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
imporotance 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.
Buchanan 1819–1898 Draughtsman,
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 rrecommended 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 $5
each way. This is ideal for those with mobility issues. It does not
travel through the main parts ofs 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
THEN AND NOW
Garden view looking south
Wellington Botanic Garden
Archival photo Wellington City Council
Modern photo P C Tomlinson
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. (No photo available for Ludlam).