Within walking distance of downtown Wellington you’ll find the popular, aptly-named Central Park. Locals and visitors alike love the park’s mix of gardens, playgrounds, grassy fields, natural woodland and native bush. Its vegetation includes deciduous trees, pines, eucalyptus trees, and an array of native species.
The Wellington Botanic Garden showcases a wide range of flowers, trees, succulents and plant life from New Zealand and the world. The oldest tree in the garden, a gnarled hīnau, is more than 200 years old – and there are others in their collection that date as far back as the 1860s. Also on the list of captivating attractions are the Peace Garden, the Begonia House, the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, and the Carter Observatory.
A historic house, garden, park and mausoleum are confined in this one space. The Truby King Park is actually a heritage estate. It used to be the home of Sir Frederic Truby King and Lady Isabella Truby King, who are renowned for founding the Plunket Society. Along with being a pioneer in children’s healthcare, Sir Truby King was quite a keen gardener – he’s very much to thank for the collection of plants and flowers that visitors can freely access today.
Mount Victoria is probably the most renowned summits in the region. Its eastern location, not too far away from the Wellington central, makes it a popular spot for locals and tourists wanting to glimpse of the spectacular views. Mount Victoria’s walking and cycling tracks are brimming with pine trees and greenery to admire too.
Also known as the Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton’s Bush Reserve, this is the only public garden in New Zealand that is entirely dedicated to native plant life. Entry is free for all visitors, who will be able to view some of Wellington’s oldest trees (one of which is 800 years old) as well as 100 hectares’ worth of forest. Because of its rich, native collection, Otari-Wilton’s Bush is classified as a Garden of International Significance by the New Zealand Gardening Trust.
Part of the Wellington Town Belt, George Denton Park and Polhill Reserve come together to bring visitors a place to unwind and/or get active. The area comprises numerous hiking and cycling tracks, a flowing stream, picnic spots, grassed areas and a playground. If you’re a bit of a war history buff, the Polhill Reserve is within walking distance of Wellington’s anti-aircraft World War II gun emplacements.
This park is a memorial to World World II airman James Stellin, who died in France as he struggled to avoid crashing his fighter plane into a local village. Along with its interesting history, the Stellin Memorial Park has a steep, grassed walkway leading visitors to its lookout. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with an idyllic 180 degree perspective of the Wellington harbour.