The Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden welcome you to this web site and this fascinating public garden

Who are we?

The Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden was formed as an Incorporated Society in 1990 to promote and support the development of the Botanic Garden, to raise funds and support Garden projects, and to foster public interest in its educational, historical, cultural, recreational and scientific functions.

What we do

The Friends work as volunteers to guide walks and host events in the Garden, organise bulb sales, arrange lectures, social functions and displays of historic and heritage interest, maintain a register of the Memorials in the Garden, raise funds and assist Garden Management with a variety of Garden projects.

Main current projects are the installation of permanent downhill path markers made of New Zealand-designed glass ceramic mosaic pavers in a rata design, and provision of support for fund raising for the Children’s Garden, a major development currently under planning.

You’ll see footprints of the Friends around the Garden. Recent projects we have implemented include the placing of directional and interpretative signage in the native bush remnants, the renovation of the Joy Fountain, the provision of entrances to the Pinetum, the renewal of many of the path markers and the maintenance of the “butterfly garden” on Druid Hill.

The Friends welcome new members and ideas – click for contact details to join and for list of new site pages

Our 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 Horticulture and 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 garden.

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
Visit dedicated web site   CLICK
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

Spring Festival 2014

Spring Festival says goodbye winter and hello spring with spectacular flowers, including 24,000 tulips.

The Festival begins with the Otari-Wilton’s Bush open day and famed native plant sale on Saturday 20 September. The next day is Wellington’s iconic Tulip Sunday, enjoying its 70th anniversary along with the tulips, music and fabulous Dutch food - and the chance to meet the new Dutch ambassador.

The festival also features talks, photography and Ikebana workshops, guided tours through the gardens, nearby Kelburn, the Karori Cemetery, MetService, Parliament and – new this year – an exclusive invitation to the Corrections Department’s Heritage Centre. There’s a Murder and Mayhem guided walk in the Bolton Street Cemetery, plus visitors also have the chance to go behind the scenes into the Botanic Garden nursery and to see our famous glow worms.

To showcase the upcoming Children’s Garden, we’re holding a Kids’ Day Out on Saturday 27 September. There’ll be tours of and activities in the new garden site, plus a heap of fun things for kids down on the Soundshell lawn. There’ll be the chance to make a garden for dinosaurs, see some cute native critters, learn a little flax weaving, check out the amazing link between plants and products and spend some time with Zappo the Magician. To start this fun day, if you come to the Garden on the Cable Car, the Spring Beans puppets will entertain you from 10.50-11.10am and then put on a special show in the Cable Car Museum at 11.30am.

The lovely folk at Picnic café are again offering two breakfasts for the price of one during the festival.

Visit for the full Spring Festival programme

and the Picnic two-for-one voucher.

100 years young
Labour Day 2014 is a red letter day for a treasured feature in the Garden.

The Gazebo or Summer House in the Main Garden is 100 years young this year.  I wonder if it will get a letter of congratulations from the Queen?

This is a peaceful little building. It is hard to imagine anything controversial should be associated with such a blissful structure but for many years there has been speculation as to who built the summer-house.  It also contains a memorial to a young  10 year boy who died in the harbour trying to save the life of his 8 year old brother in 1891.

Next time you visit the garden come and say hello.

The story and controversy can be found on the Friends web site at

Visit the Wellington Botanic Garden on Facebook

Guided walks (click link for details)
Guided Garden walks
Glow worms
Self guided walks (click link for details)
Downhill walk Cable Car to City
Kowhai Walk
Sculpture walk
Norwood Path
Self guided brochure walks
(Brochures available Treehouse and Begonia House)
Solander walk
Braile (Sensation) walk
Self guided walks
Native plant walks  introduction
Pukatea walk
Waipiro walk


Towards Ludlam Way, Main Garden
Wellington Botanic Garden

Morphed photos

 Archival photo Wellington City Council
Photo taken 1910
 Modern photo P C Tomlinson

Faces from the Garden history
Click IMAGE for further information
John Buchanan
George V. Hudson
James Hector

Alfred Ludlam
Thomas Mason
Albert Kellogg

Thomas Kirk
Walter Mantell
W T L Travers

What could have been
Rose Garden and Begonia House history - Walter Cook
Teaching Garden History
Herb Garden Herione
Post Office in the Garden
Henry Wright and the missing plants
Joy Fountain
Duck Frog Swan Pond

Contact details

Friends of Wellington’s Botanic Gardens,
P O Box 28-065, Kelburn,
Wellington 6150

President: Frank Wilson; phone (04) 475 7337;

The Friends can be contacted by e-mail

To join application form available -  click here

Updated and redesigned site uploaded 5 June 2014
Major update September 28 2009
Friends site 2004
Precursor site ("WBG A Personal View" - material used in later official Friends site) 2001

Site map