Wellington City Centre to find bush walks in native New Zealand forest. As we are about to find out, you can find forests right in the heart of the capital city!
Waking up in Nomads Capital, we head down to kitchen for the free make-your-own pancakes. Thankfully, there are still some batter and syrups left after 8:30am. Next stop, out into the city to check out Wellington’s Botanic Garden.
Because the hostel is right in the city centre, it’s only a 10-minute walk to one of the many entrances to the 25 hectare garden. The entrance has a huge board with a map of the Wellington Botanic Garden, as well as some paper maps. It’s one of these places that actually offers so much that we feel like we’d rather fold the paper map back up and just go where our feet take us. We’re bound to come across some fun things, right?
Wellington’s historic Cable Car
Although we don’t take the historic Cable Car to the top of the Botanic Gardens, we still make our way to the top of the Cable Car to watch it carrying people up and down the hill. The Cable Car Museum is just next door with free entry, so go inside to have a look at what the Wellington Cable Car used to look like… Terrifying, that’s what! People sat on the open outside seats had nothing by a leather strap to hold onto. Downstairs in the museum is a slightly more sophisticated cable car where passengers can actually sit inside the vehicle. Amazing! We also watch the inner workings of the old wheel house, as well as read about this history of this beloved mode of public transport.
A bush walk in the city centre of Wellington
From the Cable Car, we decide to make our way down the many pathways of Wellington Botanic Garden. The Pukatea Bushwalk is actually like a real bushwalk. It’s a bizarre feeling being in what feels like such a dense forest but knowing you are in the middle a city! We can’t even here vehicles. In fact, we can here the calls of native birds that we suspect have flown over by the nearby bird sanctuary of Zealandia.
Taking the elevator to the tree house?!
The stunning bushwalk takes us over tiny footbridges surrounded by a colourful array of flowers and native ferns. Midway down the walk, we use a crossroads to walk through some gardens. The Rock Garden is certainly rocky, displaying most cacti. At the bottom of the rocky steps we notice an elevator nestled in leaves… An elevator?! A sign indicates that is this is the elevator to the tree house. This may be the most advanced tree house we have ever heard of, but we roll with it anyway. As the elevator ascends, we notice that there’s actually a window one one side revealing a fascinating view as we rise above the forest canopy. At the top, indeed, it’s a pretty fancy tree house. The tree house is a visitor centre with a few displays that are unfortunately getting cleared out when we visit.
A museum with a garden view
Nevertheless, we head on the pathway back down to the base of the elevator once again, this time passing a fernery and the Fragrant Garden. The cute and colourful garden has some extremely photogenic flowers to make you feel like the hottest thing on Instagram, plus, they smell pretty good too.
There are lots of little hidden things to love about the Botanic Garden, starting with its wildlife. As we are walking around, we have the constant clicking of cicadas in our ears. We have to almost shout at each other to be heard. But when we start looking at man-made objects like fences, we notice heaps of skins or shells left over from the cicadas. Freaky!
Going “Quackers” at the Duck Pond
After passing a wee waterfall, we arrive at the Duck Pond. Of course, every good city garden has to have a duck pond! The Wellington Botanic Garden duck pond isn’t exactly huge, but its the various streams running in and out of it which gives it its charm. They’ve even tried to make it easy for you with a duck food bin beside the pond, albeit an empty duck food bin, but it’s the thought that counts, right? You can always rely on some crazed kid to come along and start manically throwing pastry into the pond, and that’s exactly what happens.
And there’s so much more!
We admit, we spent way too much time with the ducks. At some point, we finally decide enough is enough and follow various bushy pathways, again with more colourful flowers, back to the entrance we arrived at. We know, there is so much more to explore in the Wellington Botanic Garden, from rose gardens to a waterfall. Next time we are back in Wellington, we are sure to find a different experience for ourselves. (And hopefully the weather is better too, but despite us being under a light drizzle of rain the entire day, it’s been pretty cool).
From there, it’s back to Nomads Capital for our last extreme activity, ordering a pizza because you can! There are pizza places to order from. Tomorrow, we’ll hitting the road once again to the Wairarapa district to check out the stunning coastal road to cape Palliser. Join us then!
The vibrant and wild Wellington Botanic Garden
We have more. Heaps more! Check out these articles:
- Wellington – Guide for Backpackers
- 10 Things to Do in Wellington on a Rainy Day
- 11 Free or Cheap Things to do in Wellington
See you tomorrow!