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Wonderful Welly – Wellington Botanic Gardens

November 7, 2019

There’s a saying around here, “you can’t beat Wellington on a good day” and so on a recent good day I decided to explore one of the city’s most scenic spots, Wellington Botanic Gardens.

If you’ve read here before, or you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m a sucker for plants and the Bristol Botanical Gardens were one of my favourite discoveries in my old hometown, I was excited to see how Wellington’s matched up. The Botanic Gardens are located in Thorndon, on the side and top of a hill which gives you great views over the city and harbour.

While it’s not the only way to get to the Botanic Gardens, the cable car that takes you from Lambton Quay is certainly the most fun. It takes about five minutes to get up the hill, with a few stops on route. You go through a very cool tunnel with rainbow lights inside it, totally unexpected but entertaining.

Red cable car going up the hill past Victoria University, view over Wellington  city and bay

The cable car itself is adorable, with wooden interior and huge windows, perfect for a sunny day.

wellington cable car exterior in botanic gardens station

At the top of the hill you are greeted with stunning views over the city, as well as the Cable Car Museum, a free to enter museum that tells you more about its history.

sarah walker selfie wellington botanic gardens
view over the city and harbour from wellington botanic gardens cable car station

I was surprised at just calm and tranquil the botanic gardens are. Despite being sandwiched between the CBD and the suburbs I felt totally removed from the city rush. There are a variety of walks through the gardens, all well signposted so you know how long they take.

old fashioned streetlamps on path to space place observatory in wellington botanic gardens

The Botanic Gardens are also home to Space Place at the Carter Observatory – Wellington’s planetarium and space museum.

trees and horizon wellington botanic gardens

As the Wellington Botanic Gardens are on top of a hill you great views of the surrounding town belt. It’s a great reminder of just how green and wild Wellington actually is. It really is a city in the middle of the forest.

long grasses

Following your nose will lead you to the fragrant gardens – full of, unsurprisingly, fragrant herbs and plants. These are almost directly underneath the treehouse visitor centre, meaning you can appreciate the aromas whilst taking in the views from the treehouse balcony.

large mint green aloe vera plant

No prizes for guessing which was my favourite part of the gardens….the succulent garden. As someone who has no luck keeping my succulents alive I always marvel at how huge they can get, especially when raised outdoors. I guess it’s also a credit to the warm Wellington summers.

cacti succulent garden wellington botanic gardens
green spiral succulent

Wanting to experience trekking through the bush without having to travel out of the city? The Gardens have you covered. The Pukatea Bushwalk is actually located right in the middle of the gardens, so you can experience being in a dense forest without having to stray too far from the nearest coffee shop.

Despite going on quite a few tramps through the bush now I still never get over how prehistoric it all feels. With huge ferns and native bird sounds I get all the Jurassic Park vibes.

The gardens now hold a special place in my heart, as one of my favourite free things to do in the city. They’re definitely worth adding to your Wellington travel itinerary.

Love, Sarah x

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