NZ Flag


of the Wellington Botanic Garden


Wellington, the Capital City of New Zealand


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 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.

Top Things to do Wellington NZ 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
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 "Beehive").
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


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
See below for the stories of the people
who founded this garden (click)

Aerial views of the Garden
annotated to show the main garden features

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


Glenmore Street Main Entrance
Wellington Botanic Garden

Morphed photos


 Archival photo Wellington City Council
Modern photo P C Tomlinson

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 NZ).
His story is to be found in a summer exhibition in the Treeshouse Information Centre in the Garden.
Well worth a visit.

Read his fascinating story James Hector  click link
Page updated and extended 2/2/2012

Who was Albert Kellogg?

He was first to describe the giant Sequoya from America, a number of specimens which are found in the Garden

He supplied most of the North West American plants imported by James Hector, that became such a feature of this garden, including the commercially important Pinus radiata.

Read his fascinating story Albert Kellogg  click link
Who was John Buchanan?

'Old' Buckie'
and the
'Buchanical Gardens'


Who was George Vernon Hudson?

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.

Read his fascinating story    George Vernon Hudson     click link

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.

Read their fascinating stories
Mason and Ludlam     click link

Who was William Thomas Locke Travers? 

 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.

Read his fascinating story
W T L Travers      click link
Who was W B D Mantell?

Public servant, politician, naturalist, and a key participant in the establishment of the Wellington Botanic Garden

Read his fascinating story
W B D Mantell      click link

Who was Thomas Kirk?

Botanist, teacher, public servant, writer and churchman who served on the Board of the Botanic Garden over its early years.

Read his fascinating story
Thomas Kirk    click link

Panoramic view of city from the Garden entrance at the Cable Car lookout

If you turn left exiting the Cable Car and go  to the second lookout in front of the
Skyline Restaurant, you receive the best panoramic view of the city and harbour

View back to Wellington City across the harbour

Rose Garden 2014

Full site counter from 14.12.08
(Does not include pdf files) Site optimised for resolution of 1028 x 768.

Web master Phil Tomlinson  can be contacted by e-mail

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