The Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden
welcome you to this web site and this fascinating public garden.
New Zealand's most
historic public botanic garden is located in the heart of Wellington,
the Capital City of New Zealand. It is classified as a Garden of
National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of
is an Historic Places Trust Heritage Area.
This garden was established in 1868, 5 years later than the Dunedin and
Christchurch Botanic Gardens, but is historically important from its
key role in the introduction of Pinus radiata, a tree of major economic
importance to this country.
Located within walking distance of
the commercial and shopping heart of the City, it is only a short
distance from the National Museum - Te Papa.
The most spectacular entry is by Cable Car. Leaving from Lambton Quay,
the main shopping street, it terminates at the lookout entry to the
Garden, which provides spectacular views over the city and the harbour. (See photo at end of this page)
Return to the city by walking the downhill walkway back to the city heart,
through the children's play area, Main Garden with its old trees, Duck
Pond, and seasonal plantings, to the Rose Garden and Begonia House, then through the historic Bolton Street Memorial Park.
Come, enjoy, rest a while, have
a coffee at the cafe and browse the Begonia House shop but, most
important, bring your camera for those memories of this fascinating
This site aims to provide items
of interest and assistance to all visitors and members of the Friends
of the Wellington Botanic Garden.
Help us grow a Children's Garden
The Friends of the Wellington Botanic
Garden are working with Wellington Botanic Garden staff to raise funds
for a Children's Garden.
This world-class garden is a living, outdoor classroom where children can explore, discover and connect with the natural world.
If you wish to see the main areas of the garden and enter via the Cable Car, purchase a one way ticket and then walk back to the city on the Downhill walkway
, visiting all
main areas. From the Rose Garden you can either: 1. Return to
the Cable Car climbing up via Serpentine Way and Remembrance Ridge.
This is a relatively steep walk and can be tiring on hot days, but does include most of the Sculpture Walk
2. The recommended option
is to continue walking the Downhill Walkway to
the city, passing through the Bolton Street Memorial Park which
includes a collection of heritage roses, and the historic
cemetery and finishes close to the Parliament Buildings (the
3. On days when cruise ships are visiting, the Cable Car offers a shuttle vehicle from
the Cable Car entrance
to the Rose Garden running approximately every half hour, costing $10.
This is ideal for those with mobility issues. It does not
travel through the main parts of the garden, however, and we recommend
walking down to the Rose Garden, but it can be used
to return to the Cable Car Entrance instead of continuing walkling
downhill to the City Details of the Downhill Walkway click this link
Photo of Tui, commonly seen and heard in Garden
Twice each year the gardeners put a great deal of thought into coming up
with new and interesting designs and combinations of plants. Presented
with the idea of using quilt patterns for the beds,
they enthusiastically set about selecting designs that would work well in the various garden bed shapes.
The task of selecting varieties of plants that would thrive – and last
the season. Colours, textures, sizes and heights all had to be
considered for the patterns. Some plant varieties that would work well
together got rejected if they have a history of succumbing to
blackspot or powdery mildew, so the choices were not always as plain as was initially apparent.
The patterns and block designs include ‘flying geese’ and ‘grandmother’s
fan’, and are set out in combinations of geraniums, salvia, marigolds
and begonias, to name just some of the plants
Planting began at the beginning of November and the gardeners were
thrilled to see how good the design in one of the big beds looked
already – the plants were just tiny at that point they will look even
more stunning when they’ve grown together
Images also from Summer Light and Sound Festival 2014
THEN AND NOW
Glenmore Street Main Entrance
Wellington Botanic Garden
Archival photo Wellington City Council
Modern photo P C Tomlinson
FACES FROM HISTORY
Key playeers in the establishment of this Garden
Who was James Hector?
The first director of the Garden, he also held many significant
positions from his arrival in Wellington in 1865 including
keeper of time, director of the Dominion Museum, founder of the NZ
Geological Survey (forerunner of the DSIR)and NZ Institute (forerunner of the Royal Society of
His story is to be found in a summer exhibition in the Treeshouse Information Centre in the Garden.
Well worth a visit.
A teenager when he first came to Wellington, he was the first to describe
the life cycle of the native glow worn from specimens found in this Garden. His extensive insect collection
eventually became the founding collecton of the Dominion Museum,
subsequently Te Papa.
With an interest in astronomy, he wrote many articles on his star
gazing in local papers, discovered a star, and was the first proponent of daylight
saving. He used the observatory telescopes in the Garden in
addition to his own.
Who was Thomas Mason? Who was Alfred Ludlam?
Two early pioneers from the Hutt Valley developed extensive gardens, and
played important roles in the establishment of the Wellington
Botanic Garden. Between them they donated many plants and trees
during the Gardens formative years, with both serving significant terms on the
Botanic Garden Board in the years before management responsibility was
transferred to the Wellington City Council in 1891.
He was lawyer, magistrate, politician, explorer, naturalist, and
photographer who played a significant role in the establishment and
development of the Wellington Botanic Garden. He was closely
involved in several of the significant developments that took place
– its establishment, and especially the more controversial zoo and
transfer of the garden to the Wellington City Council.