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Zealandia Twilight Tours

Escape rush hour by strolling through this eco-sanctuary — and spy native creatures like takahē, kākā and little spotted kiwi.
By Sarah Templeton
January 15, 2023
By Sarah Templeton
January 15, 2023

As the sun goes down on Wellington, there's one spot to get away from rush hour and listen to a chorus of birdsong instead.

Welcome balmy summer evenings at Zealandia, the world's first fully-fenced urban eco-sanctuary. Just 10 minutes from the CBD, the sanctuary is well-known for recovering native wildlife populations and restoring their population, right in the midst of Pōneke. In turn, cheeky kākā parrots and drunken kererū now often frequent local backyards.

As part of its annual Twilight Tours series, Zealandia is once again opening its doors for a series of special evening events. Dusk is one of the best times to visit the urban eco-sanctuary, when some of the creatures really come out of their shell. Species you might see include the tuatara, takahē and kākā, as well as more nocturnal birds such as the little spotted kiwi and ruru (morepork / owl) as they awaken for the evening.

The summer months mark a great time to see the tuatara bathing and takahē feeding in the wetlands, so take this opportunity to explore one of the country's most accessible wildlife sanctuaries and help native species flourish — your ticket cost goes directly back into the sanctuary.

Each tour takes around two-and-a-half hours, departing around 5.45pm and retuning about 7.15pm, depending on sunset timings. Your specified departure time will be confirmed when you book, so you get the best experience possible. Just make sure you dress to the conditions with comfortable walking shoes — there will be heaps of amazing photo opportunities, but it's not the time to dress in your Saturday night glam.

📸:: Johnny Hendrikus

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