When dusk falls in Wellington and the sound of rush hour softens, one special valley begins to brim with birdsong. The source of the chorus is Zealandia, the world's first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary. The sanctuary has recovered native wildlife populations and brought them back to one of New Zealand's busiest cities. In turn, cheeky kākā parrots and drunken kererū now frequent Wellington backyards to the glee of the locals. However, as neighbours to the sanctuary know, the birds are at their most charismatic right around dinner time.
The team at Zealandia wants you to witness the nightlife too. Therefore, every evening their gates open to a small group for an exclusive tour. The Zealandia by Night Tour is hosted by a knowledgable guide who will take you along a two and a half hour journey through sanctuary. The tour will start at dusk and introduce you to native fauna at their most active. Species you will likely see include the tuatara, takahē and little spotted kiwi. When the adventure ends, you will given a cup of kawakawa (bushman's) tea to warm you up for the ride home. Make sure you book well in advance as these tours sell out quickly.
Image: Lesley Wild.